By: Michael FoxIMG_6793

Mt Gravatt Environment Group member Morag always has hundreds of Green Tree Frog Litoria caerulea tadpoles which she shares with local children.

I remember as a child watching the amazing transformation as tadpoles metamorphose into frogs: growing legs and losing their tails before hopping out into the world.

 

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Feeding on lettuce

Freya (7) and Clementine (4) took delivery of these tadpoles just before Christmas. About seventeen in all.teen in all.

Caring for tadpoles means boiling a lot lettuce to feed them.

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19 January and legs forming

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Four weeks and transformation is underway with legs growing.

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Fish tank cleaned and with rainwater from the family tank.

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Legs growing stronger

 

 

Grown up

Time to leave home

Transformation complete, time to leave and find a new home in the gully. To date ten successful graduates, three tadpoles and two frogs in the tank.

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Frog and mower

Unexpected dangers in urban habitat

Of course the journey to the gully habitat has its own urban dangers. Scott has to be careful when mowing. He had to encourage three baby frogs to gully safety last time he mowed.

Now that the semi-permanent spring has been restored to Fox Gully repopulating with our local frog species is an important step.

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By: Michael Fox

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November 2007 we held our first Community Planting Day.

King Parrot feeding on Brisbane Fringed Wattle

Four hundred and ten native plants represented the first big step in restoring the Fox Gully habitat.

Aside from native herbs and grasses we also planted a number of Acacia falcata and Acacia fimbrata. Acacia fimbrata, also called Brisbane Fringed Wattle, is one of the most beautiful of our local wattles and a favourite with at least one of our neighbours – read the story.

Brisbane Fringed Wattle is also a favourite of our beautiful King Parrots Alisterus scapularis who visit each year to feast on the seed pods. Watch the video to see the amazing skill in getting each seed then moving the pod along to get the next seed … and no hands needed.

8:30am Briefing the team and taking their minds off the cold (Photo: Alan Moore)

By: Michael Fox

7:45am The first participants have arrived even before I have finished setting up … and it’s cold!

8:30am The team is assembled, time for briefing: we have over 200 plants ready. Plants selected included vines like beautiful butterfly plant Sarsparilla Vine Hardenbergia violacea, trees like Coast Banksia Banksia integrifolia
– food plant for Sugar Gliders, and trees like the Blueberry Ash Elaeocarpus reticulatus with its fascinating pretty pink downward facing flowers. Downward hanging flowers are a valuable food source in rainy periods when nectar is washed out of Banksia and Grevillea flowers.

9am Ross & Barry planting large Hickory Wattle (Photo: Alan Moore)

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9am Planting is well underway with people scattered all over the slope. Ross Vasta MP Federal Member for Bonner and gully neighbour Barry work together planting a large Hickory Wattle Acacia disparrima.

9:50am Miranda and Scott

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9:50am Must be time for morning-tea.

Looking around it is a real pleasure to see our neighbours engaged in a cooperative effort to restore this corridor for our wildlife.

9:50am (l-r) Alistair, Lyn, Ray & Trey

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Three generations of the Fulton family have been strong supporters of our restoration work with members involved in every planting day since 2008 when they planted two trees in memory of Lyn’s mother. Ray has also propagated Lomandras and potted Acacias that are now thriving in bushcare site.

10:45am Community at work

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10:45am Planting is almost complete so the team starts moving up the gully clearing Madeira Vine anredera cordifolia and Devil’s Ivy Epipremnum aureum.

Madeira Vine is a major problem in the gully, smothering trees and spreading aggressively with hundreds of potato like tubers which can each shoot into two or three new vines.

Devil’s Ivy or Pothos
is another invasive weed in the gully, climbing and dragging down trees. Devil’s Ivy, a common house plant, is also toxic to dogs and cats.

10:50am Ann Moran – Field Botanist

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11am Installing Men’s Shed nest box – a new home for Scaly-breasted Lorikeets

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10:50am Further down the gully Ann Moran a Field Botanist with decades of experience, generously shared her amazing knowledge of our native plants. I didn’t realise what looks like multiple leaves on the Black Bean Castanospermum australe are actually one leaf and if you sniff the end of the stem it smells of cucumber.

