Striated Pardalote Pardalotus striatus – race melanocephalus

Topknot Pigeon Lopholaimus antarcticus

The BAAM envirionmental researchers started their fieldwork for the Flora & Fauna Assessment of Mimosa Creek Precinct. Working in Fox Gully and Firefly Gully last Monday/Tuesday they identified three species of micro-bats Gould’s Wattled Bat Chalinolobus gouldii, White-striped Freetail Bat Tadarida australis and Eastern Bentwing Bat Miniopterus oceanensis. They also found Koala while spotlighting and identified Topknot Pigeon Lopholaimus antarcticus.

Topknots have not been identified in the Reserve before and yesterday a flight of 10 to 15 birds came over very quietly cruising around then settling in a large gully tree. The addition of Topknots to our species list brings us to forty-nine native bird species identified on Mt Gravatt.

Striated Pardalote Pardalotus striatus - race melanocephalus

Today I was lucky to get my first photos and video of our Striated Pardalots Pardalotus striatus – race melanocephalus. I frequently hear these cute birds when walking the Summit Track however they are small and flighty so I have not been able to get any photos.

Black Jezebel Delias nigrina

To top off a big week for new species I also photographed a female Black Jezebel Delias nigrina butterfly. This brings our species count up to forty-six butterflies in the Reserve.

The Flora & Fauna Assessment project is funded by a grant from Dept of Environment accessed with the support of Phil Reeves and then Enviornment Minister Hon Kate Jones

September 2010 the FWR Group joined our Wednesday Bushcare and started on the daunting task of clearing the huge area of Fishbone Fern Nephrolepis cordifolia, from the gully. See  my post: Business Goes Bush in Mt Gravatt

Wednesday Bushcare this week will return to that site to remove any regrowth of Fishbone. When I inspected the site to assess the work required, I was so blown away by the extraordinary natural regeneration occurring, I had to do a quick review.

Cindy, Tessa, Virginia, Luke and Mike

Removing Fishbone fern can be a fiddly frustating job: digging out every nodule then carrying the loaded tubs to the top of the slope. Every part of the fern has to be removed from site to reduce risk of re-infection.

In this situation it is great to have a group who can share some fun. “What are these strange nodules we keep digging up?” Cindy is from Busan, South Korea. Tessa,Virginia, Luke and Mike are part of the FWR team.

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The team also removed Easter Cassia, Chinese Elm and Ochna.

Virgina proved quite adept with the new Treepopper provided by our sponsor BCC Habitat Brisbane.

Seeing results is a key factor in motivation for a volunteer bushcare workforce. The Treepopper delived results on the day, making easy work of these, normally hard to remove, woody weeds.

Nine is the biggest team we have had for Wednesday Bushcare and at the end of the afternoon the results showed. The thick green border of Fishbone shows how much has been removed to create this clear ground.

That same area is now covered

Ottochloa gracillima Graceful Grass

in a thick growth of Ottochloa gracillima Graceful Grass which is supressing weed growth as well as providing caterpillar food for Brown and Orange-streaked Ringlet butterflies.

Hybanthus stellarioides Spade Flower

There has been some regrowth of Fishbone fern and some infection with other weeds however the most striking change is the extraordinary natural regeneration of the native grasses, herbs and ferns. Herbs like the unusual Spade Flower Hybanthus stellarioides are now appearing in this area where they were not found before.

Drynaria rigidula Basket Fern

The Basket Fern has also benefited from the weed removal with fresh new growth appearing and outgrowing the invasive Fishbone.

Visiting this part of the site and seeing the native plants restoring the habitat is a real boost.

So I hope you can join us this week for Wednesday Bushcare in Fox Gully.

Jian: proud of his planting

The Lomandra hystrix Creek Mat-rush Jian planted last week are doing well after the storm last night.

The planting is at the bottom of Zone 15 where we are clearing Brazilian Pepper Trees and Singapore Daisy to restore the original water flow of the ephemeral creek. The Lomadra hystrix are ideal for this area reducing erosion, creating frog habitat and attracting Brown Ochre and Splendid Ochre butterflies.

Splendid Ochre - Trapezites symmomus

We are also planting the cleared areas with native grasses Ottochloa gracillima and Oplismenus aemulus.

These grasses grow fast forming a thick cover that dramatically reduces weed infestation, doing our bushcare work for us, and allowing natural regeneration.

Magpie Moth - Nyctemera secundiana

I also got an excellent photo of a Magpie Moth to add to our research document: Flora & Fauna of Mt Gravatt Reserve. Click on the photo to get a good look at this extraordinary animal.

Helen Schwencke of Earthing Enterprises was particularly facinated by the very un-mothlike behaviour: sitting with wings up more in the manner of a butterfly.

What do animal or plant would you like to photograph for our Flora & Fauna?

