Another round of VERY BIG THANKS to everyone who helped with coast counts!
If you can, please plan ahead for the 2020 season. If you missed the Birdlife NQ target date, it’s fine to choose any other date(s) that suits you right through November, December and January.
Our online map of results now shows the coast count totals for the past seven PIP/TIP seasons. You can see the details here.
We are mourning the passing of Margaret Thorsborne, an extraordinarily dedicated and courageous champion for the protection of Torres Strait Pigeons (PIPs/TIPs) and other vulnerable species and their habitat.
You can read more here.
Pigeon counts at North Brook Island were started in 1965 by Margaret Thorsborne and her late husband Arthur. For the next fifty years Margaret continued counting, and campaigned tirelessly to keep these counts going. In this 2015 picture, Margaret is counting with friend and scientific advisor Dr John Winter. Photo courtesy of Bryony Barnett.
This is a preliminary report to keep PIPwatchers up to date with island counts. Count totals might need to be updated after data quality checking has been completed.
North Brook Island
Very grateful thanks to Emma for arranging the logistics and coordinating staff and volunteers for monitoring PIPs and seabirds. PIP totals were: October 19023; November 22336; December 19881
Unfortunately there was no count in January. A February count was scheduled but this has been postponed.
Huge thanks to Gerry and Carolyn who continued their dedicated effort and conducted a count each month this season: October 4134; November 7642; December 5392; January 3481; February 1375.
Very grateful thanks to Caretakers Wayne and Jenni and their count volunteers this season. We look forward to reporting count results when they are received.
Green Island counters Gerry and Carolyn reported their highest count on 16 January with a total of 10,925 PIPs, then a substantial decrease to 3,821 on 21 February.
At Low Isles the count teams reported exceptionally high numbers for both months: 35,243 for January and 35,848 for February.
Good PIP numbers = good news from both Low Isles and Green Island :)
The first count of the new season at Low Isles reported a total of just over 9,900 incoming PIPs. A big round of thanks to the Low Isles Caretakers, Jenni and Wayne, and to their team of count volunteers.
At Green Island, the totals for the first count of the new season (separate counts by two independent observers) were 4437 / 4434 PIPs flying in to the island. Big thank-you to long term count champions Gerry and Carolyn!
Knowing that worse weather was approaching fast, Gerry and Carolyn made a hasty trip out to Green Island to conduct a count on 6 February. The conditions were already less than ideal, windy with rain at times.
Concurrent independent counts produced the same total: 3,526 incoming PIPs. This was a sharp decrease from the two Green Island counts in January (here and here).
For a second time this month, a BIG thank-you to Gerry and Carolyn!
On 24 January, Gerry and Carolyn conducted an extra count for the month. They reported 7,270 / 7,317 incoming PIPs (concurrent independent counts), numbers slightly higher than at the beginning of January (see details).
Counting was particularly challenging because incoming PIPs were flying extremely low over the water, different to the flight pattern Gerry and Carolyn usually see. They thought Northerly winds (contrary to the direction of flight) might have influenced the birds’ behaviour.
The latest count was conducted on 2 January, an afternoon with light winds and heavy cloud. Observers recorded a total of 6702 / 6669 incoming birds in their concurrent independent counts of the same birds. Despite a slow start, incoming PIP numbers increased rapidly after a passing rainstorm had cleared.
Once again many thanks to Gerry and Carolyn, true heroes of Green Island PIP monitoring.
Green Island PIPs seem to have delayed starting their nests according to anecdotal reports, as is the case at Low Isles.
However the number of PIPs roosting on the island appears little changed from last month and hopefully nesting will begin soon.
Concurrent independent counts reported 5559 / 5580 PIPs flying in to Green Island on the afternoon of 21 November.
Another BIG thank-you to Gerry and Carolyn!
The second Green Island count of the season took place at the end of October. Totals for PIPs flying in from 3.30 PM to 6.45 PM were 5485 / 5490 (independent concurrent counts) .
Gerry and Carolyn are doing a heroic job keeping the Green Island counts going – many thanks to you both!
PIPs are wary birds and the majority roost and nest in inaccessible areas. However, sometimes they can be glimpsed in the canopy above the rainforest boardwalk on Green Island.