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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
http://www.sandrabaker-hinton.com
http://www.ameliasanjongallery.com
Amelia Island Artists Workshop (for workshop schedules)


Something worthwhile to do for our military.  If you own a vacation property here at the beach, at the mountians, or wherever, that you rent, and sometimes during your "off season" it is sitting empty, why not donate that space for a serviceman or woman who is coming home on "leave" to have to take their family to for a vacation to spend some real quality time together?  You can contact Robert Peters at 904-206-1578 or Angel Sizemore 904-254-5163 at "Warrior Vacations" http://www.warriorvacations.org.  Several of the local restaurants and merchants will also be offering meals and special discounts for these visitors.

......Coming in September......




.....and now the story...
 
When I arrive at the fort in the mornings I have to unlock a gate to get thorough to the beach.  I was
surprised to have some company waiting when I re-entered the buggy.  I shooed him out only to have
 him or a cousin rejoin me at the same spot on Friday.  Today I found he had ridden with me back
to the shop.
Last week was full of other fun surprises with 3 nests in three days in the park.
 
The best surprise on Monday was something I had not experienced in the park since I have been
doing patrol, a GREEN TURTLE nest.  There are distinctive differences between a Green and a
Loggerhead track.  First, instead of an alternating gait you get a parallel one as if she had been doing
a breast stroke.  Then the tail drag.  Each stoke in her crawl, her tail makes a "dot" in the line it leaves,
as in: dot, dash, dot, dash up the entire center of the track.
 
...and then there's the nest.  It looks a lot like a bomb crater.  Much larger than the Loggerhead's.
Lets just hope she really left some eggs in that pile of sand.  It takes them about twice as long to lay
their eggs.
 
The weekends are busier with the sand full of tracks, along with more trash than usual, and often
surprises like this nicely built sand castle which leaves me with a smile and an appreciation for the
intent that went into its construction.
 
Sometimes these guys scurry away so quickly, disappearing into a hole and other times they just
stop, -thinking I won't see them. 
 
I should have an "I brake for butterflies" bumper sticker.  This Palimedes Swallowtail kept alighting in
front of me.  This species uses the Red Bay tree as its host and these trees are dying out, so there is concern
 for the butterfly's survival.  Butterflies are totally picky when it comes to what they want their
offspring to eat.
 
In my own backyard this dragonfly who had obviously had a close encounter with a spider web
had a most interesting eye pattern.
 
A spider had also left its mark on my African Iris.  These are such beautiful, although fleeting, flowers.
Their longevitity is that they bloom all year but each bloom is only open for a day.  They help compensate
for our not being able to grow the Bearded Iris down here.
 
The Least Tern with her two chicks are hanging out in the same area as the Plover which also has
chicks.  They don't seem to mind each other but the Terns very much mind humans traipsing through. 
This Monday they were diving at the Outward Bound kids jogging through their area.
 
Nest 8 had been found on Tuesday and then with Wednesday Nest # 9 would round out our week's
nesting activity.  So far we are right up with last years tally in the park.  On the rest of the island we are
quickly catching up with last year's total overall numbers .
 
Strong thundershowers threatened more than they produced.  This one, as unbelieveably threatening as it was,
did not give us one drop of rain.  Finally, on Sunday night a strong thunderstorm knocked out our
electricity island-wide for about an hour.
 
But earlier Sunday afternoon was nice.  Although hot there was a great breeze blowing up the river off
the ocean defeating the heat.  It is summer.  Fishing off the bridge with Jeff and Fran was the plan. 
 
There is never a time when there is no one on the fishing bridge.  It is the old bridge to the island
which was left for what it is now, a fishing bridge, when the new one was built.  It is part of the Amelia
State Park. 
 
Although an unplanned "catch and release" day with nothing keepable we at least got to feel
the thrill of the catch if not the taste.  We were entertained with the overhead clouds which kept
changing from one beautiful formation after another.
 
The view from the marsh is spectatular when the clouds are doing their thing.
 
The tide was receding and the clouds were building up.  Once a dark, ominous sounding cloud
came from the West, we decided it was time to depart.  Jeff, who had literally nearly been electrocuted
once upon a time, with the skin grafts to prove it on his heels and wrists, has no desire to tangle
with lightening ever again, and neither did we.
 
We dumped out our keeping size Blue Crab so that I could get some photos of his beautiful
colors before releasing him.  He was so aggressive that if we reached down into his water
bucket prison to rinse our hands he attacked.  You can see it's one claw in ready position. 
He likely had a close encounter prior to ours and lost a claw.  In a flash, before I could
even get a decent photo, he dived down a drain hole in the bridge and was back in the river.
 
A large pod of dolphins were playing in the river this Monday.  They seemed so large I was beginning
to think I had some small whales, the way they were slapping their tails.
 
There are few things harder to photograph well, than a dolphin.  There has been one in the harbor recently
which seems to possibly be an escapee from captivity.  It comes up to boats and comes up out of the
water begging for fish.
 
Finally; some good shots of our baby Ospreys.  Their speckled wings show that they are the chicks
They were sitting on the edge of the nest watching attentively as the guys from the power company
were working below to restore the park's electricity knocked out by the previous night's storm.  Some
are saying there are 3 in there but so far all I have seen is the two.
It was an odd week with much to see.  Monday afternoon was to give me another opportunity
to see and do something out of the ordinary with an invitation by friends to accompany them to
the Georgia Sea Turtle Center, but that has to be another story for another day.