The latest Birdlife NQ count of PIPs/TIPs flying out from the mainland in the Mission Beach area was conducted on 21 November 2015 with wonderful help from 20 volunteers.
For the four long-term sites, the grand total was 3,736. This is the highest total since 2009, a most welcome result. Of concern, there was possibly some overlap in sightings (see below).
Site totals were: Garners Beach 1122, Bingil Bay 742, Wongaling 468, South Mission Beach 1404.
Special thanks to three energetic volunteers who travelled the extra distance to count at Kurramine. This site, a more recent addition to the count program, was missed last year due to insufficient participants.
The Kurramine team reported a total of 1325 birds flying SE (potentially toward the Brook Islands) but some of these birds were thought to have crossed the coast further north. Thus the latest Kurramine total is not directly comparable with prior counts of birds observed to fly out across the coast.
The Kurramine counters also recorded an additional 3015 birds, all flying well out over the sea (not crossing the coast) and heading northwards, a remarkable observation.
The Community for Coastal and Cassowary Conservation (C4) group very kindly allowed us to use their conference room at Mission Beach for a meeting before the count. We began with a screening of the new documentary film “Coming of the White Birds” that was enjoyed by additional visitors as well as count volunteers. The movie was followed by interesting discussions and suggestions for future improvements in communicating with new counters.
Another need for improvement is in the definition of site boundaries, to avoid possible double counting that could occur if the same birds were seen concurrently from two adjacent sites, in cases where both sites have keen-sighted observers and binocular users. It seems this could possibly occur between South Mission Beach and Wongaling, and between Garners and Kurramine. We aim to clarify between-site boundaries for next year.
I’m sorry we have no pictures for this report as yet. However, two kind photographers have offered to send contributions. I will add photos when received.
Once again, many thanks indeed to all particpants!