Bushcare Articles


Pete The Vet – Pete Wedderburn, emailed recently asking permission to use my photo of the Goliath Stick Insect Eurycnema goliath in an article in his local newspaper.

The interesting thing is that Pete The Vet lives in County Wicklow, Ireland and has a regular column in Bray People, the local Bray newspaper. Our Fox Gully wildlife is becoming world famous, featuring in the article Stick insects thrive without special attention… but multiply!

The article is very funny however the message is important – Don’t release exotic pets, this includes unwanted kittens, in the wild. Feral animals and roaming domestic pets are one of the key threats to wildlife in Mt Gravatt Reserve.

Our native Goliath Stick Insects are exotic animals in Ireland and Pete The Vet’s advice – “The main message: if you have too many stick insects, find a victim to take them on as pets rather than releasing them into the wild.”

Our community is committed to restoration of Mt Gravatt wildlife corridors.

You can be part of this important project. Join us for the first Community Gully Day – Sunday 13 November – 8am to 12noon. For information contact Michael Fox – 0408 769 405

Koalas are returning, Sugar Gliders have been sighted, Green Tree Frogs living in our gully wildlife corridor and BAAM environmental researchers have identified three species of mico-bats on the mountain. Long term survival of these species is critically dependent on wildlife corridors linking Mt Gravatt Reserve with other local habitats like Mimosa Creek and Roly Chapman Reserve.

The Community Gully Day activities include cleaning out weed trees/rubbish, replanting, stabilising banks with logs and mulch, and installation of nest boxes for gliders and birds.

Preparations for the event are well underway. Shawn and Genevieve have installed steps to improve access and safety.

Bulimba Creek Catchment Coordinating Committee (B4C) are providing public liability insurance cover for this event and the B4C Sustainability Centre Nursery has donated forty native plants.

Mt Gravatt Men’s Shed have made ten nest boxes based on Hollow Log Homes design specifications. These boxes will provide nest sites for Rainbow and Scaly Breasted Lorikeets, Pale-headed Rosellas, Squirrel and Sugar Gliders.

Southside Community News - October 2011

Local state MP Phil Reeves is providing a rubbish skip.

Jenny Lang, Bat Conservation & Rescue Qld, is arranging a micro-bat visit around morning tea time. Jenny is a big hearted person who cares for injured bats like the two cute micro-bats she bought around when I was preparing this article for the Southside Community News.

Restoration of wildlife corridors has to be a whole of community focus because wildlife does not recognise human created property boundaries or roads. Effective habitat consolidation and linking requires co-operation of a diverse range of property owners – private, corporate, local/state/federal government, community groups, schools and university.

Our Community Gully Day is a small step in building our whole of community focus.

Please join us even if it is only to meet the cute micro-bats over morning tea.

Southside Community News - ISSUE 27 August 2011

Waking up to a Koala climbing into the house is special. Knowing that this is a sign of a strengthening Koala population in our special piece of suburban bushland gives me a real feeling of hope for the future.

Koalas are only one fauna species in a reserve where we have already identified forty-five butterfly species and two hundred and fifty-four native plant species, however, they are one of our iconic Australian animals.

Koalas will help us not only protect our special piece bushland they will also help change the way people think about the future. I write about birds, butterflies, Koalas and frogs because community members relate to these animals at a direct emotional level. They open their hearts and allow themselves to learn about the complex web of interrelationships that bring our mountain habitat alive with these special creatures.

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Female with Joey - Sept 2009 - Sue Jones

We have been collecting flora and fauna data for some years and I have now started a wildlife sightings database to capture more accurate information on species, date/time and location.

This female and joey were photographed by Sue Jones on the northern slope of the mountain in 2009. We also have photographic evidence of Koalas near Gertrude Petty Place, Rover Street Bushcare and Fox Gully Bushcare. Photos and location details of Echidnas, Squirrel Gliders and frogs, as well as, some unusual bugs are all contribution to our knowledge of the Reserve.

The BAAM team will also use any data we collect for the Flora and Fauna Assessment project.

Please email any wildlife sighting details, species, date/time, location preferably with digital photos, to megoutlook@gmail.com Infomation on dead wildlife is also important as it helps build up a picture of wildlife movements and potential dangers like vehicles and domestic dogs.

The Brisbane Spotless Suburbs judges inspected our Fox Gully Bushcare site and met with myself and Alan Moore (Squirrel Glider photo).

The judges were very impressed with not only the bush restoration work but also the quality of our planning, documentation, research and our community education program: Fox Gully Restoration Update, interperative signs and wildlife articles in Southside Community News.

Our community engagement: fourteen property owners committed to restoration of the gully wildlife corridor on their own properties, and use of social media Fox Gully blog -1,200 hits so far this month, Twitter and MapMyWalk.

The judges also shared their knowledge of native plants identifying the seedlings that have been popping up in our restored areas as Deep Yellow Wood Rhodosphaera rhodanthema. This beautiful dry rainforest tree occurs naturaly in the bush round Pine Mountain Road, however these are the first examples found in Mt Gravatt Reserve.

