Koala & Joey - Fox Gully 3 - 4 Jan 2014 close

Please slow down at night … Koala Mum and Joey – Fox Gully Bushcare

By: Michael Fox

15 September 2015 Breaking news:

Koala Superman to the rescue.

Local resident David Kloske is now being called the Koala Superman by family and friends after his dramatic rescue of a young Koala trying to cross busy Klumpp Road on last night.

“Poor little guy was wandering across the road and seemed very lost and confused and kept stopping and turning back etc. So I blocked the traffic for a bit with hazard while I scared it off the road onto the pool side [footpath]. Then I parked my car and ushered the little fellow down the bike path and back into the trees.” David Kloske

Koala breeding season runs from spring to mid-summer. So please be careful on our local roads at night.

Found a sick or injured Koala?

Call RSPCA Rescue Hotline Phone: 1300 ANIMAL (1300 264 625)

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November 2011

By: Michael Fox

2011 Our first Community Gully Day, two years ago, saw the removal of six cubic metres of rubbish, poisonous Yellow Oleander Thevetia peruviana and Madeira Vine Anredera cordifolia, stabilised the banks with logs leaving the ground bare and storm water pipes a visual blight.

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November 2012

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2012 Between Gully Days restoration work continues with regular Tuesday Bushcare events. Mirandha, Griffith University Bushcare Club, feeds Chinese Elm branches into out chipper.

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August 2013

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Coin-spot Treeferns Cyathea cooperi are thriving, bush foods like Native Mulberry Pipturus argenteus will growing and the storm water pipes are disappearing under branches creating ideal habitat for lizards and improving visual amenity.

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Living mulch - 11 Aug 2013

Living Mulch reducing erosion and creating mico-habitat

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2013 8am The team getting to work, Scott, Barry, Carol, Don and Marshal in background, with Matt and myself delivering hollow logs for habitat.

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November 2012

Note the amazing mico-habitat created by the Living Mulch of native grasses – Rainforest Grass Oplismenus aemulus, Graceful Grass Ottochloa gracillima, and self-sown herbs like Native Hawksbeard Youngia japonica.

Even without the tree cover this area was several degrees cooler than the area just a little down the gully.

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Marshal Carol Scott removing weeds - 11 Aug 2013

Clearing weed regrowth

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A huge change from November 2012 when the gully was still bare.

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Madeira Vine tuba - 5 Mar 13

Madeira Vine tuba removed from gully

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8:30am Scott, Carol and Marshal have been busy clearing Mother-in-law’s Tongue Sansevieria trifasciata and Madeira Vine regrowth.

Matt Mike hollow log (low) - 11 Aug 2013

Matt and I install habitat log

Matt Russ Shawn placing logs 2 - 11 Aug 2013

Matt, Russ and Shawn positioning logs

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Eradicating Madeira Vine in the gully is a long term project. The most effective removal approach for this fast growing invasive weed is simply digging out and immediately bagging the tubers. Madeira produced hundreds of tubers along the vine. Those tubers are viable for a long time and sprout like potatoes when they land in a suitable environment. The size of these tubers mean that using poison is often not an effective particularly in a vulnerable water course.

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9am Matt and I install one of the hollow logs donated by Scott at Tree Bracers (eco-friendly) Tree Removal Specialists.  Scott contacted me asking if we could use the logs as he did not want to simply chip this valuable habitat resource. Roger Medland and I collected the logs in Rogers ute.

Marshal splitting logs - 16 Jul 2013

Marshal splitting logs for stablising banks

Hollow logs are valuable habitat for wildlife and installing these logs will provide Possums and Gliders safe escape from Foxes and cats.

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9:30am Matt, Russ and Shawn are positioning logs on the bank further down the gully. Logs reduce erosion, allow mulch and leaves to collect retaining water and keeping weeds down. Restoration work is also much faster and safer as the logs create a working platform for removing weeds and planting grasses, vines and trees.

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The logs were recycled from a tree removed after the January storms. Dale from Climb n Grind returned to safely remove the tree leaving the trunk cut to useful lengths. Marshal and I then used a chainsaw and steel wedges to split the logs into manageable quarters ready for the Gully Day.

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Len Kann with Stingless Bee hive

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10:30am Time for a break. Genevieve has organised a sausage sizzle, coffee, tea, cake and fruit … mmmm.

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Teddy Bear and Blue Banded native bees

While we eat, native bee expert and Mt Gravatt Environment Group member, Len Kann shares his passion for this fascinating wildlife we can bring to our backyards to pollinate our Queensland Nut trees and vegetables.

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Stingless bee hive (low) - 11 Aug 2013

Inside the hive – Stingless Bees

Len explained that there are over 2,000 native bee species in Australia with many providing farmers with unique pollination services not provided by European Honey bees.

