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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.