By: Michael Fox

Noisy Pittas are normally found in rainforest habitat like Lamington National Park or Tamborine National Parks where our New Zealand visitor captured the video above.

Marshal Kloske rang today really excited. A brightly coloured plump bird he had never seen before was pecking around the ground under his bird feeder. Initially he thought it was some sort of parrot then it turned its head … no curved beak. Marshal had a Noisy Pitta Pitta versicolour in the Firefly Gully wildlife corridor. First glow in the dark mushrooms now my favourite bird.

We had another sighting of this cute little bird in March 2013. It is a hopeful sign that small forest birds are returning to our mountain gullies.

Let us know if you see a Pitta –



Acacia Way entry

Acacia Way Track – Mt Gravatt Campus

By: Michael Fox

As part of National Tree Day celebrations, Laurie Deacon and I were privileged to lead a guided walk in Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve for twenty-one Griffith University students and friends. We have partnered with Griffith Mates since 2012 to offer students the opportunity to give back to the tranquil bushland surrounding Griffith University.


Watershed - Bulimba & Norman Creek catchments .......... Acacia

Watershed – Bulimba & Norman Creek ………… Brisbane Fringed Wattle Acacia fimbriata

On track

Fishing line and bush food

Rain falling on Mt Gravatt flows into two different river catchments: Norman Creek catchment via Ekibin Creek and Bulimba Creek catchment via Mimosa Creek. Acacia Way follows the ridge line forming the watershed between the catchments.

Winter is flowering time for many of our wattles, like this beautiful fragment delicate Brisbane Fringed Wattle.

Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve has an amazing species diversity with two hundred and seventy-one native plant species identified, including Settlers Flax Gymnostachys anceps which was used by indigenous people to make fishing lines, and bush food Molucca Raspberry Rubus moluccanus.

Planting Team

Planting Koala trees

Luke tree

Laminated tags identify each planter


Arriving at Fox Gully Bushcare the team prepare to plant twenty Koala food trees including Small-fruited Grey Gum Eucalyptus propinqua, Scribbly Gum Eucalyptus racemosa and Qld Blue Gum Eucalyptus tereticornis.






Len Kann introducing Australian native bees


Len Kann introduced the team to our Australian native bees. Len keeps hives with the small black Stingless Native Bees Trigona carbonaria. He has also developed a deep knowledge of native solitary bees like our local Blue Banded Bees Amegilla cingulata and Teddy Bear Bees Amegilla bombiformis.


Afternoon tea

Bush food – punkin scones, jam and crea



With the work done time for the reward. Thanks to Margaret Medland for the delicious home made punkin scones, jam and cream!




BCC Habitat Brisbane interpretative sign



The walk back included a detour to the Summit where we inspected the new interpretative signs installed by BCC Habitat Brisbane team.

Thank you to our Griffith Mates visitors. We look forward to meeting again at a bushcare.


Oxalis chnoodes 4 - 3 July 2014 - Alan Moore

Hairy Oxalis Oxalis chnoodes – photo: Alan Moore

By: Michael Fox

I am currently checking and uploading our research Flora & Fauna of Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve. Keep checking for updates.

Botanist, Ann Moran, has generously checked our first couple of files and we gained another native species bringing our count to 270 native plant species in the Reserve.

Oxalis chnoodes 1 - 3 July 2014 - Alan Moore

Hairy Oxalis Oxalis chnoodes – photo: Alan Moore

I had photographed and identified what I thought was Creeping Oxalis Oxalis corniculata, a weed. Ann took one look at my photos and said that is the native herb, Hairy Oxalis Oxalis chnoodes.

Hairy Oxalis? When I had a close look I found the leaves of our local plant are very hairy. To be able to show this curious plant to community members we needed some real close-up pics … time to call in Alan Moore our local photography guru.


Orchard Swallowtail - Male - Apr10

Orchard Swallowtail – Male

By: Michael Fox

Forty-six butterfly species are found in Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve with a wide range of colours, sizes and behaviour.

I have been aware, for some time, of the different colours of the male and female Orchard Swallowtail Papilio aegeus.

Orchard Swallowtail - Nov 08

Orchard Swallowtail – Female – laying eggs on lemon tree

Orchard Swallowtail butterflies are large  (male 102mm/female 108mm). However, the females are definitely the most attractive to see flitting around your citrus trees.

These beautiful butterflies are a wonderful addition to any backyard, so if you see some strange caterpillars on your citrus trees please check before you pull out the pest spray. The Orchard caterpillars will do very little damage to your trees before they metamorphosise into beautiful colourful butterflies.

Blue Tiger - male - 17 Oct 10

Blue Tiger – male – on Parsonsia leaf


Identifying the sex of Blue Tiger Tirumala hamata butterflies is more difficult. It took a chance comment from Helen Schwencke, Earthling Enterprises, to make me even think to look for a way to identify males vs females. I had sent Helen a picture of a Blue Tiger in the winter sunlight. Helen emailed back commenting that the “male” butterfly would be collecting alkaloids from the Parsonsia leaf to make him more attractive to females.

