Glossy Black Cockatoo Feed Tree Project
LUCI has identified the Glossy Black Cockatoo (GBC) as a target species for conservation management in the Lockyer Uplands landscape. Listed as a vulnerable species in Queensland and New South Wales, LUCI’s ongoing GBC survey work has established that GBCs regularly feed in our local landscape on, predominantly, Allocasuarina torulosa and littoralis.
LUCI is mentored in its GBC project by Dr Guy Castley, Griffith University’s School of Environmental Futures Research Institute and a Board member of the Glossy Black Conservancy. The project is supported by the Lockyer Valley Regional Council Community Environment Grants program.
The GBC surveying work in the Lockyer Uplands began in 2015 and established evidence of GBCs feeding in the landscape on ten sites across the twenty-one participating properties. The project collected preliminary information on GBC feed trees (Allocasuarina species) and GBC habitat features (e.g. water sources and tree hollows) on the properties.
The surveying project moved into a second phase in 2017 and is a five year project focusing on questions relating to the phenology of GBC feed trees and usage of feed trees. Surveying is undertaken on a six-monthly basis on six private properties and a local conservation park and involves monitoring feed tree variables such as size, sex, flower/pollen and cone density as well as the presence of orts (cone chewings which are evidence of GBC feeding). The project will provide information relating to a number of questions such as when are different Allocasuarina species fruiting, what are the cone ripening time frames, which trees are being used from one year to the next and how is age related to desirability of the seed? The project has passed the half-way mark and while final analysis of data is a way off, it is exciting to see over 400 ort sites recorded since 2017 from the sample of tagged trees (approximately 672 trees) and over 30 random sightings of GBCs across the participating properties.
For more information on GBCs visit Atlas of Living Australia, or the Glossy Black Conservancy and submit your sightings. LUCI members also participate in the Glossy Black Conservancy’s Annual Birding Day.
A number of LUCI members have reported sightings of koalas on their properties or in the local landscape. In 2018, LUCI began a program of koala scat walks on members’ properties, collecting and logging specimens for verification by an ecologist and registration with WildNet.
LUCI’s plan is to build on random sighting and scat records and undertake a landscape-wide approach to monitoring and managing koala numbers and habitat through survey work on participating landholders’ properties. At this stage, LUCI is pursuing options for collaborating with researchers who can assist in undertaking the substantial surveying task. Meanwhile, LUCI has engaged with UQ Gatton Wildlife Science students inviting them to join in koala scat hunts.
Friends of Dwyers scrub project
A number of LUCI members are registered as volunteers with Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service to undertake weed mapping and management activities in Dwyers Scrub Conservation Park. The project commenced in October 2015 and, to date, the priority has been the control of an infestation of Cat’s Claw vine (Dolichandra unguis-cati) in the Semi-evergreen vine thicket (SEVT) section of the park.
According to the Park management plan, the SEVT areas make up about 40ha of the 259ha in the Park and contain around two-thirds of all the native plant species recorded in the Park including threatened vine and orchid species. SEVT also provides habitat for a range of bird and animal species, some listed as endangered.
Native Grasses and Grassy Habitats of the Lockyer Valley
Native grasses and grassy habitats provide food, shelter and nest sites for a range of native birds and animals some of which are listed as threatened. Commencing in April 2020, this project seeks to improve awareness of the value of native grasslands and encourage landholders to conserve/restore patches of native grassland and grassy habitats on their property. The project is supported by the Lockyer Valley Regional Council Community Environment Grants program.
The project involves two workshops conducted by Dr Darren fielder (Red Leaf Environmental). The first workshop introduced participants to the botanical elements and identification of native grass species, their ecological function and assessment of condition of grasslands. We are now preparing to undertake the next three components of the project:
- A six-month citizen science project monitoring diversity of native grass species in a study quadrat on our properties;
- Individuals develop their own herbarium featuring pressed native grass species with location information; and
- Development of a field ID booklet for native grasses to enable identification of a number of species found in the local and surrounding regions.
In six months time (either late March/early April), we will hold a second workshop with Dr Darren Fielder at which the results and/or progress of the citizen science project, herbaria and field ID booklet will be collated.
Conservation of Semi-evergreen vine thicket: habitat of the threatened Black-breasted Button-quail
LUCI received a grant from Healthy Land and Water through the National Landcare program to protect over 50 hectares of SEVT, which is listed as endangered in Queensland. The project involved the installation of more than two kilometers of fencing to protect SEVT on two properties, which adjoin Dwyers Scrub Conservation Park. The fencing aims to reduce the impacts of grazing on remnant vegetation.
The project also included a three phase release of a bio-control measure (leaf mining jewel beetle Hylaeogena jureceki) to combat an invasion of Cat’s Claw vine (Dolichandra unguis-cati) in a tract of SEVT on a third property in the area. It is intended that the health of the SEVT areas covered by this project will be monitored over the longer term.
According to the Dwyers Scrub management plan, SEVT once covered up to 20 percent of the Lockyer Valley and, now, is protected only in two areas in the Lockyer Valley, Dwyers Scrub and Flagstone Creek Conservation Parks.
Special Interest Walks
LUCI holds three early morning walks a year on members’ properties or local protected areas. The Autumn, Winter and Spring walks are themed and led by topic experts, for example, bird walks, native flora walks and dry rainforest walks. Shared morning teas at the end are a perfect way to discuss what we have seen and generally catch up with like-minded others.
Guest speaker breakfasts
An annual event that combines a hearty breakfast with an informative talk from quality guest speakers on topics ranging from The World of Insect Interaction, feral animal research and control strategies to a citizen’s audit of the state of natural resource management in outback Queensland.
National Threatened Species Day 7th September, 2021: What can I do?
We plan to hold our annual event to raise awareness of threatened species in the Lockyer with an information stall, children’s activities and native plant prizes to be won. We will keep you posted as planning gets underway.
Meanwhile…we can be doing something now…learn about the significant native flora and fauna that we do have in our region, understand the habitat needs of threatened fauna and, importantly, care for a patch of native habitat wherever you can…every bit of native vegetation becomes a stepping stone in creating a patchwork of habitats which can connect to form a corridor for native animal movement. Better still…join LUCI and work with us on connecting landholders and the landscape!