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Grey-crowned Rosy Finch

January 24, 2023  •  Leave a Comment

I photographed this elegant western finch on two occasions but I failed to combine good lighting with good views but I am pleased with what I have.

This is the first Nova Scotia confirmed record although the bird may have visited before and been unseen or misidentified.

This is a tough bird and has a good chance to survive our winter especially with all the help its getting from the home owner.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Gray-crowned rosy finch
Gray-Crowned Rosy-Finch.jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Fringillidae
Subfamily: Carduelinae
Genus: Leucosticte
L. tephrocotis
Binomial name
Leucosticte tephrocotis
(Swainson, 1832)

Linaria tephrocotis Swainson, 1831[2]

The gray-crowned rosy finch or gray-crowned rosy-finch (Leucosticte tephrocotis) is a species of passerine bird in the family Fringillidae native to Alaska, western Canada, and the north-western United States. Due to its remote and rocky alpine habitat it is rarely seen. There are currently six recognized subspecies. It is one of four species of rosy finches.


Female - Sandia Peak - New Mexico

The gray-crowned rosy finch was first classified by English ornithologist William John Swainson in 1832.[1] This bird has been thought to form a superspecies with three other rosy finches (also known as mountain finch): black rosy finch (L. atrata) and the brown-capped rosy finch (L. australis), all of which were classified as the same species as the Asian rosy finch (L. arctoa) from 1983–1993.[3][4][5] Recent mitochondrial DNA evidence shows the rosy finches are all indeed very closely related and can be easily confused with one another.[6] Along with one Asian rosy finch and two Asian mountain finches, the three North American rosy finches form the mountain finch genus Leucosticte. Alternative common names include: Roselin à tête grise (in French), Schwarzstirn-Schneegimpel (in German), and Pinzón Montano Nuquigrís (in Spanish).[7]


Grey-crowned Rosy Finch

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Nieuw Statendam

January 12, 2023  •  Leave a Comment

This elegant cruise ship was photographed off Chebucto Head.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Nieuw Statendam
NIEUW STATENDAM (49895575701).jpg
Nieuw Statendam near Hook of Holland, May 2020
Name Nieuw Statendam
Owner Carnival Corporation house flag.svg Carnival Corporation & plc
Operator Holland America Line
Port of registry Netherlands Rotterdam, Netherlands
Ordered 19 December 2014
Builder Fincantieri (Marghera, Italy)
Yard number 6244
Laid down 20 March 2017[3]
Launched 6 December 2017[1]
Sponsored by Oprah Winfrey
Christened 2 February 2019[4]
Completed November 2018
Acquired 29 November 2018[2]
In service 5 December 2018—present
Status In service
General characteristics
Class and type Pinnacle-class cruise ship
Tonnage 99,902 GT[5]
Length 299.75 m (983 ft 5 in)[5]
Beam 35 m (114 ft 10 in)[5]
Draught 8 m (26 ft)[5]
Decks 12 passenger decks
Installed power 4 × MaK 12V43C diesel generators producing 12,600 kW (16,900 hp) each[5]
Propulsion 2 × 14,000 kW (19,000 hp)[5] ABB Azipod units
  • Service speed: 18 knots (33 km/h; 21 mph)[5]
  • Maximum: 22 knots (41 km/h; 25 mph)[5]
  • 2,666
  • 4,173 max persons on board[5]
Crew 1,053

MS Nieuw Statendam is a Pinnacle-class cruise ship operated by Holland America Line (HAL), a division of Carnival Corporation & plc. Her name, Nieuw Statendam, alludes to the five previous ships in HAL's fleet named Statendam.[6][7][8] She is the second of three Pinnacle-class ships built by Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri after Koningsdam (2016) and before Rotterdam (2021). Two years after the first steel was cut in July 2016 to commence construction, she was delivered to HAL in November 2018 and began operating the following month.

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Celebrity Summit

January 12, 2023  •  Leave a Comment

The Celebrity Summit was photographed off Chebucto Head. It is a seasonal regular to Halifax.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Celebrity Summit Jun 24 2019 (cropped).jpg
Celebrity Summit departing Bar Harbor in June 2019.
  • Celebrity Summit (2008–present)
  • Summit (2001–2008)
Owner Celebrity Cruises
Operator Celebrity Cruises
Port of registry
Cost US$350 million
Yard number T31
Launched 9 March 2001
Acquired October 2001
In service November 2001
Status Active
Notes [1][2]
General characteristics
Class and type Millennium-class cruise ship
  • 90,940 GT
  • 53,268 NT
  • 11,788 DWT
Length 294 m (964 ft 7 in)
Beam 32.00 m (105 ft 0 in)
Draught 8 m (26 ft 3 in)
Decks 11 (passenger accessible)
Installed power
Propulsion Two Rolls-Royce Mermaid azimuth thrusters
Speed 24 knots (44 km/h; 28 mph)
  • 2,158 passengers (lower berths)
  • 2,218 passengers (all berths)
Crew 999
Notes [1][2][3]