Blue Tiger - female - 24 Aug 2013

Blue Tiger – female

Female Blue Tigers have a very similar patten of colours on their wings. When I asked how Helen identified a male butterfly just from a photo, she introduced me to butterfly “sex brands” which can be found on a number of butterfly species including Blue Tigers and Common Crows.



Blue Tiger sex brand

Blue Tiger male sex brands circled



The Blue Tiger males have distinctive sex brands on the hind wing.







Common Crow - male - 10 Feb 2014 - on barbed wire vine

Common Crow – male.


Common Crow - male - sex brand

Common Crow – male – sex brand

The Common Crow Euploea core male has a sex brand on the fore wing.

Now that I am aware of sex brands I will have to ensure all my photographs of mountain butterflies include this information.












Michael Fox – Fox Gully Bushcare

By: Michael Fox

I was honoured, yesterday, to present to  about 40 bushcarers attending the Habitat Brisbane and Wildlife Conservation Partnerships, Orientation day.

Preparing my presentation was a very positive experience as I reviewed and reflected on what I have learned and what out bushcare teams have achieved.

Download a PDF version of presentation

I used a number of videos from our CD Flora & Fauna of Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve and our website. A sample:


Mother of Ducks Lagoon

By: Michael Fox

Traveling  back from Armidale, NSW last week we stopped at the Mother of Ducks Lagoon in Guyra.

Yellow-billed Spoonbill - Gurya - 20 June 2014

Yellow-billed Spoonbill Platalea flavipes

White-winged Choughs Corcorax melanorhamphos

Mother of Ducks Lagoon (McKie Drive)
One of Guyra’s most important landmarks in Guyra is the Mother of Ducks Lagoon which is a large stretch of water 14kms in circumference, held in a silted volcanic crater.

Black-winged Stilt - 20 June 2014

Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus

Once a magnificent body of water large enough for boating, the lagoon has been drained for agricultural and other purposes since the turn of the century. The lagoon was partially restored as Guyra’s Bicentennial project and is once again home to a wide range of aquatic birds. Nests of black swans and a host of other water birds can be seen from the viewing platform or by walking around the bank of the reserve area.

The golf course follows its contours and the two meld comfortably into the unique landscape of Guyra. Picnic tables and toilet facilities are available next to the entrance and information stand. The lagoon is the source of Sandy/Laura creek which is known for its trout fishing.”

White-faced Heron - 20 June 2014

White-faced Heron Egretta novaehollandiae

Guyra Online

We only stopped for fifteen minutes and in that time saw a flight of what we think were White-winged Choughs Corcorax melanorhamphosIt was fascinating to watch the flock wheel over then settle in waves. We were also visited by a Yellow-billed Spoonbill Platalea flavipesBlack-winged Stilts Himantopus himantopus, White-faced Heron Egretta novaehollandiae and Grey Teal Anas gracilis.

A great spot to stop for a picnic or afternoon tea. Only a couple of minutes  off the highway but a peaceful world away from traffic and trucks.

Grey Teal - Mother of Ducks Lagoon - 20 June 2014

Grey Teal Anas gracilis


Asparagus Fern - 2 Prong Hoe - June 2014

Cyclone 2 Prong Hoe

By: Michael Fox

Garden escapees like Asparagus Fern Asparagus aethiopicus are one of three key threats to the long term future of the two hundred sixty-nine native plant species found in Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve.

Weeding a 66ha reserve is a bit more of a challenge than managing the average backyard and the bushcare workforce are all volunteers. So getting the “right tool for the job” is critical for team productivity and workplace safety.

Asparagus Fern - 2 Prong - edges - June 2014

Waging war on weeds

The Cyclone 2 Prong Hoe is an excellent general purpose tool for restoration work:

  • light weight allows longer periods of continuous use; and
  • long handle reduces back strain by reducing bending and allows for safer access to weedy slopes.

Most important the 2 Prong Hoe is the ideal weapon for attacking the prickly difficult to tackle Asparagus Fern.

Asparagus Fern - seeds - close - 3 June 2014 - Alan Moore

Major source of re-infection

The strong narrow prongs easily hook in under the crown of the plant allowing the whole root mat to be lifted out in one piece. For larger plants where to root mat for one plant can be cover more than one square metre use the hoe to lift the root mat around the edges to reduce the weight before lifting from the crown.

Remember to wear gloves when you attack this prickly weed. I like the Flex Tuff gloves which offer good protection while allow a good sense of touch.

Asparagus Fern is highly infectious with dozens of seeds that birds love so every plant removed is one less source of re-infection.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 304 other followers