(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.”

I have an answer for at least one species. We saw these strange shadowy shapes in the Poison Peach Trema tomentosaone one night in November. On investigation we found two Noisy Minors Manorina melanophrys cuddled together.

With their heads tucked in they were almost impossible to identify.

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.

We had the third inspection of the new Men’s Shed nest box this morning. A pair of Pale-headed Rosellas gave the box a good looking over – climbing on top, looking inside and checking the corner joins for quality.

This box is made for Pale-headed Roselas based on design specifications from Hollowlog Homes: size/depth of box, size of entry hole, perch and internal ladder. However when first installed we had the box facing west. We have now moved it round to the southern aspect: recommended, and the box is now close to branches which the Pale-headed obviously like, as they used that to get close before landing on the box.

We are hoping that this couple move in soon. However, from talking to others I understand that these beautiful birds are very picky about their accomodation. A friend on acerage in Flagstone told me that it was two years before a pair of Pale-headed Roselas occupied his nest box but they have been back every year since. We will have to be patient.

It is Noisy Miner Manorina melanophrys breeding season again and we have three chicks in a nest just outside our bedroom window. The female does the nest building lining the twigs with bit of carpet from the cat’s scratching post. This year she was cheeky enough to pinch some of the cat’s fur itself! Poor Sally was asleep in the sun and leapt a foot in the air.

We were confused for a while when we saw four different birds coming to the nest to feed the chicks. Apparently a number of male birds help with the feeding.

We like the Noisy Miners. They are a honeyeater which habitats the disturbed edges of forests and our backyards. The Miners do force some smaller birds out these forest edges: edge effect. However, they also keep the Indian Myna Acridotheres tristis – chocolate brown colour, out of our forests. They are also the alert birds for their habitat, letting everyone know if is a cat or snake on the prowl or a bird of prey around.

Rather than worry about the Miners we are working to reverse the edge effect by consolidating the forest habitat by clearing garden plants that have escaped into the bush and where possible taking the native plant species into the backyards.

Watch the chicks growing up – almost ready to fledge.

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.

(l-r) SITA representative, Cr Graham Quirk, Michael Fox, Rick Burnett CEO Keep Australia Beautiful Qld.

Brisbane Lord Mayor, Cr. Graham Quirk today presented Fox Gully Bushcare with the Brisbane’s Spotless Suburbs Partnerships Award.

I was proud to represent our community at New Farm Park for the Awards but a little surprised to when called up to receive the Partnership Award.

I shared our achievements and plans with judges John and Lou Carothers when they inspected our site in May. Clearly our efforts to actively engage community members, community organisation and business groups made a powerful impression.

Judging criteria for the Partnerships Award are:

  • Partnerships that enhance community wellbeing and pride in their community.
  • Partnerships that result in materials and resources for activities to keep the community clean.
  •  Partnerships to manage litter and cleanliness in local facilities, e.g. playgrounds, amenities, car parks and public open spaces.

As a community we are really achieving something special and this award will help us build on our partnerships, strengthen our community and access more resources. We have already received funding approval for the Flora and Fauna Assessment which will look at developing Fox Gully as a wildlife link. We currently have fourteen property owners committed to restoration of their part of the gully as part of our Mimosa Creek Precinct Landscape Plan. These successes will help strengthen these community partnerships as well as our existing corporate partnerships:

Cr Krista Adams, Sue Jones, Michael Fox, Cr Graham Quirk

Our Mountain was doubly honoured as Sue Jones and I also accepted the Environmental Protection Award for Mt Gravatt Environment Group.

Join our Mt Gravatt Bush Blokes on Tuesday afternoons in Fox Gully and see what the fuss is all about.

Wednesday Bushcare was in Zone 14 today.This area was replanted with native grasses, Acacias and Tallowwoods planted in October 2009.

The growth has been amazing! This Tallowwood planted less than eighteen months ago is now towering Lu, a Griffith University Environment student who helps with Wednesday Bushcare.

We can all be proud of this fantastic result, particularly considering the hot dry conditions at the time of the planting. The planting was done with water crystals, the Tallowwoods sprayed with Yates DroughtShield, protected with shade cloth and the area heavily mulched to reduce heat damage to roots and retain moisture.

The hot dry conditions can be seen in photo below taken when planting was almost complete. Because we could not get tank water to this part of our Bushcare site, the BCC Habitat Brisbane team organised a water tanker to visit the following week.

Read about the event: Fox Gully Restoration Update – Oct09

Weather conditions have been very different since then so our work today was weed control and putting mulch filters in place to control silt runoff from the maintenance track.

Considering the size of the area restored weed control onsite is a  relatively small job because the native grasses are now doing an excellent job of suppressing weed growth. At the same time we are starting to see natural regeneration with Scambling Lily Geitonoplesium cymosum, Poison Peach  Trema tomentosa (food plant for Speckled Link-blue butterfly) and Gotu Cola Centella asiatica (bushtucker: leaves eaten as vegetable. Aborigines soaked the flowers to make a syrup to drink for sore throats and colds.) all starting to return to the site.

Therefore, Steve and Lu were able to work on installation of mulch filters. The filters work by slowing the water flowing off the track allowing time for the silt to settle out before the water passes through and down into the gully. The extraordinary January rains did no damage to our restored sites which are layered with logs retrained from the clean-up, then covered with mulch to retain moisture and reduce erosion. However, the maintenance track did suffer significant erosion which showed as muddy water in the gully.

The first filters are proving effective with in controlling silt so we are expanding the area protected. We are also hopeful that these filters will also reduce the spread of weed seeds, particularly the highly invasive Giant Parramatta Grass which has recently appeared along the track.