Bushcare Activities


Using a Moultrie wildlife camera to monitor the activities in our gully we will learn more about what fauna is using the wildlife corridor.

I have been curious about what had been digging at one particular point so I set up the camera with its movement sensor and infrared flash to monitor activity around the hole.

The hole appears to be the work of Brush Turkeys Alectura lathami who visit during the day. Like this one head down in the hole at 6:56am last Wednesday. (click on photo to enlarge)

The Brush-tailed Possums Trichosurus vulpecula in the video came on two nights between 11:30pm and 1:30am.

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Katie & Nicole attacking Chinese Elm

Katie and Nicole, from Queensland University of Technology, returned to our Tuesday Bushcare again this week joining myself, Marshal, Michael and Edd to fight off the weed invaders in the gully.

I just had to point Katie and Nicole at the Chinese Elm Celtis sinensis and say “That weed has to go.”

These two will take on any challenge!

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Marshal removing the felled tree

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Marshal chipped in to drag the tree out and trim it so the logs can be used to stabilise the slope.

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Edd chasing Bamboo roots almost all the way to Sydney

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Edd, in the meantime, tackled the Bamboo regrowth chasing the roots right up the slope … he thought it was going to lead him all the way to Sydney.

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Thank you Katie

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Another thirteen bags of weeds removed as well as Bamboo and a medium sized Chinese Elm … outstanding!

A sad day though as Katie and Nicole leave us. Thank you Katie and Nicole you are going to be inspiring teachers for some lucky students.

We have planted a number the Near Threatened* Richmond Birdwing Butterfly vines Pararistolochia praevenosa as part of our restoration work. Pararistolochia praevenosa is listed as Near Threatened under the Nature Conservation Act 1992 so it was exciting to find seed pods on one our vines this week.

The vine is quite attractive with a pretty flower that apparently depends on a very small fly for pollination. The fly has to enter a tiny hole to pollinate these small (2 cm) flowers.

We have not seen any Birdwing Butterflies yet, however now we know we have the insects that pollinate these vulnerable vines, I am looking forward to having the butterflies return. Don Sands, Richmond Birdwing Conservation Network, reports that the butterflies were common in the Brisbane area in the past.

(l-r) Katie, Nicole, Edd and Marshal

The Tuesday Bushcare Team removed eighteen bags of Fishbone Fern Nephrolepis cordifolia in three hours this week.

Nature Works 24/7

The Team is only on site three hours a week however when we finish our partner, nature, takes over the restoration work delivering natural regeneration 24 hours a day 7 days a week. We do 10% of the work removing the weeds preparing the area for natural regeneration then nature does the other 90% of the work.

Edd removing weed regrowth

In Zone 13 we are only using natural regeneration:  no replanting or mulching with imported mulch. This reduces the amount of work required (no shoveling mulch or digging hole for plants) and the cost of the restoration (mulch costs about $40/cu metre and plants cost $2 each).

Green Mulching by natural regeneration of local native grasses is reducing weed regrowth, managing erosion and providing food for butterflies. The FWR Group started clearing the Fishbone in November 2010. Just sixteen months later the picture on the right shows the thick covering of Graceful Grass Ottochloa gracillima minimising weed regrowth in the area cleared by FWR.

Edd Cross joined our team for the first time last Tuesday. However his experience with Conservation Volunteers Australia meant that I knew I could put the detailed work of clearing weed regrowth.

Two butterfly and four plant species restored to Fox Gully

Zornia dyctiocarpa

Natural regeneration has now restored Imperial Hairstreak Jalmenus evagoras and Australian Leafwing Doleschallia bisaltide butterflies as well as, four plant species including Zornia Zornia dyctiocarpa and Shepherd’s Crook Orchid Geodorum densiflorum, an endangered species in NSW.

Partnering with nature, Fox Gully Bushcare is having a huge impact in restoration of our unique Mountain habitat.

Shepherd's Crook Orchid Geodorum densiflorum

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Australian Leafwing Doleschallia bisaltide

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Australian Leafwing butterflies Doleschallia bisaltide have returned to Fox Gully Bushcare as their caterpillar food plant Love Flower Pseuderanthemum variable is restored.The butterfly is well named. Once it lands and folds its wings it almost disappears as it looks so much like a leaf. However, wait a couple of minutes for it to open its wings … the bright orange tips on its feelers give a clue – top side of its wings are bright orange with black trim.

Love Flower Pseuderanthemum variable

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Love Flower is a beautiful little herb that is common on the Mountain but it had disappeared from the Fox Gully Bushcare site. The flowers were planted as part of our first Community Planting Day in 2007.

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Leafwing caterpillar munching on Love Flower

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We had one caterpillar last year and this year we found about a dozen munching on the Love Flowers. These caterpillars are the most extraordinary looking creatures you are likely to find in your backyard. They look like they are covered in shiny black barbed wire.

