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Peregrine Falcon, Second Sighting

January 16, 2024

These photos of the Peregrine Falcon near Canning, Nova Scotia, are an exercise in editing. The original RAW images show the falcons as all black since they were backlit by the sun brightening the sky through thin cloud.

Peregrine Falcon

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Horned Lark

January 16, 2024

Horned Larks are tricky to photograph as they hop between the plowed hummocks at Grand-Pré National Historic Site, Nova Scotia. The fields the Horned Larks work are below sea level, the sea being held back by the dykes build by the Acadians, the original settlers of this area.

These little titans are hardy birds toughing out the winters here with us in Nova Scotia. I visited their vast nesting grounds on Newfoundland, mostly open grassy fields. They were singing away their bright nesting songs and popping up to view on occasion.

Horned Lark

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Peregrine Falcon

January 06, 2024

What better way is there to start the 2024 nature photography year then photographs of the world's fastest bird, the Peregrine Falcon?

Peregrine Falcon

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Broad-winged Hawk and Last Photos of 2023

January 01, 2024

I ventured out after a light snowfall in search of memories. One of my favourite winter subjects is architecture and of course wildlife. I did find a Broad-winged Hawk. The hawk looked like a witches broom since it was so far away but the broad wings and loping flight gave it away.

I spent all my time in West Hants County which is a pain to get around in due to the many destroyed bridges thanks to our tropical monsoon adventure in the fall.

Broad-winged Hawk

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Waterfowl Patrol at the Head of St. Margaret's Bay

December 30, 2023

Laura and I toured the head of St. Margaret's Bay to check out the open ocean waterfowl and what opportunities and locations there are for winter waterfowl photography. The opportunities look promising. I left my big telephoto lens at home, (1200mm at 61mp) on this trip and used my walk about telephoto lens, (800mm at 25mp). I should get much better quality photos later this winter. I didn't photograph the dabbling ducks on this trip.

The photos shown herein are severe crops since the birds are diving off in deep water.

Bufflehead

Common Loon

Red-breasted Merganser

Hooded Merganser

Horned Grebe

Red-breasted Merganser

Red-necked Grebe

Surf Scoter

White-winged Scoter


Christmas Morning at the Bedford Basin

December 30, 2023

On Christmas Morning I snapped these photographs of haze and fog over the head of the Bedford Basin. The Bedford Basin was a major staging area for convoys getting ready to cross the Atlantic Ocean during World War II.

Head of Bedford Basin on Christmas Morning

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Nova Scotia's Second December Gale

December 30, 2023

We had another major gale, force 8, with hurricane strength gusts. Unfortunately the coastline was mostly fogged in so I had few opportunities for good shots. Another annoying issue in Nova Scotia is the shortage of good ocean views where one can safely park away from traffic.

Nova Scotia's Second December Gale

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Long-tailed Duck and Black Guillemot

December 23, 2023

Winter photography is here. I've shot one winter gale and the second one is in the hopper. With the woodlands mostly empty of easy to find birds and other wildlife the ocean beckons me now with its wild weather and sea birds. The woodlands await the first heavy snow always a joy but one has to get to the scenic places before the foot prints and tire tracks spoil the show.

I lucked out today when I found two pairs of Long-tailed Ducks, an elegant bird with a inane name. Sea ducks are tricky to photograph since they seldom come close to shore and long distance photography over water is usually a disaster due to fog, haze and waves.

Long-tailed Duck

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Black Guillemot

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Nova Scotia Coast in a Gale

December 13, 2023  •  Leave a Comment

I toured the eastern shore of Nova Scotia during a December gale from Martinique Beach Provincial Park, to East Chezzetcook, West Chezzetcook, Lawrencetown Beach, Conrad's Beach, Cole Harbour and finally finishing at Peggy's Cove.

The highlight of the tour was meeting a gathering of Common Mergansers, the largest such gatherings I have ever witnessed. No doubt they were sheltering away from the coastal surf.

Wind gusts up to 100kph sandblasting my face was a reminder of Nature's fury. I was almost blown over at Martinique Beach

West Chezzetcook

Wind Surfers at Play

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Gathering of Common Mergansers

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Wind Surfers at West Chezzetcook

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Gulls Hunkered Down From the Wind

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Peggy's Cove Light

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Red-shouldered Hawk

December 08, 2023  •  Leave a Comment

The Red-shouldered Hawk is now a Nova Scotia nesting bird and a year round resident. This example has returned from its summer time wanderings to over winter at the same nursery I photographed it at last year.

