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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)
Announcements from Amelia SanJon Gallery:

I found the first two turtle nests in the park on Memorial Day!! 
 There are 13 other nests on the rest of the island.  They are a bit slow getting started this year. 
"Must see" in the gallery is the Margaret Dyer Pastel show.  Her work is phenomenal. 
The show will stay up until the end of June.
The Margaret Dyer Workshop was a big success with 9 students studying with, and learning
from this fine artist.
Also coming for Second Saturday art walk is a special benefit show for,
the H.O.P.E. Chest Foundation of Cheers Ranch, Yulee, Florida,
which takes in abused and unwanted horses.  In past stories you may remember seeing
 horses being ridden on the beach.  This is usually done by these same folks who own 
the "Ride the Beaches" business.    If you are a horse lover, and who doesn't love these
majestic creatures, look for the invite to this event.

and now to the story...
The cycle of life continues with the mating of the Horseshoe Crabs still managing to get themselves stuck in the
sand or flipped upside down in the process.  Although it seems like there is an
abundance of these problem
children in reality hundreds of nests are laid with only a few getting
themselves stranded.
The thousands of tiny green eggs they lay not only produces little Horseshoe Crabs but is also an
important food source for the shore birds.  Green eggs and ham anyone?  Instead of putting them
back in the water we simply cleared out a pathway for them to escape their sand prison not wanting
to disturb their mating ritual and left nature to take its course.
This particular morning we noticed a submarine heading into our river.  I had no time to wait for it to
pass by, but I could see the sailor boys standing on deck waiting for their first glimpse of family. 
A special salute to all our service men and women on this Memorial Day week, especially those
who, like my dad, are no longer with us.
The first two Wilson's Plover chicks are moving quickly from spot to spot blending into the sand
as the patient parents attempt to watch over them.  Can you find the two chicks, boys and girls?
Overhead these geese were hopefully heading back to Canada, because they are a snowbird that we do
not want to stay, which many are choosing to do, becoming a big pest.
As I predicted the Alligator Farm was indeed hopping last week.  We had to go to a hastily thrown
together "rain" date but were able to squeeze in a quick trip on short notice.  It was absolutely
worth it with babies everywhere with eyes upward looking for curb service from mom and dad. 
The always photogenic Tri Colored Heron chicks are everyone's favorite with their "toe in the light
socket" hairdo.
This patient Tri Colored Mom sits on her eggs in the heat of the afternoon.  Her pale eye color was
different from the usual red.
But these guys were the stars of the day.  People of the bird paparazzi crowded together to get
photos of the beautiful Roseate Spoonbills in their more intense mating colors.  For the first time
this far north, there are in the park at least four known nests with "setting" Moms.
Their color is so much brighter with the more orange color underneath the tail making them more
beautiful than I have ever seen them.
And here is the main attraction.  A nest near enough to the boardwalk for all to be able to see chicks
when they hatch.  We are all excited about that.  One nest which is further away and more hidden has
hatched but not this nest, one.  I am anxious to see what kind of bill these chicks have when they hatch.
Feeding, which is the constant concern of the chicks and parents alike, gets more and more physical
as chicks grow.  The mother is always careful to close her eyes when all this frenzied grabbing with the
sharp beaks is going on.
Finally the reward as a mouth full of minnows "ala bird Happy Meal" is barfed up for the
eager little ones.
The Little Blue Herons are always a little more elusive and hang back further away from the
boardwalk.  One of my favorite birds.
A quiet moment with tummies full and a cat nap in order for these two siblings.  They are not always
so compatible with the larger siblings often chasing out one of the smaller ones, often to the benefit
of the waiting alligators below.  Life does not have room for much sentiment in the wild.
As the chicks grow they begin flexing those wing muscles in anticipation of that day when they also
 will go flying around the park.  He seems to be saying "this is how its done".
This seems to be a nest of Little Blue's which seem to mostly choose this palm tree as their space.
The babies are always white until they reach adult size then the color will start changing in splotches
They do have dark looking bills.
Some egg laying is still going on.  This Little Snowy Egret carefully turns her eggs to
keep them viable.
Some mating and nest building is still going on, sometimes simutaneously, with some of the late
comers, allowing plenty of time to still see lots of activity at The Alligator Farm.
Many of the Woodstorks, whose nests are mostly very high in the Woodstork tree, have chicks who
are still too small to be visible from below.
White on white, just too cute to pass up, as this little one becomes part of the Elderberry bloom.
The Cattle Egrets are also some of the more shy ones, but their chicks will soon be replenishing
this species also.  It is very exciting to be privileged to see all these birds so accessible.
I am totally spoiled by being able to have such a ring side seat to one of natures finest moments.
As usual I came home with way too many photos and not enough courage to delete duplicates
so my computer continues to pack them in.  I fear the day when it decides to implode with all
my stuff inside.  Back up, back up, always needed, but not always done.

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