Easter Cassia flower - 15 May 2015

Easter Cassia Senna pendula var. glabrata

By: Michael Fox

Around Easter each year you can see the beautiful yellow splashes of colour in our urban bushland as the environmental weed Easter Cassia Senna pendula var. glabrata comes into flower.

Our last Friday Bushcare at Roly Chapman Bushland Reserve focused on clearing Easter Cassia before another season’s crop of seed matures and spreads the weed further.

Easter Cassia seed pods - 15 May 2015

Easter Cassia seed pods

Diamond-leaf Pittosporum - Auranticarpa rhombifolia - 15 May 2015 lr

Diamond-leaf Pittosporum Auranticarpa rhombifolia

Easter Cassia produces beautiful flowers for much of the year. However, it also produces large numbers of seed pods spreading from gardens into urban bushland and shading out native plant species.

You can help protect our bushland by replacing Easter Cassia with native Sennas which have yellow flowers, grow to a similar 2 to 3 metres in height and attract a range of butterflies to your garden. See Toowoomba Plants article on native Sennas and butterflies.

Environmental weeds like Easter Cassia shade out native plant species like this Diamond-leaf Pittosporum Auranticarpa rhombifolia we uncovered as we cleared the Easter Cassia.

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Chinese Elm - 15 May 2015

Chinese Elm removed with Treepopper

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We also used the Treepopper to remove a well established Chinese Elm Celtis sinensis. Another garden escapee that crowds out native plant species vital to our native birds, butterflies and bees.

When ever possible we avoid using poison. Instead we pull woody weeds up roots and all with the Treepopper.

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Grey Butcherbird - 15 May 2015

Grey Butcherbird Cracticus torquatus

Our bush restoration work is very satisfying as we clear the weeds and watch the regrowth of native habitat. And every Friday as we work we are joined by a family of Grey Butcherbirds Cracticus torquatus looking for breakfast of spiders, centipedes and bush cockroaches. These birds are so used to us now that they will land on a branch right beside you and pose while you take photos or sing cheerful tunes that seem to be thank-you songs.

By: Michael Fox

Alan Moore, Photography Workshop leader, and I were planning the trail for the participants’ photo assignment when I found this flamboyant new addition for our Flora & Fauna research.

Our 2015 Photography Workshop will focus on macro-photography like this amazing shot taken by Alan.

Want to learn see Nature Close-up? Register today for Workshop on Sunday 24th May

Only a few places left!

Koalas - night - Laurie - 11 May 2015

Walking at night look up for Koalas

By: Laurie Deacon

I went walking last night on the mountain with Mike, Liliana and Matt …spotting ….and we saw two Koalas at two different sights as per the map attached.

Koala One was seen at 8.30 pm and was pretty much in same location as were Pieter saw our koala on the March morning walk. At the fork on Acacia Way.

Both were very cute, middle sized Koalas.

Koala one was on the ground beside the track and then when he/she saw us rushed off in the bush and slowly went up a mid-sized straight tree, but stopped and looked at us. She hung around the base of the tree for about 5 minutes. She seemed young, in good health and maybe a girl.

Koala Two seen around 9pm and was sitting high in a gum just about at the top of the Geebung Track where it breaks onto the park area..(currently covered on steel yards for new public toilet construction). She was cuddled up on a long straight branch quite open and the breeze was making her hold on very tight as the branch was swaying. We could not see if she had a clear white tummy as she was balled up. But was looking around.

Was a beautiful night for a star light walk and then a picnic rug for a home baked Honey and Apple syrup cake and candles in the park for Matt’s 25th Birthday.

Best present he said was seeing the Koalas.

Koala - 3 May 2015

Koala visitor Fox Gully Bushcare – 3 May 2015

By: Michael Fox

We have regular sightings on Koalas Phascolarctos cinereus in the Reserve and we know they have been breeding for several years. See the 2011 report about Sparky and her joey, they live near an Energex sub-station.

What we have not yet been able to do is identify individuals. While we are getting more sightings reported we don’t know how many different individuals live in the Reserve and what area their territory covers.

