Nov 17, 2011

Updated bird list

This bird list of Franke Scrub and the road reserve has been compiled by Lesley.

Bee-eater, Rainbow

Boobook, Southern

Butcherbird, Grey

Butcherbird, Pied

Cisticola, Golden-headed

Crow, Torresian

Cuckoo, Channel-billed

Cuckoo-shrike, Black-faced

Cuckoo-shrike, Ground

Currawong, Pied


Dove, Bar-shouldered

Dove, Spotted

Duck, Pacific Black

Duck, Wood or Maned

Fairy-wren, Superb

Fantail, Grey

Fantail, Rufous


Finch, Double-barred

Finch, Zebra

Friarbird, Noisy


Gerygone, White-throated

Grebe, Australasian

Heron, White-faced

Honeyeater, Brown

Honeyeater, Lewin’s

Honeyeater, Scarlet

Honeyeater, Striped

Ibis, Australian White

Ibis, Straw-necked

Kestrel, Nankeen

Kingfisher, Sacred

Kookaburra, Laughing

Lapwing, Masked

Lorikeet, Little

Lorikeet, Rainbow

Magpie, Australian



Myna, Common

Pardalote, Striated

Pigeon, Crested

Robin, Rose

Rosella, Pale-headed

Scrubwren, White-browed


Sparrow, House

Thornbill, Brown

Thornbill, Striated

Thornbill, Yellow

Thornbill, Yellow-rumped


Willie Wagtail

Whistler, Golden

Whistler, Rufous

Whistler sp.

Nov 16, 2011

A morning visit

The first delight of the morning was the sighting of a pair of Buff-banded Rail and their fluffy black chick at the first dam on Franke Road. Not Franke Scrub itself, I know, but it’s still lovely to see such a wary bird. As we parked the car we were greeted by Yellow-rumped Thornbills twittering in the shrubs beside the Leopard Ash. They sounded so happy as they foraged for insects.

The White-browed Scrubwrens were the bird of the morning. They seemed to follow me as I wandered through the patch, hopping about on the ground in front of me. Then they would make their chittering racket as they flew from one bush to another. In fact it was quite noisy this morning with the Dollarbirds cackling, a Willie Wagtail and a Rufous Fantail tinkling, and a Rufous Whistler whistling her heart out, glad it was such a bright day.

There were plenty of butterflies about and I think I would have seen about 8-9 different species although I can only identify 6; Common Aeroplane Phaedyma shepherdi, Yellow-spotted Jezebel Delias nysa, Orchard Swallowtail Papilio aegus, Cabbage White Pieris rapae, Caper White Belenois java, Wanderer Danaus plexippus.

an unidentified butterfly

thanks to Lesley for this.

Nov 12, 2011

Open Day at Crows Nest Nursery

The Council nursery at Crows Nest is having an Open Day on Saturday 3rd December from 8 am until 1 pm. It is in Depot Road in the Crows Nest Industrial Estate on the right as you approach from Toowoomba.
This is a great opportunity to obtain good local native plants for your garden at a very reasonable price.
If you are interested in propagating plants, you can also volunteer there on Thursday mornings.
For more information on growing local native plants in your garden, see Toowoomba Plants blog which is regularly updated.

Nov 7, 2011

Peacehaven Botanic Park

We work closely with Peacehaven Botanic Park which is just up the hill from us.
Many of us are friends of both.
Franke Scrub shows our local vegetation in its natural state while Peacehaven is a collection of labelled plants arranged to inform us as well as being a pleasant park to visit.
Peacehaven has a small nursery where local native plants are available at modest prices. It is open Thursday and Saturday mornings.
Peacehaven now has a blog site which features the native plumbago found in our scrub.

Sep 29, 2011

Well spotted

While looking for our new mistletoe yesterday, we found some large asparagus vines which had either been missed in the past or had grown very rapidly. Small ones are continuing to germinate and elongate towards the canopy.
We also found another small patch of cats claw creeper, so we will need to remain vigilant and regular with our weeding.
If you are not keen on weeding, we could do with a spotter!
In fact we did not manage to locate our new mistletoe so we will need to return soon.

Sep 14, 2011

A New Plant in our Scrub

A new plant has been found in Franke Scrub.

It is a tiny little mistletoe called Korthalsella japonica forma rubra. You can see why it is known as "zygocactus mistletoe".

