THIS FILE HAS REPORTS & IMAGES FROM THROUGHOUT 2015
Dawn Road Reserve Bushcare has returned for 2016,
with our next 2-hour working bee on
Sunday, March 13, 2016, from 8am, at the end of McConachie Court.
Please come along and join our happy crew as we do
lots of important work in your neighbourhood.
*** Remember to at least wear long trousers, a long-sleeved shirt,
a broad-brimmed hat and sturdy, closed shoes. ***
Sunscreen, insect repellant, drinking and hand-washing water
as well as light refreshments will be provided.
Just a small roll-up for the final Dawn Road Reserve Bushcare working bee for 2015, but there was lots to see and do on what is shaping up as a lovely creekside area.
Importantly, we would like to thank all those volunteers who pitched in during our monthly working bees in 2015. Your work is beginning to pay off handsomely, with many invasive species minimised and healthy growth evident on native revegetation planted by you and your friends.
But as you will see from the images below, there is still a good deal of work to be done on this site to help the new plants get established and to eradicate both the invasive and non-native species (often garden escapees) from this patch.
Speaking of garden escapees, here are three that we’ve found on this site, which is only a few metres from homes. [That doesn’t mean the interlopers came from those homes because they could have easily been swept downstream during a rain event and settled there. This is why all gardeners need to be aware of plants that have the propensity to spread with little effort.]:
Syngonium podophyllum (white butterfly) is a creeping or climbing plant with arrow-headed leaves that was once widely sold in nurseries and markets around South-East Queensland. The State Government website Weeds of Australia notes this plant “is regarded as an environmental weed in Queensland, and as a potential environmental weed or “sleeper weed ” in other parts of northern and eastern Australia. It thrives in our sub-tropical climate and can creep or climb up to 10m in height, in the process scrambling over other plants. It is known to be a weed of rainforests, closed forests, open woodlands, waterways and riparian areas, roadsides, disturbed sites, waste areas and abandoned gardens in tropical and sub-tropical regions”. It also notes that this plant’s “stem segments and cuttings are commonly dispersed in dumped garden waste and woodchips. Once established, a plant will spread outwards, forming a colony, and taking root wherever its stems touch the ground. Stem segments can also be spread by mowers, slashes and floodwaters.”
While another formerly popular market- and garden centre-sold plant, Monstera deliciosa (fruit salad plant, split-leaf philodendron), is regarded as an environmental weed in New South Wales, it has also become a common sight in the riparian (creekside) areas and in urban bushlands in the warmer parts of eastern Australia, including south-east Queensland. It can scramble up to 5m or more, well up into the canopies of trees. Sadly, in the wild, it’s mostly found growing where garden waste has been dumped, but its seeds are easily spread by birds and, hence, it can become naturalised and a nuisance that smothers native plants.
Perhaps the prettiest and most delicate garden escapees we have seen in our revegetation area are these flowering hippeastrums. There are many similar varieties of this usually ornamental plant and this quite possibly is Hippeastrum puniceum (Barbados lily), which has made its way into the south-western edge of our revegetation patch. Although thought of by gardeners as a bulb, this is another plant that, once escaped from gardens, can spread by self-sown or bird-distributed seeds.
In this case, these plants have possibly come from dumped garden waste. So, if you’re cleaning up around your garden, please remember to dispose of any plant waste thoughtfully (a good option is to drop it at the MBRC’s waste disposal centres (our local one is at Bunya). Sadly, when naturalised in the wild, this species can become invasive. Note: you do have to be an MBRC resident to dispose of waste at its centres, but there is no charge. In the Brisbane City Council areas there will be a charge if you don’t have one of its tip coupons that are issued to residents.
One of the declared weeds we worked on in November was Verbena bonariensis (purple top or tall verbena). Moreton Bay Regional Council has declared this persistent weed species that originated in South America to be a nuisance that disrupts native flora communities and ecosystems. Of this pest species, Weeds of Australia notes: “Verbena bonariensis reproduces mainly by seed and self-seeds readily. The seeds may be dispersed by animals, wind, or in water including storm water in urban areas. They may also be spread in contaminated agricultural produce and farm implements. It has a long-lived seedbank.”
Of course, taming the regular weeds on this patch – such as Eugenia uniflora (Brazilian cherry), Senna pendula var. glabrata (Easter cassia) and the ubiquitous Onopordum acanthus (Scotch thistle) – is routine for our volunteers and, as the year wound up for our group, it certainly was no different in November. It’s a pleasure to see formerly overgrown areas giving life to native plants and grasses such as this Lomandra hysteria (Green mat rush). By the way, the Brazilian cherry isn’t the only South American invader on our patch. We also have Solanum seaforthianum (Brazilian nightshade) on the other side of the stream that bisects this revegetation site.
*** Please note that there will be no Bushcare working bees in December and January, due both to the stifling summer heat and the school holidays. Please join us in the early new year (Sunday, February 14), to further improve this wonderful revegetation patch.
