Despite continuous letter writing from scientists, naturalists and locals there are still plans to burn 50 per cent of this forested area of Cape Liptrap Park which will diminish the lyrebird population or see it lost.
Once extensive, this bush is now isolated and they and have nowhere else to go.
Last year the Friends of the Sherbrooke Forest came to show a group of locals how to count Lyrebirds between Waratah and Walkerville.
They were amazed at the variety and abundance of ferns rivalling those in Sherbrooke.
They also informed us of research into the role of Lyrebirds in reducing fire fuels by tonnes each annually, since published.
Lyrebirds do this with their continuous scratching, ‘composting’ dead leaf litter and small twigs to find and attract the insects on which they feed. The older the bush the better it is.
More than 20 different locals went out into the bush at dawn last winter over two weekends to record the direction and timing of the male birds calling from which the count was made.
We counted approximately 50 Lyrebirds, including females and juveniles, in 850 hectares between Waratah and Walkerville.
Local Landcare volunteers have spent years creating corridors to enable lyrebirds from this isolated population to eventually be reconnected to others in the Strzeleckis, so we can maintain their population.
This letter is to request that these planned burns for this autumn be suspended for long enough to better establish the range and numbers of these birds and their role in fuel reduction.
We are told by DELWP (DEPI) fires will come from pasture country in the north on a few hot days of northerlies annually – though not likely at all this year; noting that it hasn’t burnt for the past 70 years on its own.
By redirecting a portion of the funds for burning, estimated at over $100,000 for 48 hectares burned last year, to local CFAs they’d be better able to respond to fires rapidly.
Such a pause in planned burns for this and other research into fuel load management would better inform both the local community and Parks Victoria about how best to manage this area.
If people want help get these fires delayed they can write to the Minister for Environment etc. Lisa Neville c/- Parliament House, Melbourne, 3000 and if they want to be involved in the annual lyrebird count they can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 0467 447 710.
Tim Farrell, Fish Creek.
Waratah Bay Lyrebirds at risk