The personality of a bird is normally not a diagnostic tool but the personality differences between the Red-shouldered Hawk and the closely related Red-tailed Hawk is striking. The Red-tailed Hawk is a flighty bird flying away at the slightest provocation whereas the Red-shouldered Hawk will sit and look at you or ignore you as it scans the area for its next meal.

Red-shouldered Hawk


Black-headed Grosbeak

December 05, 2023

This rare bird almost turned into a tale of woe for me. I set up with a view of the feeder from the road expecting some distant photos. But wait! The Black-headed Grosbeak popped up in front of me in a multiflora tangle almost void of fruit. This intrepid forager found some of the last remaining offerings. This supplements the bird and the winter bird photographic opportunity.

So.......my camera would not focus no matter what I did. I managed these photos using manual focus. Somewhere along the way I touched the wrong key or software button. This camera will be leaving my service since this should not happen,...ever.

This visit of the Black-headed Grosbeak is a 16th record for Nova Scotia and the first for December. In all likelihood it will stay all winter.

Black-headed Grosbeak

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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 
Black-headed grosbeak
Male in California, United States
Duration: 9 seconds.
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Cardinalidae
Genus: Pheucticus
Species:
P. melanocephalus
Binomial name
Pheucticus melanocephalus
(Swainson, 1827)
  Breeding
  Migration
  Year-round
  Nonbreeding

The black-headed grosbeak (Pheucticus melanocephalus) is a medium-sized, seed-eating bird in the family Cardinalidae. It is sometimes considered conspecific with the rose-breasted grosbeak (P. ludovicianus) with which it hybridizes on the American Great Plains.

The 19 cm (7.5 in) long, 47 g (1.7 oz) black-headed grosbeak is a migratory bird, with nesting grounds from southwestern British Columbia, through the western half of the United States, into central Mexico. It occurs as a vagrant further south in Central America.

Description

Photograph of female
The female of this species looks similar to the female of the rose-breasted grosbeak and is best separated on geographical range.

Measurements:[2]

  • Length: 7.1–7.5 in (18–19 cm)
  • Weight: 1.2–1.7 oz (34–48 g)
  • Wingspan: 12.6 inches (32 cm)

The black-headed grosbeak is similar in size to a common starling. As per its name, the male has a black head, and black wings and tail with prominent white patches. Its breast is dark to tawny orange in color, and its belly is yellow. The female has a brown head, neck, and back with sparrow-like black streaks. She also has white streaks down the middle of her head, over her eyes, and on her cheeks. Her breast is white, and wings and tail are grayish-brown with two white wing bars and yellowish wing edges.

 


Nova Scotia's 2023 Premier Bird, the Grey-crowned Rosy Finch

December 02, 2023

I first photographed the Grey-crowned Rosy Finch January 23, 2023. It is Nova Scotia's first confirmed record. I was not satisfied with my edits from the original posting so I went back to my RAW images of last January and tried again. The finch was consuming sunflower seeds as it should to survive our nasty winter and these seeds do compromise the photos around the beak, but who cares?

Grey-crowned Rosy Finch

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Sanderlings and Friends

November 22, 2023

There was a shorebird melee at Sandy Cove's Beach in Halifax. I found European Starlings (always present year round), Sanderlings, Semipalmated Sandpipers, Black Ducks, and one Bairds Sandpiper.

European Starlings

Sanderlings

Black Ducks and Sanderlings

Sanderlings, Semipalmated Sandpipers and one Baird's Sandpiper


Yellow-breasted Chat

November 22, 2023

This beautiful Yellow-breasted Chat will try to overwinter in our merciless climate. I had one in my back yard for some time several years ago as I attempted to save it. I fed it grape jelly, suet, red grapes and peanut butter all combined in a mesh bag heated by flood lights so they would be constantly warm. The chat would even stand on the lights to warm up. Yet for all my effort it still vanished. It must have build up enough body fat to make a run for the Carolinas. I hope so.

Yellow-breasted Chat

 


Even More Sandhill Crane Photographs

November 22, 2023

The Sandhill Crane family continues to linger and feed in the corn field stubble. I have photographed them in previous years scratching away the snow to find the corn so they may stay awhile yet. The corn field stubble makes for the worst possible background to photograph these elegant birds.

Sandhill Cranes

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