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

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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.

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Blue Tiger sex brand

Blue Tiger male sex brands circled

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

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

Common Crow – male.

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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:

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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

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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.

By: Michael Fox

As part of the continuing development of Mt Gravatt Environment Group, Laurie Deacon has taken on the role of President. I will continue to work closely with Laurie, continuing as Editor of Mt Gravatt Environment Group blog and Fox Gully Bushcare co-coordinator.

IMG_20140412_132834Over the past decade the team has, expanded restoration activities in seven sites surrounding the Mountain, strengthened relationships with community, university and school stakeholders, contributed to research of Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve, increased use of the Reserve by community members and developed community education. Membership is strong and members have received local, state and international recognition of their work in Nature Conservation.

Laurie brings a wealth of experience with volunteer groups and environmental work ranging from membership of the management board of a national environmental NGO, protecting endangered Cassowaries in the Daintree, presenting at the UN Congress for Environmental Education: June 2013 in Marrakesh and working with turtles and the local Majestic Park Scout Group.

Laurie is currently taking our Pollinator Link initiative Queensland wide, gaining political support and showing the way with the Pollinator Link garden in Mt Gravatt State High School.

So how does the world create such an amazing person?

 

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Laurie was born at Tewantin and grew up on lake Doonela catching mud crabs and feeding pelicans. A family heritage based on  Maroochy River cane farming Grandparents  and Palmwoods orchards Grandparents. Laurie, went to  Nambour State schools doing Agriculture and Animal husbandry with the vision of a future as a vet.

Then changed direction with a Degree in Occupational Therapy specialising in the human species rather than other animal species. Laurie has provided Rehabilitation across a range of physical, paediatric and mental health patient/client groups; across Acute Hospital, Community Health & Tertiary Health Service Models.  Including a time working as Director of Occupational Therapy (OT) at Nambour General Hospital. Laurie’s roles have included designing and developing these services including research, development of standards, planning and implementing interventions and services.

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This broad OT therapy experience allowed allowed Laurie to appreciate the necessity and responsibilities of  providing a healthy natural environment in which humans can learn, grow and thrive. Her interest has always been in getting people to reach their potential for a healthy well balanced life …. doing things of real value! “It’s the people that make the difference but it’s the environment that makes the people.”   Scientific evidence supports the encouragement of  everyone to be active in their neighbourhood doing things they care about … and everyone has a special skill  that is needed to achieve a healthy local community.

As Laurie says: “I am involved in many ‘whole of landscape conservation programs’  as well as individual species programs. Estuaries full of fish and birds and wildlife corridors of any habitat through cities, farms, and bush …I love them, I see them. Biodiversity in all its glory is better than going to the Paris Louvre.

I started my interest  in community service with Save the Franklin Dam campaign at uni in 1982 and then later FIDO as a ‘formal’  socially active community person.

I have seen that folk need to have a one off visceral experience with nature or a ‘over period of time relationship with nature’ before they will care and value it. So getting your feet wet in creeks and looking deep into the eyes of a koala up close and personal is vital for our people to really come alive.”

Originally posted on Pollinator Link:

Native Sarsaparilla Hardenbergia violacea

Native Sarsaparilla Hardenbergia violacea

By: Sheamus O’Connor

The Pollinator Link Garden at Mount Gravatt SHS is beginning to display the vibrant colours of Australian wildflowers. We had a very undesirable storm season this year, hardly receiving much rain at all when we needed it most. Autumn simply did not exist in Brisbane, as most days reached 30oC at least. However, now with winter here, as well as some decent cold weather, the water that’s left in our soils is less likely to be evaporated by the intense heat of the sun.

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Beetles enjoying the abundance of wattle flowers

Beetles enjoying the abundance of wattle flowers

Native plants are known for their hardiness, and they always are able to create an elaborate display of stunning flowers in unfavourable conditions. Acacia species are in full bloom, if not now, very soon. Their perfume can be smelt a great distance away. Look closely at…

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