When it comes to a successful Bushcare working bee, the saying “many hands make light work” couldn’t be any truer. October’s Dawn Road Reserve Bushcare group had the assistance of three Albany Hills State School family groups plus a ‘hands-on’ visit from one of the candidates in the next local council elections, Elizabeth Dalleston.
In no time at all the busy crew had 20 new plants positioned on the embankment at the southern end of the site, complete with protective Corflute barriers to stop inquisitive, hungry wallabies from nibbling on the tender leaves of the young plants. The covers will come off once the plants are well established.
But the most impressive part was how enthusiastic and involved all the Albany Hills State School students were. They dug and planted, tamped and covered, watered and then had fun with a few special activities after the main planting was finished.
What a busy month we’ve had! For those of you who visited the Albany Hills State School fete, you may have seen our display up on the carpark level just off Keong Road.
And a big thanks to Gary, Michael and Charlie who helped Janet, Alison and Trina set up the display on the day.
If you went to the fete, did you get to see the fascinating native bees that had set up home in a new hive just a week earlier? Amazing how much hive they’d built in just a week. A big thanks to our patron, Janet Mangan, for bringing along her new hive and explaining how to keep the bees going over the hot summer months. Janet also prepared a poster explaining how deadly one plant, the common African tulip tree (Spathodea campanulata) can be for native bees.
This plant is a Class 3 declared pest and, apart from the harm is does to native bees, the Queensland’s Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry explains on its website that “African tulip trees are becoming problematic in South East Queensland as environmental weeds (garden escapees), and as a public safety hazard (when these trees are planted along footpaths, their dropped flowers can create a slippery walking surface). The tree will reproduce via seeds and suckers and is very capable of spreading from a single planting. Areas most at risk include gullies, areas of vegetation around waterways and disturbed rainforest. Removal of African tulip trees is highly recommended, particularly when they are in close proximity to natural vegetation or waterways.”
Then the very next day after the fete, we had our regular working bee on our revegetation site, which is coming along nicely.
For those of you following the progress of our special project – one that has involved several families from the Albany Hills State School – here’s a pictorial update on our progress:
But perhaps the best indicator for volunteers is recognising the remarkable growth of native species they have planted over the past nine months. To give you some idea of the growth being experienced, this poison peach tree (Trema tormentosa) was planted as a seedling less than knee high just over six months ago. By early September, it was almost as tall as our patron, Janet Mangan.
Despite the brisk start to our August 9 working bee, Dawn Road Reserve Bushcare volunteers were happy to continue work on our special revegetation site as the morning warmed up.
This month we had two very eager and very focused Albany Hills State School students helping out, one of them from Prep! Their parents came along for the day and were a great help in the weeding and remaining mulch-spreading tasks at our revegetation site under the powerlines at the end of McConachie Court (and at the end of Jullyann St).
And how good is the site looking? Well judge for yourself. We’ve come a long way since the beginning of the year and we’ve plans to apply for another grant soon to do a further portion of the riparian zone beside the stream (which has dried up in spots right now but will be back flowing as soon as it rains).
This month we worked on some important weeding of the main revegetation site and then some mulching further to the south. You’ll notice that a barrier of trimmings edges the main site (this is our mowing edge so that the council contractors don’t accidentally damage the tender young plants such as the broad-leaved paperbark (Melaleuca quinquenervia). A bit further to the south of the main site, we’ve been spreading mulch and that does the same job.
In between the two areas you can see a wonderful red bottlebrush (Callistemon viminalis) in full bloom
Many hands made light work of spreading around half our mulch heap along the southern stretch of our revegetation site to give new plants a chance to establish. We even had a special visitor helping us, Christian Perrin from Wild BNE. After the hard work was done, the volunteers enjoyed a short walk into the reserve to spot plantlife, birdlife and wildlife.
May & June
There were plenty of new things to see and do when the Dawn Road Reserve Bushcare volunteers gathered under the powerlines at the end of McConachie Court on Sunday, May 10.
The site – which was replanted earlier this year – has come along well, with many of the grasses, young plants and saplings holding tight, despite a few heavy showers since they were introduced to the zone. Many have established themselves well and are growing happily.
There had been quite a bit of weed growth, too, in between the new plantings where the ground had previously been cleared, but this was not unexpected. So the team pitched in and cleared much of that away while the younger members of the crew were given a special treat.
Our local Bushcare mentor, Janet Mangan, and Moreton Bay Regional Council’s Bushcare officer, Nicole Byrne, organised the collection of a variety of aquatic macroinvertebrates samples with the eager assistance of young students from Albany Hills State School and their parents.
This saw buckets, nets and even transparent plastic cups used to skim and inspect small quantities of stream water for tiny creatures, noting the variety present – the greater the variety, the healthier our waterway.
While volunteers became engrossed in the task of peering into buckets and drawing out cupfuls of stream water to inspect, a fine net was also used to skim the top of the stream, producing even more samples of insects and invertebrates that dwell on or just under the water’s surface.
