Many thanks to keen-eyed watchers…
The first report of the season was from the Torres Strait islands, where Jon observed 3 PIPs flying past Muralug / Prince of Wales Island on August 5. He noted that their return coincided with the ripening of wongai fruits. The wongai (Manilkara kauki) is a traditional “bush tucker” food for Indigenous people and one of many native tree species that PIPs feed on.
Almost 2 weeks later, the first mainland reports came in. On 18 August, Gerry spotted a single PIP in the urban centre of Cairns. Two days later, on the morning of 20 August, Patrick saw a group of 4 and Brian recorded three single birds and a group of 4 at various places in North Cairns. That evening Brian spotted a flock of 15 near the Esplanade. Sally’s first sighting at Edge Hill was the biggest flock so far: on the evening of 23 August, she observed a group of 20 roosting in tall trees, with more PIPs still flying in to join them.
There have probably been more early sightings, but no other reports submitted as yet.
Please keep an eye out and report your observations when you see the first PIPs/TIPs in your area this season.
Updated end of August
Although we only heard about this later, there was a very early sighting near Cairns: On 3 August, Golo saw 4 PIPs at Kewarra Beach.
And we’ve just received the first PIPs south of Cairns: 3 PIPs at Aloomba on 29 August, reported by Max.