Wildlife of Mt Gravatt Reserve


Moultrie wildlife camera

We have moved the wildlife camera down to Jeanette’s place at the bottom of Fox Gully where it joins Klumpp Road.

Foxes, the four legged variety, have been raiding Jeanette’s chook pen on a regular basis, killing up to seven chooks in one night and stashing the bodies in the gully to eat later. The chooks are locked up every night these days so there is no immediate threat however the is evidence that they are still getting under the fence at night.

The BCC team has been working to catch foxes in Mt Gravatt Reserve. If we can get accurate information on the fox raiding parties we hope to be able to work with the BCC team to target the ones coming up the gully.

South Queensland Kauri – Agathis robusta

It was a real pleasure visiting Jeanette’s property which is an amazing flora and fauna habitat in itself.

A giant South Queensland Kauri Agathis robusta dominates the skyline.

Superb Fairy-wren Malurus cyaneus

And Fairy-wrens chipping in the bushes. Jeanette stopped to listen then pointed into the bushes where there was a male Superb Fairy-wren Malurus cyaneus.

A very special piece of bushland. I am looking forward to visiting again to recover the wildlife camera.

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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.

Joseph’s Coat Moth – photo Kerry Sinigaglia

Kerry Sinigaglia took these amazing photos of the aptly named Joseph’s Coat Moth Agarista agricola. 

Click on the photo to enlarge. Then note the different types of scales, broad scales on the wings and long hair like scales on the thorax.

Getting close to wildlife

The coloured wing scales give the wide range of patterns that moths use for camouflage and identification of mates. The scales also allow moths to escape spider webs by leaving scales behind allowing escape.

Joseph’s Coat Moth caterpillar on Cissus opaca
Forest Grape

The hair like thorax scales provide insulation needed to maintain high muscle temperature during flight.

The caterpillar of these beautiful moths is also spectactular.

I photographed my first Glasswing Acraea andromacha this week.

The wings of most butterflies are covered with coloured scales. The Glasswing butterfly has no scales on its forewing giving it a translucent glassy appearance. These wings are also very trough which may help given the unusual mating behaviour. Males capture newly emerged females as soon as they fly, carry them to the ground where they mate forcibly. (The Butterflies of Australia – Orr & Kitching) Reading this forces me to look at butterflies very differently. My somewhat romantic view of butterflies as beautiful gentle creatures has come crashing to the ground as well.

The Glasswings are listed as common along the east coast, Victoria, Northern Territory and northern parts of Western Australia.

Food plants for Glasswing caterpillars on Mt Gravatt are the  native Spade Flower Hybanthus stellarioides, a delicate herb with a yellow “spade” shaped flower, and the invasive weed – Corky Passion Vine Passiflora suberosa.

Forty-five butterfly species have been identified on Mt Gravatt and with the development of Pollinator Links through the suburbs we aim to bring more of these beautiful and, it seems, agressive creatures back to backyards.

(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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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.”

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