PIP counters needed for Kurrimine, Cowley Beach, Mourilyan

Important sites needing counters include Kurrimine (south, centre and north ends of the beach) and along the coast northwards including Cowley Beach, Mourilyan etc.

A PIP coast count is easy to do, and it only needs two hours of your time from 4PM to 6PM.

Click HERE to get details and PLEASE help help with this count!

A special call out to boat owners and friends: When the weather is good, can you consider doing a boat-based count in between the beaches where there is no land access?

Extra effort is particularly important now. PIPs appear to be short of food and their nesting has been delayed with some PIPs possibly relocating. We are trying to find out what’s going on. Helpful people are urgently needed to watch, count and report PLEASE!

PIPs return to Cairns – what about YOUR area? Aug 2014

During the first week of August a small group of PIPs was sighted flying past Cape Weymouth (thanks Brian) and one PIP spotted at Low Isles (thanks Jenni). During the second week a solitary PIP was seen on two occasions at Wonga (thanks Gary) and two PIPs were spotted flying past Cairns Esplanade (thanks Graham!).

The earliest sightings could perhaps have been stragglers that remained in Queensland over winter (after the majority had migrated to PNG for their short winter break) but a ‘new season’ was clearly under way during the second half of August.

More PIPs were spotted in and around Cairns and a few at Green Island during the third week of August (thanks Gerry, Carolyn, Brian and Graham) although there were only small numbers and widely scattered observations.

The first report for Townsville came in right at the end of the month (thanks Jenny) but as yet none further south.

When you see your first PIPs of the season, please put in a report here.

First PIP nest of the season for Townsville Oct 2013

On 18 October two PIPs were spotted building a new nest – thank you Cecily!

A week later incubation was under way, as shown in the photo below – thank you Jenny!

First PIP nest of the season for Townsville

We’ve had very few reported PIP sightings around Townsville so far and this nest is very welcome news.

Also of interest, its in the same tree that hosted a PIP nest last season. Are these the same birds as last season? That does seem likely, although we’ll never know for sure.

PIP return (slowly?) late Aug 2013

At Low Isles the first returning PIP was sighted on 14 August by the island’s Caretakers. There were still only small numbers of PIPs to be seen by the end of the month.

On 28 August the first PIPwatch report of the season came from Graham (thanks Graham!) who heard and then spotted a single PIP at the top of a tree in the Cairns suburb of Mooroobool.

North of Cairns there were a few earlier sightings recorded on Eremaea, not posted to PIPwatch. In most cases people saw only single birds. No one reported any large flocks.

The first PIPwatch report south of Cairns was on 30 August when Julia spotted two PIPs feeding high in palm trees on the Strand, Townsville.

Farewell to departing PIPs – April 2013

Small numbers of PIPs were still around in Cairns and Townsville during early April but the majority probably set off northwards during March, heading to PNG for their “winter break”.

By the middle of April very few PIPs were sighted and some observers confirmed they had seen none at all. The last observation reported to PIPwatch came from Jenny in Townsville on 14 April, accompanied by this lovely photo, thanks Jenny! Maybe the PIP was saying goodbye to those two pee-wees?


PIP nests in Cairns and Townsville Oct 2012

For years PIP nests were only infrequently spotted in Cairns, although the birds are commonly seen flying and foraging around the city each summer. Then during the summer of 2011-12 Brian and friends reported an unusual flurry of PIP nesting in the city rather late in the season. The same keen PIP team has started monitoring the Esplanade and part of the CBD again this year. The first six PIP nests in Cairns were reported at the end of September and several more were discovered during the first week of October thanks to Brian, Phil and Yu.

PIP nest Townsville 4 Oct 2012

In Townsville the first PIP nest of the season was spotted by Jenny who sent in the photo above.

On 6 October Robyn and Beth reported they observed a PIP high up under the canopy of a flowering Poplar Gum in Western Lions Park at Heatley. The single bird was calling but no partner was observed. A bird, thought to be a Little Friar bird started harassing the PIP which shifted position but remained in the tree.

Beth and Robin plan to continue to monitor as they had been seeing PIPs in the park and the nearly Heatley State School grounds for about two weeks, but had not observed any mating or nesting behaviour as yet. Last year they noted a pair did nest in the Western Lions Park, above the BBQ area but they did not see any evidence of fledglings.

Has anyone seen PIPs starting to build nests anywhere else? Many more PIPwatchers are needed!