“Do we really have echidnas on Mt Gravatt?” This was a common reaction when Fox Gully Bushcare and B4C took to bush to the OWeek Markets at Griffith University today.

Heather Barnes B4C

What do students from Brisbane, Newcastle, China, Germany and Philippines and students studying business, law, engineering, education, linguistics, molecular science and environmental science all have in common?

They love the bush!

Semester 1 Bushcare Dates

Sharing our love the bush with these eager young people was a real pleasure and a very successful promotion with over seventy students signed-up email notification of events.

I am hoping that the close proximity to the Nathan Campus will allow me to tempt students to join our Wednesday Bushcare.

The Griffith University OWeek Markets were very well organised by the Campus Life team and a great promotional opportunity for community groups. We will certainly be back for Semester 2 OWeek.

Another part of our restoration of the Fox Gully Bushcare site is the reintroduction of Green Tree Frogs Litoria caerulea.

Also a fun way to introduce kids to the wonderful and diverse range of wildlife in our forest. My neighbour Matt took this picture of that magical moment when the new frog emerges with it vestigial tail. Seeing this photo takes me straight back to my own childhood when I kept tadpoles.

As well as Green Tree Frogs we also have Eastern Dwarf Tree Frog Litoria fallax like this one that lost its way and ended up inside one night.

I heard a male Eastern Whipbird Psophodes olivaceus calling while I was pulling weeds today in Zone 15B. I get a real sense of satisfaction restoring the bush when I share my afternoon with special birds like these.

Zone 15B is a partly restored riparian, beside creeks, area with thick scrubby growth: ideal habitat for these Whipbirds. Unfortunately, as you will see from the video, not ideal habitat for getting close for a photo. I did get some good audio and a lot of scratches but not photo so my limited drawing skills have to do for the moment.

Click on link to listen to the distinctive Whipbird call.

This whipcrack call is just the male bird. So far I have not heard any females responding. When you hear these birds in the bush you normally hear the whipcrack immediately followed by sharp “choo choo” from the female.

2011 will be a busy exciting year for Fox Gully Bushcare.

FWR Group returns on Wednesday 9 February. With four visits scheduled for 2011, I am confident the Fishbone Fern will be completely cleared and the native ferns thriving again in Zone 13.

BOIC (Butterflies & Other Invertebrates Club) is visiting in February for a guided tour of our restoration work. An honour and an excellent opportunity to tap into some expert critique of our work.

The ANZ Fox Gully Team is returning to continue restoration of Zone 8. Now that the Purple Succulent has been removed we will work back up the gully clearing Easter Cassia, Camphor Laurel, Creeping Charlie and removing any weed regrowth.

Stage 3 restoration of Zone 14 will include removal of remaining weed trees and continue the firebreak planting with load fuel load native grasses.

At the other end of the site, in Zone 15B, removal of Singapore Daisy and replanting with frog and butterfly friendly Lomandra hystrix and restoration of Coin Spot Treeferns.

We will also be working with BCC, Transport & Main Roads and other property owners to re-establish the wildlife corridors between Mt Gravatt Reserve, Mimosa Creek and Roly Chapman Reserve: Fox Gully – Wildlife Corridors At a micro level we are starting to directly repopulate the wildlife in the gully with the first generation of Green Tree Frogs Litoria caerulea released.

Our Wednesday Bushcare starts again next week on Wednesday 12 January. Please consider joining us for some weed removal … restore the bush and yourself at the same time.

I love living in place where nature is always part of my life. My family refers to all the butterflies, moths, spiders, etc as my pets: “One of your pets is in the bathroom. Come and remove it please.”

So no one was suprised when called them to come and see my latest pets.

I was building my new front steps when I found this Goliath Stick Insect Eurycnema goliath. An amazing beautifully coloured feat of engineering perfectly designed for climbing. See the video: Goliath Stick Insect

The family were facinated by my pet as was the young naturalist next door who helped me find a new home on the Melaleuca wilsonii where it immediately started chomping.

What I didn’t intially notice, when I saved the Stick Insect from the BCC Green Bin, was the Garden Mantis that climbed onto my arm.

What a wonderful place to live … I have encountered more different wildlife in the past five years than in the years of walking in national parks, and this unique place is only 10 minutes from Brisbane CBD.

 

 

 

Just be careful not to get between this monster and his lunch!!

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

If you receive the Southside Community News you will have read my article on the FWR Group visiting Fox Gully … otherwise see below.

FWR (Four Walls and a Roof) Group is a clever team of individuals who help companies find real profit opportunities in looking after the community and envirionment.

David Cooperrider, interviewing a long time management hero of mine Peter Drucker in 2003, reported the following exchange:

“Can social responsibility also be profitable?”

Drucker, then 93, smiled and laughed at my misdirected enthusiasm—he told me I was asking the wrong question. It’s not whether social responsibility can be profitable to business, he said, but rather how profitable business can make social responsibility. That day, he declared to me something we should all remember:

“Every single social and global issue of our day is a business opportunity in disguise.”

BizEd july/august 2008

FWR Group is Peter Drucker’s words in action. I am honoured to have this team working with us restoring our amazing bushland.

Southside Community News - http://www.southsidesportsclub.com.au

 

Wattle Notodontid Moth or Monster – click if you dare

I was inspecting the bushcare site with BCC contractor Jo when she pointed to a Brisbane Fringed Wattle “What is that?”

What Jo had spotted was either an amazing example of nature’s creativity or…

… the stuff of nightmares. A chocolate brown Wattle Notodontid Moth decorated with spots, wiskers and false eyes.

Imagine coming face to face with this creature on as you go trick or treating on a dark Halloween night.

Personally I love to discover these fascinating creatures and wonder why it has grown whiskers all over its body. Note the skin fold on the bottom left. apparently if startled these caterpillars open this fold to expose big blue and black eyes like the one in the photo.

As the name suggests these caterpillars depend on Acacias as their food plants.

Mike

Our regular Wednesday afternoon bushcare is really starting to make an impact in both Zone 15 behind 36 to 40 O’Grady Street and Zone 17 at the top of Azania Street.

Stephanie and I worked on Zone 17 last week removing and composting Singapore Daisy as well as clearing the first of a number of piles of garden waste dumped in the bush over the years.

We did get a bit of a shock to disturb two Golden Crowned Snakes among the branches we were clearing. At the time we didn’t knowing what type of snakes we had disturbed so we decided to move onto another area and clear more Sing Daisy.

I was able to identify these beautiful snakes Golden Crowned Snakes – Cacophis squamulosus, which are classified as not dangerous.

Crowned snakes rear their heads, flick their tongues and attempt to look dangerous. Have weak venom, tiny mouths, short fangs and a general reluctance to bite. Queensland Museum Fact Sheet – Crowned Snakes.

These snakes are a real find because Golden Crowned Snakes are currently not on the EPA’s species list for the mountain. I will be working with Sue Jones to provide regular updates for the EPA to ensure our governement policy makers have the best data when they make decisions about our mountain.

As well as removing the garden waste we also have to change the habit of dumping in the bush. So we have roped off the area with one of Ian Darby’s excellent bright orange REVEGETATION ZONE signs.

Mike

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