GTS Celebrity Summit is a Millennium-class cruise ship owned and operated by Celebrity Cruises and as such one of the first cruise ships to be powered by more environmentally friendly gas turbines.[4] Originally named Summit, she was renamed with the "Celebrity" prefix in 2008.[1]

HMCS Fredericton

January 12, 2023  •  Leave a Comment

This is my favourite photo of HMCS Fredericton. It has a foreboding feel to it. The towering column of cumulus clouds completes the haunting.

HMCS Fredericton

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Red-shouldered Hawk

January 10, 2023

Here's my best photograph of the Red-shouldered Hawk, so far. I had to maneuver around to get a clear image away from the focus destroying tree branches. It's still a cropped image but I'm satisfied.

I was shooting tripod mounted at 1200mm, F13, with a 3 second shutter delay. I was lucky with the lighting today as a ray of sunshine lit up the hawk's belly.

Red-shouldered Hawk

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The Angry Sea

January 09, 2023

The first photo below is my favourite of the angry sea. The high ocean swell behind the islet with the gnarled tree is not a mirage. The swell with its curling waves are reduced to pond level by the rising sea floor. It is not a mirage

The Angry Sea

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Great Egret

January 02, 2023

The Great Egret is my first bird photograph of the new year, indeed my first photograph of any subject.

This Great Egret is very late migrating, the latest I've encountered them at this latitude at this time of year although a few show do up at the extreme south end of the province.

Birds are nesting further north every year and many that not been recorded as successfully overwintering are doing so now. Times they are a changing.

Great Egret

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Red-shouldered Hawk

December 28, 2022

My thanks to Susan Lawrence for allowing access to her property to photograph this elegant woodland hawk. As usual these woodland birds perch for long periods behind branches so auto focus is a no go. I used manual focus with high ISO. The the second of these two photos is superior in definition The branches are nice and sharp which figures.

I hope to return after a heavy snowfall to photograph this bird in the snowscape. It is an annual regular but could still be considered rare.

Red-shouldered Hawk

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USS Gerald R. Ford

December 20, 2022

The USS Gerald R. Ford visited Halifax recently. I was fortunate since it left shortly after I photographed this magnificent vessel. Shore crew were just loading up from harbour tour vessels.

It was generous of the US Navy to position some of their air complement on the deck.

The trick with photographing ships in Halifax Harbour is finding a viewpoint that isn't cluttered with buildings and power lines. Most of the harbour front is restricted for safety and security reasons except for the nice public walk on the Halifax side and a smaller public walk on the Dartmouth side.

Courtesty of Wikipedia:

USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) is the lead ship of her class of United States Navy aircraft carriers. The ship is named after the 38th President of the United States, Gerald Ford, whose World War II naval service included combat duty aboard the light aircraft carrier Monterey in the Pacific Theater.[15]

Construction began on 11 August 2005, when Northrop Grumman held a ceremonial steel cut for a 15-ton plate that forms part of a side shell unit of the carrier.[16] The keel of Gerald R. Ford was laid down on 13 November 2009.[4] She was christened on 9 November 2013.[6] Gerald R. Ford entered the fleet replacing the decommissioned USS Enterprise (CVN-65), which ended her 51 years of active service in December 2012.[17][18] Originally scheduled for delivery in 2015,[19] Gerald R. Ford was delivered to the Navy on 31 May 2017[2] and formally commissioned by President Donald Trump on 22 July 2017.[3][20][21] The Navy announced that the carrier will sail on her first deployment sometime during 2022.[22] As of 2017, she is the world's largest aircraft carrier, and the largest warship ever constructed in terms of displacement.[23]


Ford in U.S. Navy uniform, circa 1945.