This mistletoe grows on a number of different dry rainforest plant species, and in our case it's growing on a Yellow Condoo tree, Pouteria cotinifolia.

Korthalsella species (of which there are probably two on the Downs) are the only known host plants for the Yellow-spotted Jezebel butterfly. We have seen this butterfly in Franke Scrub. You wouldn't imagine that such a small plant could host very many caterpillars, but it must be doing the trick! Our little jezebel population may be a thing of our very own, possibly isolated from any other likely source of host plants, now that clearing has reduced our local evergreen vine thickets to such small remnant pieces.

Aug 24, 2011

Mistletoe Regrowth

Amyema lucasii
We were distressed to find, last summer, that some person unknown had been ripping the Lucas Mistletoe off our beautiful Leopard Ash tree. Various theories were propounded: that it was an piece of ordinary mindless vandalism; that it was the act of a “do-gooder” who believed that he or she was actually helping the tree; and that it was a case of theft by some greedy person who wanted the wood for wood-turning, and saw no reason not to steal public property.
Whatever the cause, it left a large branch looking bare and ugly, as it has no other leaf growth than that of mistletoes.

So it’s a relief to see it regrowing. We can expect the mistletoe to behave like any other plant after a severe pruning. It may miss flowering this season, but will be refreshed and look more beautiful than ever.

It has also been rather interesting to discover that the branch itself is still alive, despite the absence of any of its own leaves.
Meanwhile, the rest of the tree is demonstrating the ability that trees have, of killing off mistletoes when under stress. You will notice that it is carrying quite a few dead mistletoes. They were probably been killed off as the tree closed down the water supply to its smaller branches, something that all drought-hardy trees can do whenever they are stressed for lack of water.
I may be wrong, though. Mistletoes have a short life-span compared to that of trees like this one, and they may simply have reached their use-by date.
We have been noticing that this tree carried a rather heavy load of mistletoes, and wondering whether they were stressing the tree during the long drought. It seems we don’t have to worry, as Nature has taken care of the problem. We will probably see renewed vigour in the canopy as a result, and may be able to look forward to a beautiful flowering season this October.
Trish Gardner

Aug 1, 2011

National Tree Day

We had a great day on Sunday at Peacehaven's National Tree Day Celebrations. Peter Bright and Gary Alcorn did the lion's share of the setting up, and Gary and I spent all morning on the stall, talking to interested people.

Gary got more pamphlets printed up for us. We were so busy that it was difficult to grab a chance to look at the other displays. They were an interesting lot, and included including a dozen or so animals (echidnas, blue-tongue lizard, wallabies, and a sugar glider) from Trish Leehong's animal refuge.

We were joined for a while by Dougal Johnston, and you may see a photo of the three of us, in the Highfields Herald, holding an appalling cats claw root (not one of ours) which Steve Plant brought along for us to show off to the public.

Peter Hardwicke, editor of the Chronicle, was there, and says he will send someone out to one of our working bees to do a story on the scrub.

Kym Campbell, from Toowoomba Landcare, asked me whether we would be interested in having some trainee volunteers to work there. It sounded like a good idea, so we may get a bit of help from them.

We also had a good talk to Kerry Shine, who was particularly interested in the scrub's value as part of our social history (representing the original vegetation type cleared by the early settlers in Toowoomba and Highfields). He asked whether we had told the Toowoomba Historical Society about it - we have passed this message on.

Several people showed an interest in joining our working bees, and have been added to our emailing list. We look forward to seeing you on the last Wednesday in August!

Trish Gardner.

Jul 30, 2011

Our new sign

Our new sign is now up. We had a good turn out for our July working bee and the place is looking well. With some funds available, we plan to add more signs around the place.

Jun 29, 2011

Winter in the scrub

Winter is a nice time of year to visit the scrub. Beneath the canopy you are sheltered from wind and rain and you know you are not alone, with birds and no doubt other inhabitants also enjoying it.
Four of us came this morning to weed. We are still removing cats claw from one corner and some asparagus vine continues to germinate. We hope we can keep up and we are being assisted by many interesting small plants which have been waiting their opportunity.
Consider joining us on the last Wednesday in July when we next meet.