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11am Installing our first nest box. Logging and farming of the mountain habitat means that the forest is less than one hundred years old. Nest hollows typically start to form once trees are over one years old and then can take another fifty years to create. Therefore there is a shortage of nest hollows available for birds and gliders. Mt Gravatt Men’s Shed have now partnered with Mt Gravatt Environment Group to produce high quality nest boxes designed to the needs of local species. Scaly-breasted Lorikeets – all green with flecks (scales) of yellow on the chest, are smaller than Rainbow Lorikeets and have lost out in the fight for available tree hollows. This box with its smaller entry hole which excludes the larger birds will remain available for our Scalies.

Mt Gravatt Environment Group sell Men’s Shed nest boxes for $50. Boxes are available for a number of bird and glider species. For details email: megoutlook@gmail.com

11:20am Andrew with native grasses

11:20am Native grasses like Rainforest Grass Oplismenus aemulus, Graceful Grass Ottochloa gracillima and Scented Top Grass Capillipedium spicigerum  operate as Green Mulch suppressing weeds, retaining moisture and reducing erosion. These grasses are also caterpillar food for butterflies like the Orange-streaked Ringlet.

Andrew get special attention from the photographer: his wife Kerry. A participant in our 2011 Photography Workshop has developed a real skill in capturing the moment and the wildlife.

11:30am Susan (left) and Don clearing weeds

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11:30am Susan Jones, Mt Gravatt Environment Group Secretary, pitches in with gully neighbour Don to remove Madeira Vine.

12noon Planting done. Now nature takes over to complete the job

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12noon Over 200 plants in place. Now we hand over the nature to complete the job. Come back for the 2013 Community Gully Day to see the results of our partnership with nature.

Thank you to all participants. It is inspiring to be part of such an amazing community event. Also thank you to Annette & Genevieve who hosted the event, Don & Clair, Ray & Lyn and SOWN who donated plants and Jason & Tash who donated timber for the slope.

Some neighbours who were unable to participate on the day made tax-deductible donations that paid for the tube stock.

Kristen beside stump of Indian Rubber Tree

This week we were honoured with a visit to Fox Gully Bushcare by Kristen Collie, Ranger at Daisy Hill Koala Centre.

Mt Gravatt Environment Group is now sharing data on Koala sightings with the Koala Centre with intitial data suggesting that our furry friends a quite active in surrounding streets.

One fact that really stands out is the number of Koalas injured by dog attacks in backyards or hit by cars on the roads.

The Koala Centre, which comes under the new Department of Environment and Heritage Protection, operates the Koala Ambulance during business hours. Rangers take injured and dead Koalas to the Moggill Koala Hospital and record details locations.

Brisbane City Council also operates a 24 Hour Animal Ambulancecall 07 3403 8888 for any sick or injured wildlife – even Blue Tongue Lizards.

Kristen was also impress by our community’s commitment to habitat restoration and restoring wildlife corridors. We visited Zone 13 where our Tuesday Bushcare group have removed a huge area of Fishbone/Sword Fern Nephrolepis cordifolia.

We then moved onto inspect the restoration where the wildlife corridor cuts through private properties to Klumpp Road. Standing beside the stump of the huge Indian Rubber Tree and seeing water trickling down the gully from the restored spring, really demonstrated the community commitment to our wildlife.

Our 2012 Community Gully Day is planned for Sunday August 5th and will concentrate on replanting the area cleaned up in 2011.


Proposed Telstra Mobile Tower

Cr Krista Adams has received information that Telstra is proposing to build a mobile phone tower at the back corner of the Klumpp Road Park & Ride, right beside Mimosa Creek. Krista Adams letter

I have updated the Mimosa Creek Precinct Landscape Plan – ver 2.2 with proposed tower location and access. Based on current information this proposal will not impact on development the Firefly Gully wildlife corridor however the safety issues are less clear.

Telstra almost certainly complies with the safety standards set by Australian Radiation Protection & Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPNSA) however we have an opportunity to comment on the proposed tower installation in our community.

