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Birds Australia North Queensland

Pied Imperial-Pigeon logo of BANQ

Pied Imperial-Pigeon Count 2009

For this our 3rd annual survey, we had early concerns we were in for a wet survey, but as luck has it, the rain cleared before we headed out to our sites. This year a Swedish couple, who had discovered the event on the internet, joined us, which made numbers up to 18. We surveyed at South Mission Beach, Wongaling Beach, Clump Point, Bingal Bay and Garners Beach. Pigeons were counted as they left the coast 100-200m from the count site and the number and direction they headed were recorded.

South Mission

Wongaling

Clump Point

Bingal Bay

Garners Beach

Totals

2007

506

49

76

-

464

1,095

2008

198

24

205

746

1154

2,327

2009

1,472

503

32

95

2238

4,340

This year we saw more birds than in the first 2 years combined. Also as you can see from the summary table above, Garners Beach had almost half the total for all sites. The next most numerous site was at the southern end of South Mission Beach. Counts started at 4 pm and generally ended at 6 pm. The total count for the evening was 4,340 Pied Imperial-Pigeons heading out to an island to roost for the night.

Photo PIP counters at Wongaling Beach

The Counting Team at Wongaling Beach

Lists were also kept for all other birds seen at the count sites and this year, one team recorded a couple of Beach Stone-Curlew. Our modest total of 28 species shows that the intensity required to count PIPs doesn’t allow for other activities.

Most of the group assembled for a celebratory dinner at the resort at Wongaling Beach, where we enjoyed a couple of hours socializing over dinner.

On Sunday morning, a dedicatedgroup of 8 people assembled at the Lacey Creek car park for a walk to the south along the track for an hour before returning to the cars. We didn’t see a Cassowary, but there was plenty of scat evidence. The highlight was seeing a very quiet 3m Amethystine Python draped in the undergrowth about 2m from the track.

Thanks to Trish Pontynen for taking over the organization and leadership of this years count – well done Trish. Also thanks to everyone who attended and helped to make this weekend a success.

Ivor Preston.

Photo of flock of Pied Imperial-Pigeons

A Flock of Pied Imperial-Pigeons heads off from Wongaling Beach towards the Family Islands

Photos courtesy Ian Montgomery, Birdway