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Rebecca planting

Len has put together a bee presentation box using one of his own empty hive boxes, specimen boxes with Blue Banded and Teddy Bear bees that we have collected in the Reserve, and excellent macro photos taken by member Alan Moore.

Len has generously provided one of his Stingless Bee hives on secondment in the gully and for his talk he bought along a hive he could open to let us see inside. For an ex-beekeeper like me it was fascinating to see the very different structure for storing honey and pollen, and, yes, it is nice not to collect the dozen of stings I received when robbing my European bee hives.

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11am Rebecca is back to work planting the bank behind her property.

I am proud to live in a community that can come together on a long term project like this. Currently the owners of twenty properties are committed to restoration of their backyards as a wildlife corridor down Fox Gully and importantly work together to eradicate Madeira Vine.

We had twenty people participate in the 2013 Community Gully Day including people like Marshal and Carol who live beside Firefly Gully, Nancy who has propagated most of the Lomandras in the gully and Len who shared his passion for native bees.

Three hundred grasses, herbs, vines, shrubs and trees have been planted this year. Save Our Waterways Now (SOWN) generously gifted $400 worth of plants with other plants and resources purchased with over $200 in tax deductible donations from neighbours.

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Madeira Vine regrowth

By: Michael Fox

As we are still not allowed to work in our Fox Gully Bushcare site, Tuesday Bushcare moved to our Community Gully Day restoration site where Madeira Vine Anredera cordifolia regrowth has been prompted by the rain.

Madeira Vine is fast growing and extremely difficult to eradicate. When I was first researching Madeira Vine I was advised that digging out the tubers was the most effective technique. A special mix of herbicides and penetrant works however it has limited effectiveness and recommended practice is to: Target tubers as a priority, scrape, gouge and paint large ground tubers/roots.

Madeira Vine tuba - 5 Mar 13

Madeira Vine tuba

If we had to dig to uncover the tubers it seemed easier to simply avoid poison, dig the tubers out and remove from site. That is the practice we have been using successfully to eradicate Madeira Vine in the Fox Gully wild life corridor.  Clearing the vine, digging out tubers then targeting regrowth has resulted in large areas almost completely free of Madeira Vine.

Oplismenus aemulus - 5 Mar 13

Natural regeneration – Rainforest Grass

One of the tubers dug out today shows why this vine is so resistant to eradication with poison. The size of a large potato this tuber would not be greatly affected by poison simply applied to the vine leaves.

Eradicating this weed is frustrating, however there are also positive signs with natural regeneration restoring native species like Rainforest Grass Oplismenus aemulus and Scurvy Weed Commelina diffusa. Native grasses like Oplismenus aemulus are an invaluable restoration tool as they create Green Mulch which suppresses weeds, retains moisture and controls erosion.

By: Michael Fox

Koala and Joey - Fox Gully wildlife corridor

Koala and Joey – Fox Gully wildlife corridor

Just this week the Southern Star reported that Koalas are fighting back and printed our map of sightings in Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve.

Then on Friday night Matt Hill heard a scratching noise in the trees behind his deck. Thinking it was probably a possum he investigated with with torch picking up the glint of four eyes in the trees. He was delighted to find a Koala mum with her Joey comfortably nestled in her arms while she munched on leaves.

Koala sightings Fox Gully wildlife corridor

Koala sightings Fox Gully wildlife corridor

Matt and his family have been active supporters of our Fox Gully Bushcare restoration work and has been controlling weed trees, like Camphor Laurel, on his gully property. So, in December, he was proud to show me what looked like Koala scratches on a tree restored to the habitat only five years ago. This was an exciting find and now with this weeks photos we have confirmation that Koalas are not only active in the wildlife corridor but also breeding successfully. We also received another report this week of a Koala sighted high in a tree beside the footpath to the Griffith University Bus Station.

Ringtail Possum Pseudocheirus pereginus

Ringtail Possum Pseudocheirus pereginus

Restoration of this key wildlife corridor is now supported by seventeen property owners whose backyards include the gully and community members committed to restoring habitat for Koalas, birds, butterflies, frogs and native bees.

Restoration of the of the wildlife corridor is having a positive effect as shown by the number of Koala sighting as well as increasing other wildlife. At the top end of the gully, Roger and Margaret have a family of Ringtail Possums Pseudocheirus pereginus living in the top of staghorn ferns. Just before Christmas a mother with two babies on her back was sighted and Friday Margaret called to say the father had been disturbed from his staghorn nest when Roger was hosing.

Note his spiky hair and spiky attitude as he cleans water off his coat.

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Common Ringtail Possum – not that common

Please be patient with these cute creatures if they eat some of your fruit. During the 1950’s Common Ringtail Possum populations severely declined in numbers. Currently populations seem to have recovered but they are at risk of attack by cats loose at night.

