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Amelia SanJon Gallery
Amelia Island Artists Workshop
Sandra Baker-Hinton
218A Ash Street., Fernandina Beach, FL 32034
904-491-8040,  904-557-1195 cell
Amelia Island Artists Workshop (for workshop schedules)
Margaret Dyer Opening Reception
for her Pastel Paintings
Thursday Evening 5:30-8:30
at Amelia SanJon Gallery.
 Before heading out on my first beach patrol missions, I pause to enjoy and appreciate my immediate
surroundings including my favorite inhabitant, Shelly Squirrel.  
Here is a "Shelly update" for all of those who ask. She is still hanging around, nearly
every day, sometimes quite literally.
I never was able to actually see her offspring as she was a good mom and
kept them hidden and was protective if I got too close to the nest area doing
her tail waving and warning noises that I shouldn't come too close.
She still comes to us regularly for her pecan treats.  It seems she has weaned
her young and will probably be ready in a short time to start the cycle all over
She comes to Bruce as well as to me.  Sometimes she finds it easier to sit in the dish and make
 her own selections.  She has learned that in the end when she has filled her tummy or is bored
with pecans we will give her a whole nut to take home to hide.  When her saturation point arrives
she will start climbing around on us looking for the "big" nut in our hands or checking out our pockets. 
She is not quite sure from whence this treat comes, just that it is somewhere besides the dish.
The "big" nut gives us an escape also back to our own space when she leaves find a hiding place. 
This time when she was full and I was out of nuts I followed her back to her own turf in the neighbor's
yard where her comfort zone is better.  She became more playful with a game of hide and seek and
squirrel tag.  
I was at the marina last week to watching a lovely pastel sunset.  It was very calm and lavender.
There were some very interesting reflections in the water especially when a drop of water caused
 ripples.  I love the abstracted art I find there. 
This one was especially interesting.
The Monday after Shrimp Festival I was back to doing Turtle Patrol.  Every year I usually
see a pair of ducks near the pier.  I was surprised to see this fellow on the pier. Maybe he had
lost his lady and needed a bird's eye view to find her.
The beach is always different and yet always the same.  Even after a storm changes the shore line
it seems to quickly restore itself and fill in the gaps.  This morning I had just missed the submarine
heading out to sea.  It's accompanying tug was just making its way back into the river.
As is usual the Horseshoe Crabs precede the Sea Turtles in nesting activities and keeps our minds
occupied while we wait.  This fellow was missing several of his pinchers.  You can see the 3 holes
where he has tried to right himself with his tail but it's an impossible feat once they are on their backs.
One of our workshops was also going on the first week of turtle patrol and we all fell in love with the
instructor, Jane Angelhart, who came from Denver.  Jane in turn has fallen in love with the island and
is making serious sounds about moving here, especially since finding snow on the ground when she
returned to Colorado.
Her class learned about painting watercolor portraits from photographs.  Pretty impressive results
 and all the students felt  they had learned a lot.  She will make a nice addition to the island if
she should move.
These birds are running along as we hop skip each other as I travel down the shore line.  They fly
ahead then I catch up and as I pass they fly ahead once again.  We are still waiting to spot our
first Wilson's Plover chicks.
The Prickly Pear and the Stinging Nettle found a common ground more than just their
ability to inflict pain.  A spot to admire but not to touch.
The gulls and terns all hang out together with thoughts of romance in many of their minds.  Lots of
courting and mating beginning these days with them.  More "intimate" coverage of these activities later.
The Ospreys' nest is already busy with Alpha, the male, bringing the morning's catch home to Little
Girl and their chicks which are still too young to be visible from below.
A different kind of turtle rescue with one of the only two box turtles I have seen since moving here.  I
lifted him off to the side of the road fearing a squishing end otherwise.  I had to remove a snake from
the middle of the street beside the gallery the other night.  Evidently it liked the warmth of the
pavement.  The beautiful burnt sienna spotted Corn Snake was stretched across one lane of
the street.    We argued a bit about whether he was going to move but in the end armed with a long
stick I prevailed.
This Horseshoe Crab couple had quite a walk about.  For some reason they sometimes get disoriented
and roam around on the beach ending up getting stuck in the sand unable to extract themselves.
As is often the case it was a pair.  I had started digging the Mr. out and began to think that
Mrs. Crab had lost her tail but finally it appeared as I uncovered her.  It took a bit of digging to
extricate this couple of lovers.
I usually carry them back but in this case I left them to head out on their own.  When I returned the
female had still not made it back with her heavier larger body.  I set her into the water and she was
probably relieved to once again have buoyancy to move freely.
Pretty patterns in the tidal pool bottom.
The low sun combined with the dark organic material in the watery sand had accentuated the
patterns.  During the winter a lot of new beach sand had been added in a cooperative effort between
 the Navy assuring the channel is deep enough for the submarines and the park which had lost sand
 due to storms.  The beach is wider with more sharks teeth being found.  Ever changing but remaining
the same.  Each day as you spend time there you will see or find some new little treasure to behold
with your eyes or a fossil millions of years old to tuck into your pocket.
 Lets hope it can remain that way but with threats from man and nature always a possibility we
are always wary.  This keeps us humble though as we see the power of nature in this massive
body of water at our doorstep.