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(l-r) Katie, Toby and Nicole

Sometimes you meet a person who is just special. Today I was lucky enough to meet two such people. Katie and Nicole are Queensland University of Technology students training to be primary school teachers.With teachers like these two our future is in good hands.

Today was rainy all morning and it was expected it to continue all afternoon. This did not put off these two … the idea of wearing garbage bag raincoats was seen as fun, mud … no problem! This is particularly impressive when you know that Katie grew up in Hong Kong and this is the first time she has actually been in a forest.

I liked these two immediately … especially when Toby my spaniel immediately made friends … however they really won me over when they not only found this tiny snail but also shared my excitement.

Katie and Nicole took everything in their stride, laughed all the time and formed one of the most productive teams we have had in Fox Gully. Between us we removed three wheelie bins of Fishbone Fern Nephrolepis cordifolia clearing another large area of this invasive weed for nature to restore with native grasses, vines and ferns.

Sunday 13 November: Twenty-one neighbours and community members came together to take part in something special – creation of a wildlife corridor which will reconnect Mt Gravatt Reserve with Mimosa Creek and Roly Chapman Reserve. The majority of Fox Gully is private property – the backyards of individual house blocks – so removing weeds and restoring the wildlife corridor requires the co-operation of thirty-seven separate property owners.

A critical step in the restoration was the removal a massive Indian Rubber Tree Ficus elastica in September – 5 men working solidly for 2 days – a huge job generously paid for by one of our Arafura Street neighbours. On advice from Prof Carla Catterall, Griffith University, we arranged for the contractors to leave the large stump for wildlife habitat. The contractor also placed logs on the slope and left two large piles of mulch.

Marshal and I chainsawed the remaining Yellow Oleandia Cascabela thevetia in advance to reduce risk of accidents when we had a large number of people on-site. Logs from the Yellow Oleandia were to be used on the slope to improve access for weeding/planting and to retain mulch and stop erosion.

Madeira Vine Anredera cordifolia  was the next challenge. Also called Potato Vine, this aggressive invader produces thousands of small aerial tubers which can remain viable on the vine or on the ground for five to ten years. Each tuber can send out multiple roots to produce a new vine that can grow at more than one metre per week, rapidly smothering other vegetation. As with many weeds, Madeira Vine is an attractive flowering vine originally introduced from South America as a garden plant. Because of the massive infestation of this weed I decided that the Arafura Street side of the site should not be planted immediately with the focus being eradication of this pest that will out grow any new planting.

The Madeira infestation was so bad that Roger was simply shoveling the tubers into tubs for removal. Even with that work on the Gully Day, Don and I  still removed a full wheelie bin of tubers as we worked on the slope placing logs and mulch. Now that we are getting this major infestation under control we can work with neighbours up and down the gully to eradicate Madeira from the wildlife corridor.

On the day the team removed six cubic metres of rubbish and green waste, an extraordinary achievement when you consider that everything had to be carried up out of the gully to the rubbish skip in O’Grady Street.

Grey-headed Flying-fox Pteropus poliocephalus

They certainly earned a break for morning tea and an opportunity to meet some of the world’s only flying mammals – a really cute Grey-headed Flying-fox Pteropus poliocephalus, a juvenile Black Flying-fox Pteropus alecto and a tiny micro-batLittle Broad-nosed Bat Scotophilus greyi. Jenny and Denise, wildlife carers with Bat Conservation & Rescue Qld, joined us to introduce these cute creatures first hand, dispel some media-myths about Flying-foxes and share ideas on how we can protect and encourage these valuable pollinators and insect catchers. One simple thing we can do is encourage the use of wildlife-excluding HailGuard which protects fruit and vegetables without endangering bats, birds and possums that can get tangled in other netting.

Grey-headed Flying-foxes are found in Mt Gravatt Reserve and BAAM researchers have identified three species of micro-bat in the Reserve.

Little Broad-nosed Bat Scotophilus greyi – insect catching micro-bat

Removal of the Indian Rubber Tree will hopefully restore the permanent spring and provide a water source to attract these micro-mozzie catchers back to the gully as well as promoting the frog population.

Since the Gully Day we have planted one hundred and forty plants and placed logs (recycled weed trees) on the steep slope and mulch is being spread. The event has also created a long term change in relations between neighbours and how neighbours relate to the gully … it is wonderful to see city kids exploring.

Special thanks to Jenny and Denise, Phil Reeves (who personally paid for the rubbish skip) and helpers Barry Williams – Mt Gravatt Men’s Shed, Peter Stirk – Vultures Football Club and Natalie Petersen – ALP candidate for Wishart Ward.

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