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October 10, 2022

The Dickcissel is a central flyway bird and is found in Nova Scotia during migration. It is often found with flocks of sparrows especially House Sparrows. The bill is very distinctive.


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White-crowned Sparrow

October 10, 2022

The White-crowned Sparrow is an annual regular with numbers varying wildly year over year. Beginners often confuse the White-crowned Sparrow with the Golden-crowned Sparrow. The grey bill of the Golden-crowned Sparrow vs the yellow bill of the White-crowned Sparrow are good field marks. The crown of the White-crowned Sparrow can be distinctly golden in the first winter bird.

The White-crowned Sparrow is a central flyway bird and occurs in Nova Scotia during migration.

White-crowned Sparrow

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Dickcissel and White-crowned Sparrow

October 10, 2022

It is not often (read hardly ever) that one gets the opportunity to photograph a Dickcissel and a White-crowned Sparrow in the same frame. The depth of field with my telephoto lens at this distance is hardly more than 25 mm, at most, so the birds have to pose side by side in the frame to be in focus.

Dickcissel and White-crowned Sparrow

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Monarch Butterfly

October 07, 2022

The best time to see the Monarch Butterfly is late September to early October. Look for it on the coastal barrens often perching on New England Asters and Canada Hawkweed. Mid morning visits are the best which gives the Monarchs time to dry their wings on the warm morning sun. If the wind is strong they tend to fly high and fast especially if its a favourable north wind.

Monarch Butterly

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East Chezzetcook Sunset

October 07, 2022

Whilst waiting for full dark and the clouds to unobscure Jupiter I turned my attention to the sunset at East Chezzetcook. This is a superb location for night sky photography but alas despite three visits I could never get a clear view of Jupiter. I did eventually succeed at Peggy's Cove, the upper parking lot.

East Chezzetcook Sunset

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Yellow Lady's Tresses's Orchid

October 07, 2022

The Yellow Lady's Tresses's Orchid is our latest flowering orchid flowering up to the first hard frost. Look for the small yellow patch inside the orchid flower. The orchid flower itself is no larger than a green pea.


Courtesy of Wikipedia

These are perennial herbs growing from fleshy root systems that range from slender to tuberous, and are occasionally stoloniferous. Most of the leaves are basal, but some species have leaves higher on the stem before the inflorescence matures, often taking the form of a sheath around the stem. The inflorescence is a terminal spike with flowers arranged in a characteristic loose or dense spiral. As in most other orchids, the flowers are resupinate, twisting during development into an upside-down position. The six tepals may be separate, or the three upper may be joined to form a hood over the lip petal. The lip is thin to somewhat fleshy, and two basal glands produce nectar. The flowers are usually white, cream, ivory, or yellowish, and two species have pink flowers; a few are also fragrant.[3][4]


Yellow Lady's Tresses's Orchid

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Blue-grey Gnatcatcher and Woodland Friends

October 05, 2022

The Blue-grey Gnatcatcher is a nifty bird with a chattering trill to announce its presence. It's one of the earliest flycatchers to arrive in the spring in central Canada. It's a friendly bird and easy to photograph.

Blue-Grey Gnatcatcher

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Blue Jay

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White-throated Sparrow

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Close Approach of Jupiter

October 05, 2022

I tried to get photos of Jupiter's close approach to earth earlier but thanks to Nova Scotia's much loved fog and cloud I was not able to get any photos until October 3. The conditions are not the best near a city due to light pollution. I couldn't use a tripod due to vibration caused by wind. I used my telephoto lens perched on bean bags on my cars window sill, 1200mm, F13 and 0.6 second exposure and various speeds from 640 ISO to 6400 ISO.

The Galilean Moons are from left to right; Callisto, Ganymede, Europa and Io.

The following is from CNN:

Jupiter will make its closest approach to Earth in 59 years on Monday, September 26, according to NASA.

The largest planet in our solar system, the gas giant will be at opposition, meaning Earth is directly between it and the sun, said Trina L. Ray, deputy science manager for the Europa Clipper mission at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

The space agency originally said Jupiter would be making its closest approach to Earth in 70 years, but corrected its statement after discovering the error, a NASA spokesperson said.

There will be about 367 million miles (590.6 million kilometers) between Earth and Jupiter, according to NASA. Jupiter is about 600 million miles (965.6 million kilometers) away from our home planet at its farthest point, the space agency said.

Jupiter is at opposition about every 13 months, the length of time the Earth takes to orbit the Sun in relation to Jupiter, according to EarthSky.

Neither Earth nor Jupiter orbits the sun in a perfect circle, which is what makes each opposition a slightly different distance, said Ray, who is also NASA’s investigation scientist for the Radar for Europa Assessment and Sounding: Ocean to Near-surface, or REASON.

I used the moon to set my telephoto lens on infinity.

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Jupiter, with left to right Callisto, Ganymede, Europa and Io

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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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