Birds Australia North Queensland

Pied Imperial-Pigeon logo of BANQ

2007 Pied-Imperial Pigeon Survey at Mission Beach

By Jo Wieneke

We were extremely fortunate in having perfect weather on 10 November for the survey. An American visitor staying at the caravan park at Wongaling made numbers up to 16, so we were able to survey with 4 people at each site: South Mission Beach, Wongaling Beach, Clump Point and Garners Beach. Pigeons were counted as they left the coast 100-200m from the count site and the number and direction in which they headed were recorded.

South Mission

Wongaling

Clump Point

Garners Beach

Totals

Totals by Direction

N

E

S

0

7

499

N

E

S

29

20

0

N

E

S

63

9

4

N

E

S

457

0

7

N

E

S

549

36

510

Site Totals

506

49

76

464

1,095

As can been seen in the above chart, birds from Sth Mission headed southwards. From his compass reading Greg Bortolussi checked a map and showed that most of the birds were heading towards Timana Is. All birds from Garners Beach headed north towards the Barnards. Clump Point and Wongaling recorded far fewer birds but the majority of them were heading north.

The Wongaling Beach team letting no Pied Imperial-Pigeon escape undetected.

From left to right: Jim Allen, Jo Wieneke, Lesley Stewart and Terry Heidenreich.

As the Wongaling team had so few to count they also counted the ones they could see far out, that they had not observed crossing the coastline. Of these 41 were heading south, 11 north and 1 east. The ones heading south flew past Dunk Is and were lost to view heading for the Family Is. Harry Cassidy, a former resident of Mission Beach, said that he had noticed that birds did not fly to Dunk.

Lists were also kept for all other birds seen at the count sites. Prize for the most amazing sighting goes to the Clump Point team who had excellent views of a Great-billed Heron -a new bird for three of them.

A Pied Imperial-Pigeon, crop full, heads off to the Barnard Islands over Garners Beach.

Photo Courtesy Ian Montgomery, Birdway»

Counts ended when no birds had been recorded for 15minutes and we returned to the Caravan Park enjoyed a buffet meal at the local hotel that evening. This year's survey was very much a try out and we discussed changes that could be made when we repeat the count next year.

Sunday morning brought rain but did not deter most of the group from a morning walk at Licuala Forest Park before hading home. Unfortunately the Cassowary eluded us but made a later appearance with chick for Ian Montgomery and his camera.

Thanks to everyone who helped, to John Winter for suggesting the exercise and to QPWS for providing the count sheets. I had vastly over-estimated the number that we would need but they will be used for the Brook Is counts.

A father Southern Cassowary has trouble persuading a reluctant chick to cross the path at Licuala Forest Park.

Photo Courtesy Ian Montgomery, Birdway»