In 2006, while Gerald Ford was still alive, Senator John Warner of Virginia proposed to amend a 2007 defense-spending bill to declare that CVN-78 "shall be named the USS Gerald Ford."[24] The final version, signed by President George W. Bush on 17 October 2006,[25] declared only that it "is the sense of Congress that ... CVN-78 should be named the U.S.S. Gerald R. Ford."[26] Since such "sense of" language is typically non-binding and does not carry the force of law, the Navy was not required to name the ship after Ford.[27]

On 3 January 2007, former United States Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld announced that the aircraft carrier would be named after Ford during a eulogy for President Ford at Grace Episcopal Church in East Grand Rapids, Michigan.[28] Rumsfeld indicated that he had personally told Ford of the honor during a visit to his home in Rancho Mirage a few weeks before Ford's death. This makes the aircraft carrier one of the few U.S. ships named after a living person. Later in the day, the Navy confirmed that the aircraft carrier would indeed be named after the former president.[29] On 16 January 2007, Navy Secretary Donald Winter officially named CVN-78 USS Gerald R. Ford. Ford's daughter Susan Ford Bales was named the ship's sponsor. The announcements were made at a Pentagon ceremony attended by Vice President Dick Cheney, Senators Warner (R-VA) and Levin (D-MI), Major General Guy C. Swan III, Bales, Ford's other three children, and others.[30]

The USS America Carrier Veterans Association (CVA) had pushed to name the ship USS America. The CVA is an association of sailors who served aboard USS America (CV-66). The carrier was decommissioned in 1996 and scuttled in 2005 in the Atlantic, as part of a damage test of large deck aircraft carriers.[31] The name "America" was instead assigned to USS America (LHA-6), an amphibious assault ship commissioned in 2014.[32][33]


USS Gerald R. Ford

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Northern Mockingbird

November 29, 2022

The Northern Mockingbird is a beloved bird with an attitude and a song to match. It's one of Nova Scotia's three mimic thrushes; Northern Mockingbird, Brown Thrasher and Grey Catbird. It has the most diverse song of the three mimic thrushes and sounds like a flock of birds singing from a single bush.

Look for it in multiflora brambles where it will reside all winter until the berries give out and then its off to the next shrub.

Northern Mockingbird

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Great Egret

November 23, 2022

I photographed this Great Egret two days ago. Its getting late for this wader as the salt marshes and inland ponds are beginning to ice in.

This healthy bird should make it south if it leaves immediately.

Great Egret

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Peggy's Cove at Night

November 12, 2022

Whilst waiting for the Pleiades and Orion to rise in the eastern sky I took some photos of Peggy's Cove at night. I've added some twinkling to the stars and lens flare in one photo for drama but sometimes plain old, "as it is", photos are the best.

Peggy's Cove Light at Night

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The Pleiades

November 12, 2022

The Pleiades an open star cluster rises in the east these days and is relatively easy to find and photograph. To the naked eye it looks like a fuzzy ball.

Telescopes with central obstructions which have spokes to hold their reflecting mirrors cause diffraction spikes which are typical in photos of the cluster. Refractors such as telephoto lens do not have this optical defect and show the cluster as round spots as they should be however to add visual drama to the photos I've introduced twinklings.

Courtesy of Wikipedia:

The Pleiades (/ˈpl.ədz, ˈpl-, ˈpl-/),[7][8] also known as The Seven Sisters, Messier 45 and other names by different cultures, is an asterism and an open star cluster containing middle-aged, hot B-type stars in the north-west of the constellation Taurus. At a distance of about 444 light years, it is among the nearest star clusters to Earth. It is the nearest Messier object to Earth, and is the most obvious cluster to the naked eye in the night sky.

The cluster is dominated by hot blue luminous stars that have formed within the last 100 million years. Reflection nebulae around the brightest stars were once thought to be left over material from their formation, but are now considered likely to be an unrelated dust cloud in the interstellar medium through which the stars are currently passing.[9] This dust cloud is estimated to be moving at a speed of approximately 18 km/s relative to the stars in the cluster.[10]

Computer simulations have shown that the Pleiades were probably formed from a compact configuration that resembled the Orion Nebula.[11] Astronomers estimate that the cluster will survive for about another 250 million years, after which it will disperse due to gravitational interactions with its galactic neighborhood.[12]

The Pleiades

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Blood Moon

November 08, 2022

The Blood Moon is the culmination of the total lunar eclipse of November 8, 2022.

I was lucky since a column of clouds marched by but I managed to photograph around them and by total eclipse all the clouds were gone.

Blood Moon

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Ash-throated Flycatcher the Re-edit

November 07, 2022

I tried to get the noise out of the photo but unfortunately the definition of the original image is compromised by the excessive noise and cannot be fully recovered. The severe backlighting and subsequent underexposure of the subject also did not help.

Back before I returned to the art of photography some twenty years ago I encountered this bird on a roadside shed roof with lots of insects to eat and great lighting.

Ash-throated Flycatcher

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