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American Avocet

September 22, 2022

The American Avocet is an elegant long legged wader of medium size. It's a central flyway bird and commonly found in ponds and marshes in Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

When Laura and I visited Oak Hammock Marsh north of Winnipeg we often saw dozens of these waders. It is uncommon (likely) to rare in Nova Scotia. Its appearance here is often weather related, particularly late season storms with strong westerly and north westerly winds.

American Avocet

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Humpback Whales

September 12, 2022

Despite many trips to Brier Island this was my first whale viewing excursion. I arrived in good time at 11:30AM but it was too late for the morning bird arrivals at the north end of the island. Migrating birds arrive with a northerly wind and land near the northern light but they soon disperse and move south through the island.

As it happened the weather was clear blue skies and light winds, perfect for a four hour nautical adventure. The whales were plentiful and friendly although there were no breaches near the boat.

It is sad to think our barbarous race of humans hunted these magnificent and giant creatures almost to extinction. The Japanese and the Icelanders still haven't got the message or the understanding that these are sentient creatures.

Humpback Whales

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Annapolis Royal Gardens

September 03, 2022  •  Leave a Comment

After my visit to Kejimkujik National Park I stopped at Annapolis Royal Gardens at about noon. This is Nova Scotia's premier formal garden. The rose garden was past its prime and the heat was taking a toll but many areas were still pristine. The Northern Cardinal was a delight although it insisted on hiding behind foliage.

I had hoped to visit Annapolis Royal Marsh and Miner's Pond but the heat was oppressive so I continued directly to home.

Annapolis Royal Gardens

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Our Milky Way

August 24, 2022

While at Kejimkujik National Park I'd hoped for photographs of the Pleiades Cluster and the Andromeda Nebula, but the forest canopy blocked the horizon.

I will be going to Brier Island in early September and the southern spit will offer me a clear view of the southern horizon for 270 degrees. This hopefully (with clear skies) will allow me to photograph the PanSTARRS Comet. The moon will shine bright but I will be photographing at 1200mm a much narrower field of view than 16mm, my Milky Way lens.

This is my best photograph of the Milky Way. Check out the meteor tracks. There are several visible.

Enlarged Photo

Milky Way, Kejimkujik National Park

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...a possible fireball in this photo.

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Living Water, Kejimkujik National Park

August 23, 2022

I visited Kejimkujik National Park primarily for the living waters of the Mersey River, butterflies and the night sky. The absence of butterflies and day flying moths is disheartening but I hope its just a seasonal variation. September is usually better for butterflies but time will tell the tale.

First up on my trip was the living waters of the Mersey River, always worth the visit. I was using long exposures on the running water so the wind in the trees is evident as blur.

The Mersey River

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Kejimkujik Lake Sunset, Kejimkujik National Park

August 22, 2022

I came to the beach on Kejimkujik Lake to photograph the night sky and the sunset. The sunset though modest in presentation was my first in this place but I will try again. My primary target was the Milky Way and the Pleiades Star Cluster. I discovered that the location was all wrong for the night sky since my targets were behind me and shielded by the forest canopy.

Kejimkujik Lake Sunset

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Woodland Stroll Along the Mersey River, Kejimkujik National Park

August 20, 2022

I enjoyed a woodland stroll along the Mersey River in Kejimkujik National Park. A highlight along the way was what looks to be a rare Virginia Meadow Beauty beside Kejimkujik Lake.

Virginia Meadow Beauty

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Woodland Plants, Caterpillers and Sunsets

August 18, 2022

Laura and I enjoyed a mid day walk through the deeply shaded woods of Smiley's Provincial Park on a very hot day. Most birds have left already so the late flowering wildflowers and orchids are the targets of the walk.

I also visited Peggy's Cove for the sunset but it was not spectacular. For reasons I don't as yet comprehend sunrises are always better than sunsets especially sunrises at Crystal Crescent Beach in December.

Canada Thistle

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Helleborine Orchid

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Monarch Butterfly Caterpiller

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Traffic Rushing Against the Cloud Shrouded Moon

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Narrow-leafed Hawkweed

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Sunset at Peggy's Cove

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Peggy's Cove

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Fungus about 12 inches across

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Woodland Orchids and Wildflowers

August 03, 2022

Laura and I went on the hunt for Helleborine Orchid and Coralroot Orchid. We had no luck with the latter but the Helleborine Orchid is close to blooming, but is tricky to photograph.

We also discovered a new to us woodland wildflower, the Tall Hairy Agrimony. It's tall and the stalk is hairy so we ruled out Woodland Agrimony but we stand to be corrected.

Another highlight was fine examples of Indian Pipe, a chlorophyll free plant. We often see them in groups in August.