Thanks to our judges we have now identifed 255 native plant species on the Mountain.

This still leaves me with another puzzle.

What insect is rolling up the leaves of the mature trees with webbing?

Any ideas welcome.

Southside Community News

Kookaburras, Sacred Kingfishers, Rainbow and Scaly-breasted Lorikeets, Pale-headed Rosellas, Striated Pardalotes all need nest hollows for breeding.

Sugar Gliders and Squirrel Gliders need nest hollows for rest and protection as well as breeding. Unfortunately land clearing for farming and housing has destroyed habitat for these bush creatures. The fragmented habitat created suits some species: species like our native Noisy Minors and Brushtail Possums thrive in our suburban environments.

Sacred Kingfisher Todiramphus sanctus

However we are losing the smaller bird species that give us so much pleasure: species like the Sacred Kingfisher, Superb Fairy-wren, Striated Pardalote and Eastern Yellow Robin, require more protection from thick understory plants and/or nest hollows. The smaller gliders like the Sugar Glider and mouse sized Feathertail Glider are also vunerable with the increasing competition for limited nest hollows.

Even conservation protected Mt Gravatt Reserve has suffered. Mt Gravatt Then and Now, Mt Gravatt Historical Society, tells us that up till July 1893 the mountain and surrounds were designated as a railway timber reserve. My intial survey of the 2ha of Fox Gully Bushcare reflects this history with only thirty six trees older than 100 years and only five old enough to have a 50% chance of having nest hollows:  Fox Gully Research – Tree Hollows – March 2011. A healthy SE Queensland forest habitat would typically have 10 hollow bearing trees per hectare with 2.2 hollows per tree.

Even frogs need homes

I am now working with BCC Habitat Brisbane to research the actual tree hollows available and plan the installation of nest boxes suited to local species.

I am privileged to live with these bush creatures at my back door however there is a lot we can do to bring birds back to our backyards with nest boxes. BCC Libraries have copies of Alan & Stacey Franks’ excellent book Nest boxes for wildlife which gives detailed plans for making your own nest boxes and mounting in a way that will not damage your trees.

Another part of our restoration of the Fox Gully Bushcare site is the reintroduction of Green Tree Frogs Litoria caerulea.

Also a fun way to introduce kids to the wonderful and diverse range of wildlife in our forest. My neighbour Matt took this picture of that magical moment when the new frog emerges with it vestigial tail. Seeing this photo takes me straight back to my own childhood when I kept tadpoles.

As well as Green Tree Frogs we also have Eastern Dwarf Tree Frog Litoria fallax like this one that lost its way and ended up inside one night.

Seeing a bee flying past with a large piece of leaf neatly rolled and held between its legs is something suprising and special. The Leaf Cutter Bee Megachile sp. is a solitary bee not living in a hive community. Australia has about 1,500 native bee species and nearly all of those are solitary. See Aussie Bee for more infomation.

The female Leaf Cutter Bee cuts circular pieces out of leaves which are then shaped into a tube for the eggs and food for her larva. This female is building her nest in the cat’s scratching post. Watch video: Leaf Cutter Bee

The singless Sugarbag Honeybee Trigona carbonaria are better known. These tiny bees are about half the size of a common house fly live in colonies of up to 1,000. See Sugarbag for information on keeping sitingless native bees for honey or polination. Watch video: Sugarbag Honeybee

Article in Southside News

If you receive the Southside Community News you will have read my article on the FWR Group visiting Fox Gully … otherwise see below.

FWR (Four Walls and a Roof) Group is a clever team of individuals who help companies find real profit opportunities in looking after the community and envirionment.

David Cooperrider, interviewing a long time management hero of mine Peter Drucker in 2003, reported the following exchange:

“Can social responsibility also be profitable?”

Drucker, then 93, smiled and laughed at my misdirected enthusiasm—he told me I was asking the wrong question. It’s not whether social responsibility can be profitable to business, he said, but rather how profitable business can make social responsibility. That day, he declared to me something we should all remember:

“Every single social and global issue of our day is a business opportunity in disguise.”

BizEd july/august 2008

FWR Group is Peter Drucker’s words in action. I am honoured to have this team working with us restoring our amazing bushland.

Southside Community News - http://www.southsidesportsclub.com.au

 

Southside Community News – October 2010

The first of my regular bushcare articles this month’s Southside Community News explores the unlikely relationship between the beautiful Imperial Hairstreak Jalmenus evagoras and native Small Meat Ants. Click on article to enlarge.

Two strong populations of Hairstreaks are tangible evidence of effectiveness of our bushcare work. Walking through our plantings and finding clusters of these beautiful butterflies in areas we have planted is a real thrill.  Watch the of video – Imperial Hairstreaks.

It was also pleasing to read Councillor Krista Adams’s interest and support for sustainable tourism in our unique reserve.

Want to meet some of our amazing wildlife upclose?

Come any Wednesday afternoon (2pm to 5pm) to our Fox Gully bushcare group. For information email foxcoaching@optusnet.com.au

Mike

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