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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)

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These photo-stories have always been offered completely free, to simply share the wonders of nature. Thousands of hours have been poured into them
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economic situation if you are able to make a small donation to help ensure the continuation of the stories it would be greatly appreciated.)



Now to the Story!
Although
a productive week with the Sea Turtles it has been a hot one with near record breaking temperatures.  I'm thankful for the ocean breeze and the early hours I am outside.  With Lisa back to do turtle patrol we started off with a bang with two nests for our first two days.  We would love on the island to break our record of 150 nests.  So far we are up to 125.
It is great having Lisa to help with the nest marking.  It takes about half the time.  Lisa and the buggy can give you an idea of the size of the turtle tracks, and although it is hard to do, you could miss seeing one by misjudging where that last high tide line was.  This is nest #11 found on Monday.
 
This particular Loggerhead Turtle left very clear tracks, and except for the Ghost Crab's trek across, they were virtually untouched.  Her drag mark running down the center of the track was probably left by a barnacle stuck on her underneath because a Loggerhead doesn't have a long enough tail to leave that kind of mark and it was on the incoming and outgoing tracks so not the result of a sagging "cloaca" (think that is correct spelling), an after effect of egg laying.  You would have a few sagging parts also if you just laid a 100 eggs.
 
In the hard wet sand you can see the flipper mark which leaves the upside down comma track so distinctive to the species in the softer sand.
 
Wednesday was equally productive.  No sooner than I had the words out of my mouth that it sure was strange not having any nests on the river side
Lisa started pointing.  Sure enough our first river nest of the season laid just East of the Fort.
 
Well, as they say 2 out of three ain't bad.  With high expectations for Friday we had to content ourselves with checking our existing nests and looking in on our many bird chicks which are fast growing into adulthood.  I am saddened by the fact that I have not had time to get back to the Alligator Farm to get photos of the baby Roseate Spoonbills which are also fast growing up.  This is a very lucky momma Plover because she has managed to raise all three of her chicks without losing any thus far.
 
I am happy to report that we do have quit a large group of Least Terns this year.  They were hanging out with their chicks on the river near their nesting site.  The chicks are flying now and hanging out with the adults.  There were 4 or 5 regular gulls hanging out with them but at least 35 of these were Least Terns.
 
Shelly is still very busy hiding nuts.  She still has that healthy rosy glow of what could be signs of a new family coming and the reason for the heightened interest in storing up a stash of nuts.
 
The patterned back of these Least Terns, the ones which we have been watching with their mom recently show that they are quickly loosing that baby look making them hard to distinguish from the adults without the aid of the camera's zoom.
 
Friday Lisa and I observed an unusual set of tracks on the river beach, tire tracks that is, and followed them all the way down the beach to the south boundary of the park.  On "the point" on the river it was obvious that whomever it was had almost gotten stuck in the soft sand.  Our rangers know better than to take a truck out on the beach there unless it is an emergency.  Once we got back to the northernmost part of the beach where it becomes narrow and also has no exit we realized we were following one set of tracks with no return.  As we rounded the bend next to the campground we saw the reason.  This dude had entered the beach at Main Beach and went joyriding thinking he could get out once he got to the north end.  This is highly illegal and the result is that he tried to do a little "dune jumping" when he realized his predicament.  That I might add is also very illegal.  He succeeded in getting stuck on the top of a sand dune, cracking his windshield as it looked like he wasn't wearing a seat belt when he came to this abrupt stop, getting his car impounded, and getting arrested.  It is possible his joy riding was responsible for our lack of turtle nests that morning as they have been laying about that time of the morning this year it seems.
 
Maybe this person would like to have Mr. Katydid take over his driving as he seemed to be trying to take over my driver's seat.  Not sure what it is with this vehicle and the Katydids this year.  That's 4 so far I have found in the buggy, and not all the same one as one had a leg missing, one a female and this one a male.  I'll have to get Lisa to fill me in on the life cycle of the Katydid, always a chance to learn something new.
 

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