Jun 13, 2011

Rosenthal Scrub at Warwick

Another patch of remnant vegetation is being protected from urban development at Warwick. Much of the Warwick area was once covered by this ecosystem, but now less than 10% remains. The 7 hectare reserve in South West Warwick is accessed via Schoch Rd, Everest Rd and West View Road. Contact SGAP Warwick or Landcare Warwick, or just go for a stroll.
It will be interesting to compare plant lists to see what species we have in common.
Flindersia collina [our smoko tree] at Rosenthal scrub.

Jun 12, 2011

Weeds and introduced plants

Araujia sericifolia Moth vine

Asparagus africanus Climbing Asparagus

Bidens pilosa Cobbler’s Peg

Chloris gayana Rhodes Grass

Lantana camara Lantana

Ligustrum lucidum Privet

Lycium ferocissimum African Boxthorn

Macfadyena unguis-cati Cats Claw Creeper

Opuntia tomentosa Velvet Tree Pear

Oxalis corniculata Creeping Wood-sorrel

Panicum maximum var. trichoglume Green Panic

Solanum americanum Glossy Nightshade

Solanum seaforthianum Brazilian Nightshade

Tagetes minuta Stinking Roger

Verbena tenuisecta Mayne’s Pest

Verbena rigida Stiff Verbena


Amyema lucasii Lucas’s Mistletoe

Amyema congener Variable Mistletoe

Viscum articulatum Jointed Mistletoe

Native understory plants

Abutilon oxycarpum Abutilon

Ajuga australis Bugle

Commelina diffusa Wandering Sailor

Dichondra repens Kidney Plant

Einadia nutans Nodding Saltbush

Geranium solanderi Native geranium

Glycine sp Glycine

Hydrocotyle sp. Pennywort

Lobelia purpurescens Whiteroot

Nyssanthes diffusa Barbed Wire Plant

Pimelia sp Pimelia

Plumbago zeylanica Native Plumbago

Plectranthus parvifolius Spur Flower

Pseuderanthemum variabile Love Flower

Sida subspicata Sida

Solanum stelligerum Star Nightshade

Solanum mitchellianum Mitchell’s nightshade

Tetragonia tetragonioides Warrigal greens

Urtica incisa Native Nettle

Wahlenbergia sp. Native Bluebell

Native grasses

Austrostipa verticillata Bamboo Grass

Austrostipa ramosissima Stout Bamboo Grass

Microlaena sp. Weeping Rice Grass

Oplismenus aemulus Wavy Shade-grass

Native Ferns

Asplenium australasicum Birds Nest Fern

Cheilanthes sieberi Resurrection fern

Pyrrosia rupestris Felt Fern

Pyrrosia confluens Robber Fern

Native climbers

Capparis sarmentosa Scrambling Caper

Cayratia clematidea Slender Water Vine

Celastrus subspicata Staff Vine

Clematis fawcettii Fawcett’s Clematis

Eustrephus latifolius Wombat Berry

Geitonoplesium cymosum Scrambling Lily

Jasminum didymum subsp. racemosum Slender Jasmine

Jasminum simplicifolium subsp. australiense Stiff Jasmine

Jasminum suavissimum Sweet Jasmine

Pandorea jasminoides Bower Vine

Pandorea pandorana Wonga Vine

Parsonsia leichhardtii Lobed silkpod

Smilax australis Barbed Wire Vine

Trophis scandens Burney vine

Native shrubs

Acalypha capillipes Spiny acalypha

Alyxia ruscifolia Chain Fruit

Breynia oblongifolia Breynia

Bursaria spinosa Bursaria

Carissa ovata Kunkerberry

Cassinia laevis Cough Bush

Clerodendrum floribundum Hairy Lolly Bush

Eremophila debilis Devil’s Marbles

Erythroxylum sp. Splityard Creek Redwood Bush

Everistia vaccinifolia Small-leafed Canthium

Maireana microphylla Scrub Saltbush

Maireana microphylla Scrub Saltbush

Maytenus bilocularis Hedge Orange-bark

Pittosporum viscidum Black-fruited Orange-thorn

Pittosporum angustifolium Meemeei

Spartothamnella juncea Bead Bush

Turraea pubescens Native Witch-hazel

Wikstroemia indica Bootlace Bush

Native Trees

Alectryon subdentatus Hard Birds Eye

Alectryon diversifolium Scrub Boonaree

Alectryon pubescens Hairy Boonaree

Alectryon subcinereus Native Quince

Alphitonia excelsa Soap Tree

Alstonia constricta Bitter Bark

Aphananthe philippensis Axe Handlewood

Arytera foveolata Pitted Coogera

Arytera divaricata Coogera

Atalaya salicifolia Weeping Whitewood

Auranticarpa rhombifolia Hollywood

Austromyrtus bidwillii Python Tree

Baloghia inophylla Scrub Bloodwood

Brachychiton populneus Kurrajong

