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

Walking through the forest this morning I had the pleasure of seeing dozens of Small Dusky-blue butterflies.

About the size of a ten cent piece – 22mm these butterflies are real show-offs. Landing on a leaf they will slowly open their wings so you can see the dusky-blue top side, then slowly close and open again. Note the fine white fringe along the edge of the wing and the fancy striped antenna.

The Dusky-blues caterpillars depend Dodder Laurel – Cassytha pubescens, a delicate native vine common in Fox Gully. 

We now have thirty nine butterflies species identified in Mt Gravatt Reserve and twenty two have been photographed and included in our Flora & Fauna of Mt Gravatt Reserve CD.

Click on photo to enlarge.

Have you seen these Dusky-blues in the bush or in your backyard?

Mike

We were thrilled, last night, to be visited by a pair of Tawny Frogmouths – Podargus strigoides, who sat together on a branch of a big Tallowwood.

One flew off but the other stayed around long enough for our Korean Homestay student, Cindy to catch this photo. “This was very wonderful because in Korea I have never seen birds like this except in a zoo. We only see pigeons and sparrows.” says Cindy.

Frogmouths feed at night on moths and other insects. During the day they will roost in a tree, all but disappearing as they pretend to be a branch. In December a Frogmouth used the rail of our deck to shelter from pouring rain, just lifting his nose in the air and scowling as I took a photo.

Tawny Frogmouths are not owls, although often confused with owls.

Mike

Click on photos to enlarge.

The results of our work with Fox Gully Bushcare have been recognised with two awards at the Australia Day Awards Breakfast hosted by the Southside Sport & Community Club.

Councilor Krista Adams, BCC Wishart Ward, presented me with Community Australia Day Award in recognition to continued commitment to the envirionment.

Phil Reeves MP, State Member for Mansfield, presented an award to recognise that Fox Gully Bushcare was  Finalist for the 2010 Community Group of the Year.  Jude, my wife and inspiration, and myself with Phil Reeves. Thank you to Heather Barnes, Bulimba Creek Catchment Coordinating Commitee, for nominating our group for the award.

Bushland restoration is already having a visable impact on the abundance of wildlife in Fox Gully.

Work by the ANZ Fox Gully Team has resulted in the second Koala sighting in the gully. This male Koala was photographed last week in a Tallowwood preserved on the property of Jason and Tash Olson-Seeto. Another Koala was photographed behind Sam Bilton’s house in November. The ANZ Team have removed over eight cubic metres of the invasive weed Purple Sucullent allowing free movement of Koalas down this wildlife corridor.

Yesterday I found this cicada, a Black Tree-ticker, while clearing weeds in Zone 15.

The cicada had just shed its old shell ready to grow a new larger shell.

I estimate this photo was taken fifteen minutes after it had shed its old she

ll. The wings are still wet and folded.

Eleven minutes later the wings are dry and the cicada is moving around freely.  However its new shell is not yet dry and its colour is still pinkish not the rich brown that will develop.

Our Korean Homestay student,  Cindy (Suhyeon) helped me identify this cicada as a Birrima varians – Black Tree-ticker by examining the embryonic body markings and vein pattern in wings.

This morning there were between ten and twenty Imperial Hairstreak butterflies – Jalmenus evagoras, flying among the Acacias in Zone 7. Zone 7 was cleared of building rubbish and weeds then replanted with Brisbane Fringed Wattle and Black Wattle in October 2008. Acacias are the laval food plant for the Imperial Hairstread, so now, just sixteen months later our planting is supporting a thriving Imperial Hairstreak population. I was even able to capture two butterflies mating.