by Jim Oates 

Red-winged Blackbirds during the 2020 Ninepipes CBC – Photo Credit: Jim Oates

Most sections were counted twice (but not double counted) so everyone who wanted to participate had an opportunity within the Covid guidelines. There were 29 birders, who reported 74 species, one less than 2019.

Some of the highlights were:  A ferruginous hawk (11 years since last); 3 peregrines, 2 together, all seen about the same time on opposite parts of the circle (only 9 seen in last 26 years); almost 2,300 red-winged blackbirds (more than twice as many as any previous year), mostly in huge flocks in constant motion; in the forests, a practically uncountable irruption mix of nutcrackers, nuthatches and crossbills, including white-winged.

There were some misses of regulars (long-eared owls, mallards coming off the river) and a near-miss of a first ever, northern saw-whet owl seen a week before the count.