Bursaria incana Sweet Bursaria

Capparis mitchellii Mitchell’s Bumble Tree

Capparis arborea Bumble Tree

Claoxylon australe Brittlewood

Croton insularis Silver Croton

Cupaniopsis parvifolia Small-leafed Tuckeroo

Denhamia pittosporoides Veiny Denhamia

Dinosperma erythrococcum Tingletongue

Drypetes australasica Yellow Tulipwood

Elaeocarpus obovatus Blueberry Quandong

Cassine australis Red Olive-plum

Elattostachys xylocarpa White Beetroot Tree

Eucalyptus moluccana Gum-topped box

Excoecaria dallachyana Blind your eye

Flindersia collina Leopard Ash

Geijera salicifolia Scrub Wilga

Maytenus disperma Orange-bark Tree

Melicope micrococca White Doughwood

Notelaea microcarpa Velvet Mock-olive

Planchonella cotinifolia Yellow Condoo

Psydrax odoratum forma buxifolium Shiny Canthium

Rapanea variabilis Muttonwood

Santalum lanceolatum Sandalwood

Siphonodon australis Ivorywood

Streblus brunonianus Whalebone Tree

Vitex lignum-vitae Satinwood

May 24, 2011

May working bee

Tomorrow is our May working bee. With the recent rain, things are growing well, including some cat's claw which was tackled at the April working bee.
Let's hope it is fine in the morning to come out and check on our scrub.

Mar 22, 2011

March meeting

Don't forget the working bee next week, Wed 30 March.
Same as usual - from 9.00am, with BYO morning tea at 11.30.
This time we might continue with the cats claw, trying to pull back
those outlying runners, so that the plant is contained within its
previous boundaries. Many of the runners are travelling quite a long
way, but haven't got roots into the soil yet, so now is a good time to
pick them up and cut them off, before they dig into new territory and
start making those pesky little tubers.
Tools for digging out shallow roots and tubers would be useful.
Don't forget gloves and secateurs, as well as something to put the weeds and tubers into as you work.

Mar 2, 2011

Cats claw

Five of our members turned up for the working bee last week, plus Steve Plant and his offsider Aaron.
Welcome to our newest member Joan Kirton. She and Euan McLean did some fruitful work on the cats claw in the corner. It is running downhill across the ground, and finding more trees to climb. Euan explained to Joan about the "Bradfield Method" (which consists of containing weeds by pushing back the frontiers rather than attacking the heartland). It was a very appropriate method, as cats claw runners were covering considerable distance, but hadn't actually put down many roots yet, so they recovered quite a bit of territory. I also had a go at the "heartland", getting it down from the trees to prevent it from flowering.
Graham and Judy Stevens found quite a few large asparagus roots. I couldn't find many, so had the satisfaction of knowing that we are definitely keeping the larger plants down.

Feb 15, 2011

February working bee

Hullo to all Franke Scrubbers, and a happy new year to you!
Our first working bee is due next week, Wednesday 23rd February. We expect to have one on the last Wednesday of every month from now until November, so now's the time to go through and make ten little notes on your 2011 calendar!
It will be at 9.00 as usual, with a break at 10.30 for morning tea and a chat.
I haven't been out there since before Christmas, so don't know what the tasks are - but expect that everything will have grown well with the rain.
We can expect some pleasant surprises from the native plants, birds, butterflies, and so on, and perhaps a larger quantity of weeds than we would like. As usual, our priority will be the prevention of seed production.
* digging and cutting tools, and gardening gloves if you use them
* something to put rubbish into
* practical clothing including protection from sun and the possibility of ticks
* morning tea and a chair
* camera if you think you might use it
I look forward to seeing you all there - together with any new scrubbers whom you can persuade to join our happy group.