Is today’s Koala visitor the same one I videoed in March grazing on fresh Tallowwood Eucalyptus microcorys in Fox Gully Bushcare?

Koala - Fox Gully - 28 Mar 2015 - J Fox

…… Female Koala – snowy white chest ……… 28 Mar 2015

One thing we can do is identify that both individuals are females. The pure white chest fur is typical of female Koalas. Males have dirty chests from rubbing their scent glands on tree bark to mark their territory.

Further research is needed to establish ways to identify individuals by differences in facial features and fur patterns.

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Griffith Mates (l-r) Laura, Lothar, Vikram, Sienna and Herman

By: Michael Fox

The Griffith Mates team helped us reach an important milestone last week. The final stage of a five year project was reached as the last patch of Fishbone Fern Nephrolepis cordifolia has been cleared at our Fox Gully Bushcare site Zone 13.

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Fishbone jungle - 11 May 2013

Lost in Fishbone jungle

A team from FWR Group started the daunting task of clearing the Fishbone jungle from the gully.

In its natural environment, Fishbone Fern is usually found growing in rocky areas, on rainforest margins, or as an epiphyte on palm trees in the wetter parts of tropical and sub-tropical Australia. (Weeds of Australia)

CVA team Fox Gully - 22 May 2013 2

Conservation Volunteers (CVA) team

In urban areas where Fishbone Fern has been cultivated as a garden plant it has escaped into remaining patches of bushland crowding out indigenous species. Six species of native fern are indigenous to the Fox Gully habitat. Removal of the weed is allowing natural regeneration of indigenous grasses, ferns and vines.

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Removing Fishbone Fern is a time consuming job so the support of a team from Conservation Volunteers Australia (CVA) was a major boost for the project.

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White-banded Plane -25 Apr 2015

Common or Varied Eggfly Hypolimnas bolina

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It is a particular pleasure to welcome Griffith Mates back as they always have a great interest in our local wildlife. They even insisted on walking through the forest from Mt Gravatt Campus.

So it was good to be able to show this perfect specimen of Common Aeroplane Phaedyma shepherdi butterfly posing on a Spotted Gum Corymbia citriodora.

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Squirrel Glider - 25 Apr 2015

Squirrel Glider Petaurus norfolcensis

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We finished the morning by checking the nest-boxes introducing our visitors to some of our cutest wildlife.

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Magnified Native Cherry

“That is a tiny flower.” Photo: Herman Kai

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And Australia’s smallest flower on Native Cherry Exocarpos cupressiformis. Looking for flowering bushfood trees is difficult when you need to carry a magnifying glass.

Exocarpos cupressiformis - flower - 28 April 2015 - Alan Moore - low res

Native Cherry Exocarpos cupressiformis beside pin head

By: Michael Fox

Want to know about macro-photography learn from Alan Moore at our 2015 Photography Workshop.

Exocarpos cupressiformis - fruit - 25 April 2015 - Alan Moore - low res

Native Cherry fruit

Alan helps with our research of local flora and fauna, however, I think this has been the most challenging assignment yet.

Just finding suitable flowers to photograph on the Native Cherry Exocarpos cupressiformis required the use of a magnifying glass.

Smaller than a pin head this surely has to be Australia’s smallest flower. Now the challenge is the find how these tiny flowers are pollinated so they create tasty bushfood  fruit.

Exocarpos cupressiformis - close - 22 Nov 2014

Bushfood – Native Cherry Exocarpos cupressiformis

By: Michael Fox

Australia is famous for its loud brightly coloured parrots … read Tim Low’s “Where song began” or visit any park when the eucalyptus are flowering.

Our flowers however, with some notable exceptions, have a reputation for being understated or inconspicuous.

Native Cherry Exocarpos cupressiformis is an excellent example of inconspicuous. The orange or red fruit are quite noticeable but the flowers are the tiny buds smaller than the stems they grow on.

Native Cherry - flower - 13 Apr 2015

Tiny flower of Native Cherry

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The flowers are so tiny I had to use an olloclip macro attachment on my iPhone 6 to get close.

 

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