Please come to the Telstra Information Session:

Mt Gravatt Hawks Soccer Club  – Wednesday 18 April – 5pm to 7:30pm

The science on the long-term health effects of using mobiles and/or spending time near mobile phone towers is very unclear. As shown by these extracts from the ARPNSA fact sheets on electromagnetic energy (EME).

My personal experience is that these types of radiation are powerful and almost certainly dangerous. The issue is the level of exposure which is a combination of transmission power and distance from the source.

My first experience was in the early 70s when as a trainee PMG technician I visited the Bald Hills radio transmission tower. When you see a bare fluorescent bulb burst into light just by being held near the transmitter, then go into the field and see a two-inch spark drawn from the heavily insulated guy wires which is then tuned so you can listen to ABC radio.

400 metre coverage area

My latest experience is with my iPhone. I routinely carried my phone in my pocket with the touch screen against my leg. Over time I found that my skin in that area became hot even when the phone was removed. I have since changed how I carry my phone and the problem has disappeared.

Telstra mobile towers are low power however distance is still an important safety factor. The question is: What is a safe distance? EM Watch suggests a 400 metres as clear safe distance.

What do we want for our community? Come along on Wednesday and have your say.

“I remember seeing Koalas in the trees near the creek when I attended St Bernard’s primary school in the ’80s.” I talking with a volunteer at today’s BCC Community Tree Planting at Sunnybank. My informant was pleased to see the new signs on Klumpp Road and hear that Koalas are breeding on the mountain.

Cr Krista Adams organised installation of the signs after the death of a Koala hit by a car on Klumpp Road in December.

Our submission to Cr Adams was supported by our ongoing monitoring of Koalas on the mountain. We are now receiving regular reports from neighbours and people using the walking tracks. Edd and Hazel provided our latest report of a male, female and joey – read Hazel’s Brisbane Adventures for an amazing photo of mother and joey.

We use Google Maps to record sightings to help us understand their movements and argue for government support for our restoration work. We are also working with Griffith University researchers like Cathryn Dexter – see Koalas returning to Mt Gravatt in Koalas on Mt Gravatt: Who’d have thought it?

Koala Sightings Mimosa Creek Precinct - March 2012

Kerstie Olsson is Coordinator for our Mt Gravatt Summit Clean Up this year.

Kerstie is a busy professional however she and her children have enjoyed being part of the Mountain Clean Up in the past. So this year she has volunteered to take on coordination.

Why do families like Krestie’s keep coming back to pick-up other people’s rubbish? I suspect that like me they love being in the bush combined with the simple pleasure of working alongside a group of enthusiastic cheerful individuals and, of course, there are always the surprises. Just ask John McCrystal how he felt to look up and see a Koala walking down the road towards them.

Please join the team at Mt Gravatt Summit – 8am to 10am Sunday 5th March and perhaps have a coffee at Echidna Magic Cafe afterwards.

Register online – Mt Gravatt Summit – Clean Up Australia

Alternative Clean Up sites around the Mountain

If climbing a mountain seems too energetic for a Sunday morning you can join:

Galahs Eolophus roseicapillus - Mt Gravatt Showgrounds - Feb 2012

Lizi Drysdale at Mt Gravatt Showgrounds

2012 will see Mount Gravatt Girl Guides and Mt Gravatt Environment Group partnering to landscape the Guide Hut as the first step in our Pollinator Link between Mt Gravatt Reserve and Bulimba Creek. Pollinator Links will bring birds, butterflies and native bees back to suburban backyards.

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Brett Simpson at Roly Chapman Bushland

Roly Chapman Bushland is a beautiful peaceful habitat along the banks of Mimosa Creek. Be quite as you cross the pedestrian and you may see turtles sunning themselves on the rocks.

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Tailed Emperor Polyura sempronius - Acacia Way - Aug 2010

Melissa Harris at Toohey Forrest – Mt Gravatt Campus Residence

Griffith University Mt Gravatt Campus is an important part of the Mountain habitat and home to amazing butterflies like the Tailed Emperor.