All photographs used in Flora & Fauna of Mt Gravatt Reserve are taken on the Mountain.

What happens when you lead a group of dedicated butterfly experts on a walk in the bush?

Don’t expect to move very fast!

My family joke about me stopping to take photos at every rock and tree. Last Saturday I found a group of people who are harder to move than myself.

Kate Flink – BCC Habitat Brisbane, captured this clustering behaviour perfectly with her photo.

BOIC (Butterflies & Other Invertebrates Club) honoured Fox Gully with a visit and shared their expertise on a tour of our bushcare site.

Our local butterflies and their caterpillars put on a good show with Common Crows, Orchard Swallowtails, Evening Browns and various Ringlets flitting from bush to bush. I now know I can find different butterfly caterpillars simply by looking at the pattern of chewing on leaves. Aparently each species chews different shapes into the leaves.

A really good morning in the bush particularly when two butterfly species were added to Flora & Fauna of Mt Gravatt Reserve: Australian Rustic, Leafwing Doleschallia bisaltide and Pale Triangle Graphium eurypylus. Forty-five butterfly species have now been identified in the Reserve.

The Leafwing caterpillar is pictured munching on Love Flower Pseuderanthemum variable. This caterpillar must be serously scary for any potential preditors: looks like it is covered in shiny black barbed-wire.

The BOIC Butterfly Host Plants is an excellent reference for information on what plants will attract butterflies to your garden.

I photographed a new butterfly today for our Flora and Fauna of Mt Gravatt Reserve: a female Common or Varied Eggfly butterfly –Hypolimnas bolina

An amazing year for butterflies … everywhere I look I see Blue Triangles, Orchard Swallowtails, Common Crows, Evening Browns or Orange-streaked Ringlets.

Finding this Common Eggfly was a real pleasure.

To really appreciate the colours watch the video:Common Eggfly butterfly

The caterpillar food plant for this butterfly is one of my favourite native herbs: Love Flower Pseuderanthemum variable

The Love Flower has five petals and one has a scattering of dots. It looks like the dots were added just for fun.

I always find something interesting at
Wednesday Bushcare and today was no exception.

Looking up from pulling weeds I came face to face with this Bearded Dragon pretending to be part of an old tree. It kept a wary eye on me while I took a photo then ducked away as soon as I turned my back.

Then we had a visit from these two Small Green-banded Blue butterflies: Psychonotis caelius.

The Red Ash or Soap Tree Alphitonia excelsa is the caterpillar food plant for the Small Green-banded Blues.

On the same Red Ash I found this Painted Acacia Moth caterpillar: Orgyia australis. Definately one of the prettier moth caterpillars and also know as a “tussock” moth for obvious reasons.

A very special afternoon … consider joining us for an afternoon with the bush critters.

Fox Gully Bushcare has been named B4C Bushcare Group of the Year for 2010. I was very proud to accept this award from Cr Adrian Schrinner at a ceremony the B4C Southside Sustainability Centre.

Considering Bulimba Creek catchment covers 122 square kilometres, about 10 per cent of Brisbane’s area and home to 120,000 people being named Bushcare Group of the Year is a real achievement!

Thank you to all who have pulled out weeds, carted mulch, planted, watered,  delivered Updates or simply shared words of encouragment.

Thanks to our sponsors: FWR Group, Southside Sport & Community Club, Officeworks – Garden City

And particular thanks to Brisbane City Council:

  • Kate Flink and BCC Habitat Brisbane team who provided valuable advice, equipment, plants, mulch and patiently carted away truckloads of rubbish removed from our site.
  • Cr Krista Adams who supported our application for a BCC Environmental Grant allowing us to continue and expand our community education.

I’m looking forward to an even more amazing 2011 with FWR Group already locked in to join us for four Wednesday Bushcare events, the ANZ Fox Gully Team is planning to come back, BOIC will be visiting for a guided tour of our habitat restoration and our Green Tree Frog repopulation will be into its second generation.

Planting Day – Sunday 31 October – 8am to 12noon

Please join us in the next stage of restoration – Zone 14 Stage 2 replanting.

Habitat created by our restoration work is already home to Noisy Minors and Imperial Hairstreak butterflies. Clearing weeds is also bringing Koalas back to the gully.

On Sunday 31, over 400 grasses, vines and trees indigenous to Mt Gravatt Reserve, will be planted in the second stage of Zone 14 restoration: near the water reservoir at the top of Azania Street.

Even if you only have half an hour come and put in your plant.

Noisy Minor Nest – Zone 7: Sept 2010

Where – access site via:

46 O’Grady Street, Upper Mt Gravatt

Wear protective footwear and sun protection. Morning tea, plants and equipment provided.

Information:      Mike Fox – 0408 769 404

Southside Community News – October 2010

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