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I made an error this morning in photographing the Ash-throated Flycatcher. When I first arrived it was quite dark in the brush so I cranked up my ISO to 6400 but then failed to reduce it when the light became better. The high ISO in bright light produced images that I could not save. I should use auto ISO and fixed shutter shutter speed in these circumstances.
I will try again tomorrow hoping the bird is still there.
On my recent trip to Brier Island I was fortunate to find both of our nesting nuthatch species; the Red-breasted Nuthatch and the White-breasted Nuthatch. As a bonus and special treat I also found a Ruby-crowned Kinglet.
The White-breasted Nuthatch in this series was foraging in shadow. It typically migrates although a few do overwinter. The Red-breasted Nuthatch is the hardier of the two species and readily overwinters and visits bird feeders.
The Ruby-crowned Kinglet was a special treat both to find and successfully photograph. The kinglets are notorious among nature photographers since they seldon stay still, constantly flitting from place to place. The song of the Ruby-crowned Kinglet will knock your socks off!
I went to Brier Island for a couple of days. On my first day, last Friday, I spotted a dozen Eastern Bluebirds on wires beside the road to the western light near the two cemeteries. I managed one usable photo, the last one in this series. I spoke to a local who said there was a flock of 500 Eastern Bluebirds the day before. Now that would have been a sight.
The best photo I captured, the first one below, was the following day about thirty minutes before sunset. Although the photograph required severe cropping the lighting of the late day sun made the blue birds appear quite striking.
When we first came to Nova Scotia in 2000 the Northern Cardinal was rare to uncommon in the preferred habitat of mature deciduous trees. Now it is common in this preferred habitat.
It toughs out our winters with us and the male and female are both a sight to behold in the snow.
These examples are feasting on seed heads, a rather messy meal.
Brier Island is hot and cold, usually cold, for birds but the scenery is always a treat. If you visit and the sea is calm take the whale watching trip. It's four hours long so prepare accordingly.
Brier Island Scenery
On a recent trip to Brier Island I photographed the sunset. The spokes are always a bonus if you can get them.
Brier Island Sunset From Southern Light
Rees Lake accessed from the the Old Annapolis Trail is a challenge for my 4X4. Don't try it with your family RAV or any vehicle without low range. It's rough and rocky (big rocks) but once there you get a gorgeous view of the southern sky over Rees Lake
The moon is not a welcome addition when one is trying to photograph the night sky.
This is a 190 degree view of Rees Lake. I usually end up with my foot in the frame with this lens.
The Great Blue Heron has stunning good looks much like its smaller cousin the Blue Jay but we tend to take them for granted because they are successful and common. I have to force myself sometimes to appreciate the beauty around me.
Great Blue Heron
I encountered the Dickcissel and White-crowned Sparrow a second time as well as some other avian friends.
Hurricane Fiona was a near miss for us unlike the unfortunate folks on the north shore of Nova Scotia. I took a drive around the Chebucto Peninsula from Peggy's Cove Light to Sambro Island Light. The wind direction favoured high seas near Peggy's Cove, and not so much at Sambro Island.
Peggy's Cove Area
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.
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.
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
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.
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