Our delighted student and adult volunteers, helped by Janet and Nicole, used special sheets to help identify a decent array of tiny invertebrates, including Mayfly nymphs (Ephemeroptera), dragonfly nymphs, damselfly nymphs (Odonata), Stonefly nymphs (Plecoptera), freshwater shrimp (Paratya australiensis or glass shrimp), segmented worms (Polychaetes), freshwater snails (Gastropoda) and copepods (Copepoda).
The children who attended also had a sapling tagged with their own names so they can come back in the months and years to come to see its progress.
They also got to see plenty of funghi, deposited and growing after recent flooding rains. But the biggest mystery of the day was the discovery of an almost perfect semi-circle of unusual funghi, possibly deposited after recent flooding rains. At first someone suggested it had been left by aliens, but upon closer inspection, it was seen to be not limited to the circular deposit, with small growths evident around the base of a nearby tree.
While the May 10 was gathering was especially fascinating and well attended, the damp weather in June saw a few hearty souls pressed on regardless at another of the Dawn Road Reserve Bushcare’s regular sites on the southern side of the reserve (behind Huntingdale Court). In July, on Sunday the 12th, we’ll be back at the original new planting site at the end of McConachie Crt.
However, as you can read elsewhere on this website, in between the two regular working bees, a very successful bird survey was conducted by Janet, Nicole and a few last-minute volunteers. They were rewarded with a rare and very special sighting, too.
What a great roll up we had on Sunday, April 12, with 15 eager volunteers – including 4 students from years 1, 3 and 4 at Albany Hills State School – as we worked on more planting as well as some weeding along the streamside where we’ve met for the past few Bushcare working bees.
The four students even got to plant their own tree, with one of them a special eucalypt tree that was planted in line with others already established on the site.
Thanks to demonstrations by Dawn Road Reserve Bushcare’s Janet Mangan, each student was involved in taking great care in preparing the ground for planting, sprinkling fertiliser, repacking soil around their young plant, tamping it down and ensuring stakes were positioned to take protective netting.
And the students added to our found objects collection with several stray golf balls and some excellent specimens of native snail shells, finds which caused much excitement.
Both the 11 adults and 4 children played important roles throughout the day, beginning with Bushcare’s Janet Mangan and Moreton Bay Regional Council Bushcare Officer Nicole Byrne scoping the site to see what regrowth had happened since our March working bee.
Everyone was delighted to see most of the earlier plantings from February and March faring particularly well but all were quite surprised at the rate of renewed weed regrowth, especially that of Easter cassia (Senna pendula var. glabrata), Cockspur coral tree (Erythrina crista-galli), the Broad-leafed pepper tree (Schinus terebinthifolius) and the Brazilian nightshade (Solanum seaforthianum).
Of course the Easter cassia was in full bloom.
So it was down to work to trim back some (to expose stumps for later poisoning) and pull other weeds to give the new plants some space. What started as a slightly overgrown space ended up considerably tidier thanks to the work of our happy band of volunteers.
But the biggest buzz for those of the volunteers who are keen on wildlife in the Dawn Road Reserve was the sound of several native frogs – most likely striped marsh frogs (Limnodynastes peroni) – in and around one of the waterway traps at the northern end of our site. [If you click on the link, you can hear their sound on the frogs.org.au web page.]
Don’t worry if you missed out this month because we will begin on this same site next month, on Sunday, May 10 (Mother’s Day) before we move on to a new site a bit further into the Reserve.
In the meantime, keep an eye out for all the native birds, animals and plants in our neighbourhood. If you’re not sure about one of them, try to take a picture and bring it with you for identification.
It is just one month since the initial working bee at the eastern end of McConachie Court, Albany Creek, and the handiwork of the Dawn Road Reserve Bushcare group and neighbourhood volunteers is already paying off, with the site already attracting beneficial insects and other wildlife as well as allowing native plant species to flourish where once there was too much competition from invasive pest species.
So the Dawn Road Reserve Bushcare group held its second working bee on this special regeneration site on Sunday, March 15, planting dozens of plants purchased through a special grant from the Moreton Bay Regional Council.
It was evident that the work done in February’s working bee was faring well on the western bank of the stream, so this time the volunteers planted suitable replacement plants on the eastern side of the waterway.
Again it was great to see the Albany Hills State School represented by one of its Year 3 students, who enjoyed building a very long pot snake from the plastic containers that had housed the plants being carefully positioned during the working bee.
But, with 700 plants to position, the Dawn Road Reserve Bushcare group is always looking for willing helpers.
If you would like to join us next month, the working bee will convene at 8am at the end of McConachie Court on Sunday, April 12 (the weekend after Easter) for further restoration activities. [LOYAL READERS, PLEASE NOTE CHANGE OF DATE. SEE ABOVE FOR DETAILS.]
Just remember to wear long trousers, a long-sleeved shirt as well as sturdy, closed shoes. And don’t forget to bring a broad-brimmed hat! Sunscreen, insect repellant, drinking and hand-washing water as well as light refreshments will be provided.
Listen to a brief interview (on SoundCloud) with the Dawn Road Reserve Bushcare group’s Janet Mangan, who explains how this latest regeneration project came about. (2mins30sec)