The first two photos are from trips of previous years.

Coralroot Orchid

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Helleborine Orchid

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Tall Hairy Agrimony

This example was blooming beside the trail but I will have to wait for a cloudy day to bring out the details of the flower. The bright sunlight washed out the flower.

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Helleborine Orchid

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Indian Pipe

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Sundew and Monarch Butterfly

August 01, 2022

Laura and I took a hike along the coastal barrens in search of orchids and other good things. We found a few Monarch Butterflies which I photographed with an inappropriate lens that required severe cropping of the images. We were here to photograph cruise ships and orchids and not butterflies. Carrying more than two or three lenses is a burden. We also found some Little Club-spur Orchids

The highlight of the hike was a colony of Sundew, a predatory plant, nasty but beautiful.

Monarch Butterfly

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Adventure of the Seas

August 01, 2022

During our hike along the coastal barrens between Shoal Point and Chebucto Head I photographed the Adventure of the Seas, a cruise ship that often visits Halifax.


Details from Wikipedia:

Adventure of the Seas is a Voyager-class cruise ship operated by Royal Caribbean International. The vessel was launched and entered service in 2001. Registered in the Bahamas, Adventure of the Seas has cruised from ports in the United States and Europe to sites in the Caribbean Sea, Baltic Sea, Mediterranean Sea, Canada and Europe. The ship has a 138,193 GT and is 311.1 meters (1,020 ft 8 in) long with capacity for 3,807 guests.

Design and description

Adventure of the Seas is the third of five Voyager-class cruise ships[3] measured at 138,193 gross tonnage (GT), 108,644 net tonnage (NT) and 11,033 tons deadweight (DWT). The vessel is 311.1 meters (1,020 ft 8 in) long with a beam of 38.6 m (126 ft 8 in) at the waterline and 49.1 m (161 ft 1 in) at the extreme.[4][5] The vessel has a draft of 9.1 m (29 ft 10 in) and a depth of 11.7 m (38 ft 5 in).[4][a] The vessel is powered by a diesel-electric system composed of six 12,423-kilowatt (16,660 hp) Wärtsilä 12V46 engines for a total of 74,538 kW (99,957 hp) driving three 3 MW (4,000 hp) ABB Azipods and four bow thrusters.[5][6] This gives the cruise ship a maximum speed of 22.5 knots (41.7 km/h; 25.9 mph).[5]

The ship has 15 decks of which 14 are passenger decks with capacity for a maximum of 3,807 guests. The Voyager-class ships have a four-deck-high horizontal promenade, called the Royal Promenade. The length of the promenade is roughly 120 metres (393 ft 8 in), and situated at each end is an 11-deck high atrium, called the Centrum.[3] The passengers are spread out over 1,557 staterooms of which 765 are balcony, 174 are along the outside with 618 along the inside. 565 come with a 34th berth and 26 are accessible for persons with disabilities. 138 are located along the promenade.[6] Adventure of the Seas comes equipped with an outdoor movie screen, an Aqua Park, cyclone and typhoon water slides, as well as a FlowRider.[7] The ship has a crew of 1,185.[6]


Adventure of the Seas

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Peggy's Cove Sunset

August 01, 2022

From time to time I visit Peggy's Cove for the sunset. Often there is fog or dense cloud that prohibits a nice presentation but not so this time. The sunset although not spectacular was excellent.

Peggy's Cove Sunset

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Canada Lily in Rain

July 22, 2022

I returned to my Canada Lily colony just after a rain storm in order to capture this elegant flower without shadows and with rain drops accenting the flower head.

To my horror and disappointment in just the two days between my last visit and this visit the colony had been raided by the wild flora terrorists who had dug up entire plants or cropped the flowers at their base.

The damage done to our natural world by these folks is reprehensible. They are usually directed to the locations of rare birds or flora by postings or field trips by well meaning but naive organizations like the Nova Scotia Bird Society and the Wild Flora Society.

It is a well established principle held by responsible naturalists that locations of rare or endangered birds or plants should never be publicly posted especially on electronic media.

The worst abuses of birds I've ever witnessed has been by members of the Nova Scotia Bird Society.

Canada Lily after a rainfall

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White Water Lily

July 22, 2022

This display of White Water Lilies is the most impressive I've ever seen. The lake is loaded up with them from end to end. There is no camera lens that can capture this display effectively due to depth of field restrictions. The only way to truly capture this vista is to take several photographs, bottom to top and stitch together the in focus sections.

White Water Lily

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12 Spotted Skimmer

July 22, 2022

Dragonflies and butterflies are getting harder to find thanks to the reckless use of insecticides and herbicides by farmers. Unfortunately this carnage works its way up the food chain to birds.

12 Spotted Skimmer

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