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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)
Notice about Turtle Nest Excavations:  I am compiling a NEW list of those who definitely wish to receive a notice of Nest Excavations (this is not about receiving these regular stories).  Please just reply to this email and I will know to add you to the list.  I figured it was pointless for some of you in Up State NY to tell you there was a nest excavation tomorrow at 7 AM and I was becoming a pest in clogging up your busy email.  If you have already responded (to the previous note) do not respond again.  
Here is what I know of this week.  We do not have any in the park scheduled right now.

Tues. 7/27, 7 AM Access to Summer Beach or walk from Scott Road Beach Access approx 1/2 mile South
Tues. 7/27, 7:15 PM South of the Ritz Carlton, Park at Scott Road Beach Access & walk North to the Ritz area.
Tues. 7/27, 7:30 PM Ocean Aven near 3rd and Ocean
Wed. 7/28, 7 AM, Middle of Carlton Dunes South of Peter's Point Park
Wed. 7/28, 7:30 PM Just North of Beach Access 40.  Limited parking at Access 40 and more at Bill Melton Road.
 This Story begins with 'The Trutle Trot Painting'
The painting continues to progress day by day.  The photographer came this week to get started on the publicity for the Turtle Trot race.  Since I was nowhere near being finished I suggested his readers might like to see the work in progress.  You can go to their website if you would like to join in the run, walk or whatever you want to do to earn your T-Shirt.