Unlike Brushtail Possums Trichosurus vulpecula, Ringtails tend to avoid house ceilings, preferring to nest in trees or the tops of staghorns, so they are not considered pests in suburban areas.
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Reference: Animal Diversity Web (ADW) is an online database of animal natural history, distribution, classification, and conservation biology at the University of Michigan

By: Michael Fox

Ready to climb

Some weeds don’t come out easily so extreme measures are required.

Dale, owner of Climb n Grind, straps on his spikes to scale this 20 metre high weed, an invasive Chinese Elm Celtis sinensis.

Chinese Elm or Chinese Celtis is a Class 3 Environmental Weed:

Starting the climb

“Thousands of small, orange berries are produced and are dispersed when eaten by birds. Celtis often grows in clay soils associated
with alluvial creek flats and gullies. It is an invader of riparian habitats …”

Sales of Chinese Elms have been prohibited for some years however this fast growing invasive weed is still growing in many backyards and spreading to neighbouring backyards as well as bushland areas like Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve.

In 2012 Mt Gravatt Environment Group has been working closely with BCC Habitat Brisbane Officers to remove large Chinese Elms within the Conservation Reserve.

Time to relax?

Invasive weeds are one of the three key threats to the long term health of this unique Koala habitat. So it is inspiring to work with community members committed to restoration of the Fox Gully wildlife corridor and paying for removal of these weeds on their own properties.

In this case Annette has contracted professional tree climber Dale to scale the tree and to deconstruct it without damage to surrounding building or fences and with minimal damage to the restoration planting.

Walking up a vertical surface

Watching Dale operate was amazing. Having strapped on spikes and hanging an extraordinary collection of ropes, tools, even a chainsaw, from his belt Dale simply started “walking” up the side of this tree, making it look as easy as stroll in the bush.

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High above stump of Indian Rubber Tree

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Climbing with full kit dangling

Towering above surrounding houses this Chinese Elm was significantly more than the 12 metre height mentioned in the DPI document.

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The stump of the huge Indian Rubber Tree removed in 2011 can be seen in the background and way below the branch where Dale is so casually standing.

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Ok we’ve cleared the low branches so it’s time to climb again. Note the fork that was above and to the left of Dale in the last picture is now below him!

Extreme pruning

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Almost finished

That fork is now far below as Dale climbs higher to do a little light pruning.

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Hundreds or even thousands of berries

Working his way back down cutting logs almost as big as himself.s

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The tree was covered in hundreds or perhaps thousands of immature berries that would have been spread by birds or washed down the gully to infect other properties or Roly Chapman Reserve and Mimosa Creek. Prior to targeting Chinese Elms for removal we would remove two or three hundred seedlings each year in each of our bushcare sites so removal of this tree is a significant boost to our restoration efforts.

Mycena lampadis Luminous Mushroom

I had the pleasure, this week, of introducing our local state member – Phil Reeves MP, to one of the extraordinary and little known features of our unique mountain habitat – Luminous Mushrooms Mycena lampadis.

A lucky photograph, with a torch lighting a snail having a mushroom meal, also caught a group of mushrooms glowing in the dark. I don’t have an identification on snail yet however I will have a look at Semislugs – Family Helicorionidae – thanks to Helen Schwencke, Butterflies & Other Invertebrates Club.

Jon Kloske took some amazing photos like this amazing shot of mushrooms growing in a line on a rotting log over the track.

The mushrooms were first reported in January last year and at the time featured on 612ABC with Kelly Higgins-Devine.

Firefly Gully is one of the wildlife corridors identified in the 2011 Flora, Fauna and Fauna Corridor Assessment, and now being restored by property owners.

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Living on the edge of Mt Gravatt Reserve we often have butterflies visiting our yard. Today I videoed this Cabbage White Pieris rapae feeding on the Thyme flowers in our rose garden.

Michael Braby in Butterflies of Australia describes this erratic flight and feeding behaviour. This butterfly is using his proboscis or haustellum, a hollow straw-like tongue, to feed on nectar. The proposcis in normally kept rolled and extended for feeding.

Southside Community News - December 2011

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Our Pollinator Link initiative, described in my Southside News article, aims to bring more butterflies to suburban backyards.

If you have citrus trees you may find the leaves being eaten by the caterpillars of Orchard Swallowtail Papilio aegeus butterflies.

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In Mt Gravatt Reserve the caterpillars of these spectacular butterflies feed on Crow’s Ash Flindersia australis. 

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will grow into this larger caterpillar

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which builds this delicate chrysalis suspended from a branch

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emerging as this spectacular Orchard Swallowtail butterfly we found in the garden this week.