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.

(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.

Ian with Michael and Paul in background

Ian Walker, LNP candidate for Mansfield, joined the team for Tuesday Bushcare today: removing Fishbone Fern in Zone 13.

I showed Ian the power of natural regeneration and explained the concept of Green Mulching: controlling weeds, erosion and water loss with native grasses.

(l-r) Marshal Paul Michael

Ian was particularly interested in the use of native grasses for bushfire control. Introduced weeds like Guinea Grass Panicum maximum are a major bushfire risk because of the volume of loose dead grass that accumulates. Native Graceful Grass Ottochloa gracillimawhich is regenerating and controlling weeds in the cleared area, is also ideal for bushfire control as it is low growing and does not build up large volumes of dead grass as it quickly recycled by Australian insects adapted to the local grasses.

Time for a cuppa and jam donuts. Eleven garbage bags of Fishbone removed today!

Now it is time for nature to take over restoring native grasses, Basket Fern Drynaria rigidula, Rasp Fern Doodia media, Scrambling Lilly Geitonoplesium cymosum  and Soapy or Red Ash Alphitonia excelsa which is a food tree for caterpillars of Small Green-banded Blue butterflies.

One of the powerful things I have learned about bushcare is that if we put in 10% clearing the weeds nature then contributes 90%, working 24/7 doing natural regeneration with local plants and weed control with Green Mulching.

We love living with our bushland backyard.

Last night we had a Koala visiting: read Do Koalas visit you at home? Today we were being entertained by a Scaly-breasted Lorikeet Trichoglossus chlorolepidotus playing in the birdbath.

These beautiful birds tend to flock with the larger Rainbow Lorikeet Trichoglossus haematodus. At first glance Scalys are not as colourful as Rainbows however as you will see in the video their true colours are hidden and only show when they fly.

Fox Gully Bushcare has been nominated for the 2011 Keep Australia BeautifulSpotless Suburb Award.

No, we have not suddenly become a suburb in our own right; there is an award under the ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION category. See the 2010 winners.

Fox Gully and Mt Gravatt Environment Group were also both nominated for the 2010 awards.

It is great to receive the recognition of  a nomination even if we do not win the award. However, I welcome any ideas, thoughts and/or testimonials I can use in preparing for the judging next Wednesday.

Winning the Environmental Protection category section of Brisbane’s Spotless Suburbs will be valuable public relations supporting our community education activities, strengthen our ability to access grant funding for projects and allow us to give wider acknowledgement to our corporate supporters:

If you have taken part in one of our planting days or events, what did you enjoy?

How has our work restoring this two hectares add value for you?

What comment do you have about my wildlife articles in Southside Community News?

Please comment here or email megoutlook@gmail.com

It’s week four of the semester, you have

Mai & Jian with their weapons

handed in your first assignment, now you are studying for the mid-semester test and you are starting to wonder if you really want to be at university. Is there a life beyond text books?

If you love the Australian bush and need some fresh air and excerise to help you study, join us for Wednesday Bushcare in Fox Gully. Just two stops from Nathan Campus by Route 120 bus. Take Route 120 bus to Graden City and get off at the Hibscus Sports Complex on Klumpp Road: 15 to 20 minutes from Nathan to Fox Gully Bushcare site. Email or call to check on weekly meeting point.

Alan’s daughter was the first to react, “Something just flew past!” Our neighbours were enjoying a quiet evening on their deck when a Squirrel Glider landed on a Tallowwood nearby.

Alan has a passion for photography, so we now have our first photos of Gliders returning to our bushcare site.

Squirrel Gliders Petaurus norfolcensis and the smaller Sugar Gliders Petaurus breviceps are both found on Mt Gravatt. However, the only recent reports have been from the eastern side, so it is a real pleasure to find one in our bushcare site. For information on Gliders visit the Queensland Glider Network.

These fascinating creatures glide between trees using the kite-like format created when they stretch out the membrane extending from wrist to ankle. Because the gliding distance is limited, the population is currently isolated within the Mt Gravatt Reserve. Restoration of the wildlife corridor down Fox Gully to Klump Road is the first step in creating links with Roly Chapman Reserve and indirectly to Toohey Forest. Once we have the gully corridor restored the next step is to research wildlife movement solutions like glider poles spaced to allow safe crossing of Klump Road.

The gully restoration is progressing well with a Koala recorded by Pauline’s family, about three-quarters of the way down towards Klump Road.

“You are doing a fantastic job! I would like to bring other bushcare groups here to see this site. It is a great case study in bushcare best practice and natural regeneration.” Last Thursday was our annual site inspection and Kate our local BCC Habitat Brisbane bushcare officer was very impressed with the progress with restoration.

Mai clearing Fishbone Fern

We are lucky at this site to have surrounding bush to provide seed for natural regeneration. However, I believe the main reason for our success, is our almost zero use of herbicides in clearing weeds.

In planning restoration of Zone 13, I did a systematic search of the area and found a six different native fern species, Basket Fern, Rough Maindenhair Fern, Rasp Fern, Gristle Fern Mountain Bracken and Elkhorn Fern, still surviving amongst the invasive Fishbone Fern. Poisoning was therefore not an option: herbicides kill all plants not just the weeds.

Hand removal of weeds seems  slow initially however it reduces long term workload as the native grasses significantly reduce weed regrowth, saving time with follow-up weed removal and reducing the need for re-planting.

Time for a break

Restoration of heavily infected areas needs to be done in stages working from the edges to maximise natural regeneration and minimise weed re-infection. Systematic removal of the Fishbone Fern starts with clearing the bulk of ferns and immediatly bagging to minimise disturbance and spreading of spores from fertile fronds. The next stage is careful removal of fibrous roots and numerous hairy brown or white nodules underground. Fishbone is so successful reinfection can be caused by spread of spores or regrowth from roots and nodules. Therefore, the easiest most successful restoration is based on good work practices: less effort better results.

Of course good work practice includes a making time for a break, a cup of tea and a chat. Our bushcare workforce are all volunteers so ensuring they relax and enjoy the time is an important part of building motivation to return.

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.