If you cannot be here or don't want to do the race but would like a T-Shirt I will be taking orders and will let you know what, when and how much as soon as I find out.  Mine are NOT the official runner's shirt but will say "Save the Turtles" instead but it will have the same picture on the front and same design.  I don't yet know how much but I will offer different styles of shirt like I did last year.  I will not order extras to have in the gallery.
This was the progress up until yesterday.  I won't be back in the studio until Tuesday so this is how it will stay until then.  Arriving in the park is always a pleasant way to start the day off right.
  Just riding underneath the canopy of Live Oaks and Spanish Moss, or the beach itself, or enjoying the sight of the critters I spot on the way to the beach, all of it is nice.  The mornings are pretty interesting; no matter what is encountered, it will be something from which to learn lessons in nature.  It did not suddenly turn frigid causing Lisa to don earmuffs.  You may recall the engine being very loud on the beach buggy, so I and my riders wear hearing protection now to preserve our hearing.  That Osprey sat in the same place the whole time we did our ride.  The Shrimpboat was very pretty as it headed out for the day.  Rescuing Mr. Crab was good, with a couple of others we found not being in good enough shape to survive.  They can live for quite a while out of the water but there is a limit.
On Monday after Turtle Patrol a friend invited me to join her for a quick trip to the Alligator Farm to see if it was still possible to get pix of the Roseate Spoonbill chicks before they left their nest.  The gators were our first encounter; from the little ones, the albino one, and the busy pond full of them over which the birds all nest.  Mr. Gator in the bottom corner looks like he needs an orthodontist.  Sharon my vet dentist friend may need to make a "house call" to them, -quite an overbite on that lower jaw.  I don't usually see them up on all fours like the one in the center as these are usually a pretty lazy crew.
But with so many of these little fledglings hanging out trying out their wings and forays to the ground, like the Little Snowy in the bottom who seems to be playing "I Dare You" with the gator in the water, the gators were pretty aggressively trying their luck at bird hunting.  Egret, BTW, tastes just like chicken!
Babies are big and begging from bedraggled moms who seem to be ready for them to move out of the nest.  Empty nest syndrome can't come too soon for them.
Sibling fighting for food and position sometimes gets quite vicious.  Many nests which had three now have two which may attest to the deadly consequences of some of these battles.  Plus for the gators.
Learning aerodynamics is good when one has wings this large.  Many of the fledgling Woodstorks seemed to just sit on the tip top of the Woodstork tree with their wings spread feeling the breeze on those majestic wings.  It won't be very long before they will be soaring overhead in what is their most beautiful form. 
Finally one of our Roseate families showed up.  Youngsters were flying now although not too gracefully as I saw one miss his landing and dropped like a rock downward.  I am sure he made a recovery but learning these skills is necessary to survival.  Mom was still feeding them. 
Careful little one, its a long, long way down from that snag.
Little Mr. Greenlegs here is hanging out, not quite as grown up as many of the others, just dangling those feet over the edge of the nest waiting until the time when he too will be creating a some of the uproar.
Still in that gangly stage where one can look pretty goofy.
This old snag which is very high up is a favorite with all the birds as you will see first one then another of the various species there.  This was my only shot of the Little Blue Herron.
A few of the birds are still sitting on eggs.  This Cattle Egret had raised up for a minute to turn eggs and take a break to stretch before settling back to the grind of egg sitting.  Rest up girlie, it won't be long before you will be run ragged by demanding offspring.
Now it is the Tri Colored Heron's turn to sit and view the world from the high snag perch.
More fighting over food this time...yes, that's mom's head which is the object of the sharp beaks from her loving children.
Snag rights fight, as these two sibling Tri Colored Heron fledglings jockey for position.  One won and was left to proudly sit on the tippy-top all by himself for a brief period.
The scraggly fledglings do finally start to acquire the poise and stature of their parents.  These two seem to be posing for a new postage stamp or an Audubon poster.  Finally the heat and the question of, "just how many white bird photos per trip does one need", persuades us to try for a cooler place like the air conditioned car and heading north.  After all this was to be a short trip but it is hard to call it quits when there is still just one more great shot to make.
We left by way of the Giant Tortoise pens and being the turtle person that I am I have to take a little time here.  They were a bit more animated than usual.  Mr. Big Tortoise decided it was time to try mating with the little miss in the foreground who quickly departed in full gallop, with a "no way, Jose" comment for the Mister. 
My son David came up for a night of camping and an excuse for me to visit Fort Clinch in the evening.  We cooked burgers, watched the river activity and hoped to see a sunset but although very calm and peaceful it was not an outstanding sunset.  I did find some good fossils on the river beach.  The campsite with the lighted, animated flamingo was not my son's.  I just think it very interesting the extent campers go to bring "home" with them when they go camping.  I come from a very different mind set as a backpacker and trying to lighten your load and keep it as simple as possible.
July is such an exciting time.  We still have nest being laid with number 15 already in place now and also our first nests are starting to hatch.  The tiny flipper prints of the hatchlings from this nest mimic the larger ones belonging to mom but in small scale.
Outside my front door I now have a spider condo being built.  Usually I move them away but these have been so interesting to watch that I have just enjoyed them.  The big Banana Spider along with two other orb building spiders of a different species have their intricately constructed webs going in three different directions but together.  At first I thought it was one spider doing all that but then I realized it was 3 spiders with two being quite small and are green with an iridescent red spot on them which catches the light like a tail light.  The other night the very large Mrs. B. S. (Banana Spider) decided she needed to get rid of her old frock and have a new dress.  I did not know they did this when they outgrew the old body covering.  She just wiggled out of her old skin and quickly became a new larger version of herself.  The middle "spider" is actually just the empty skin of Mrs. B. S.  The small one is her adoring male.  He stays close by sometimes moving away then moving in closer to tickle her tummy for a while.  Lisa tells me she is not the kind which bites hubby's head off when they have finished mating so I was grateful for that.  Hate for the little fellow to give up his life in the name of love.
And so with my porch looking like Halloween I leave them so that I can just wittness the magic of their lives up close and very personal.  Nature is an amazing place with so much to see and observe.  Each species has their own set of rules and adhere strictly to them.  In doing so they ensure the survival of the next generation.

(Please take a moment to consider:
These photo-stories have always been offered completely free, to simply share the wonders of nature. Thousands of hours have been poured into them and it has even become necessary to enlist the services of a paid email service to send out the large numbers who now receive them. So, with the current  economic situation if you are able to make a small donation to help ensure the continuation of the stories it would be greatly appreciated.)

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