Mt Gravatt Bush Blokes - Marshal, Michael & Paul

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Mt Gravatt Bush Blokes installed the first of our new nest boxes high in a Tallowwood ready for a family of Rainbow Lorikeets or Pale-headed Rosellas to move in.

The nest boxes made by Mt Gravatt Men’s Shed also include designs for Squirrel/Sugar Gliders and the smaller Scaly-breasted Lorikeets – green with yellow ‘scales’ on their chest and bright orange flashes as their underwings are exposed in flight.

The initial order of ten boxes which will be used in restoration of the Fox Gully and Firefly Gully wildlife corridors which will provide urgently needed nesting sites and bring birds and Gliders literally into the community backyards.

The Men’s Shed boxes have been beautifully made with high quality materials – stainless steel hinges, galvanised nails, FSC certified exterior ply, Cutex wood preservative donated by , all following nest box designs from Nest boxes for wildlife by Alan & Stacey Franks – a copy was donated by Hollowlog Homes.

The design includes a lid that can be lifted for inspection, an internal ladder and a removable base for clearing ferral invaders like Indian Mynas.

The box was attached to the tree using 3mm fencing wire covering in hose with a zig-zag section on both side to allow for expansion as the tree grows.

Southside Community News

Kookaburras, Sacred Kingfishers, Rainbow and Scaly-breasted Lorikeets, Pale-headed Rosellas, Striated Pardalotes all need nest hollows for breeding.

Sugar Gliders and Squirrel Gliders need nest hollows for rest and protection as well as breeding. Unfortunately land clearing for farming and housing has destroyed habitat for these bush creatures. The fragmented habitat created suits some species: species like our native Noisy Minors and Brushtail Possums thrive in our suburban environments.

Sacred Kingfisher Todiramphus sanctus

However we are losing the smaller bird species that give us so much pleasure: species like the Sacred Kingfisher, Superb Fairy-wren, Striated Pardalote and Eastern Yellow Robin, require more protection from thick understory plants and/or nest hollows. The smaller gliders like the Sugar Glider and mouse sized Feathertail Glider are also vunerable with the increasing competition for limited nest hollows.

Even conservation protected Mt Gravatt Reserve has suffered. Mt Gravatt Then and Now, Mt Gravatt Historical Society, tells us that up till July 1893 the mountain and surrounds were designated as a railway timber reserve. My intial survey of the 2ha of Fox Gully Bushcare reflects this history with only thirty six trees older than 100 years and only five old enough to have a 50% chance of having nest hollows:  Fox Gully Research – Tree Hollows – March 2011. A healthy SE Queensland forest habitat would typically have 10 hollow bearing trees per hectare with 2.2 hollows per tree.

Even frogs need homes

I am now working with BCC Habitat Brisbane to research the actual tree hollows available and plan the installation of nest boxes suited to local species.

I am privileged to live with these bush creatures at my back door however there is a lot we can do to bring birds back to our backyards with nest boxes. BCC Libraries have copies of Alan & Stacey Franks’ excellent book Nest boxes for wildlife which gives detailed plans for making your own nest boxes and mounting in a way that will not damage your trees.

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.