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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)

Turtle nest update:  Nothing had changed today.  If nothing changes and the nest has not hatched by Wednesday, we will excavate to evaluate what has happened.  I have felt all along that it might not hatch until quite late (72-74 days) but at 74 days we are allowed to excavate the nest.  It has been very warm the past few days so the odds of hatching in the next two nights is good unless the cold nights we had earlier did something to harm the hatchlings.  Wednesday might be a very exciting nest excavation, or possibly a very sad one.  We won't know until we get into it.

Save the Turtle T-Shirts are here.  If you have ordered one and not paid now is the time.  I am getting the orders filled today and tomorrow and will be mailing out the "to go" orders by Tuesday.

The past week and a half have been so busy that it seems like I took these photos a month ago.  Having already established this one as the best watched turtle nest on the island, I have continued with my daily checking of Mrs. Green's nest, the island's last, watching for any changes that might indicate signs of baby turtles.  The rangers are checking also but I just want to see for myself if anything is happening.
It is also a time of observing small miracles of creation in nature like this miniature sculpture left from the last tide.
Watching the inhabitants of the park as they go about their daily lives.  An osprey almost catches breakfast.
Often I find feathers, such miracles of design in themselves, so perfectly formed for the job they perform, that have been shed and so end up as part of what I find to appreciate through my artist's eye, for design and composition.
I fear that as I develop the beach walkers shuffle, always looking at your feet for shells and fossils, on my daily beach walks that I will miss something important out on the water like Dolphins. Manta Rays in flight, and Whales.  It is time for the Right Whales to return for their birthing ritual and I will probably be taking a photograph of some seashell and miss seeing one breach right in front of me.
The fellow in front seems to be the choreographer saying, "All right now, on the count of three everyone swing your head around, put your left wing out, put your right wing out, and turn all about".  They probably heard the Rockettes are coming to town and are rehearsing their own routine.  Actually the birds seem to nap like this a lot basking in the warm morning sun after a chilly night.  I don't see this in the summertime.  In the hot summer they are all facing the same way into the breeze with heads held high.
Every day can be different but the next day was an unusual morning with a heavy fog.  The heads of the Mulhey Grass were hanging heavy with the moisture.  The ocean had disappeared into the mist and only at its edge could you see the faint surf.
Overhead the sun tried without success to burn off the fog.  It will be relentless and win the battle in another hour but for now it is a different world to explore.  A Cannonball Jelly which has little power over its own destiny, always at the mercy of wind, currents, and tide, has washed ashore adding an interesting subject with its pretty colored skirt and translucent body. 
I think I still had my head in the mountains when I called this a 'laurel' in the last story.  I believe it is a Wax Myrtle which is often found in the dune areas and scattered about the island.  The fruit is so waxy that it was used in candle making in olden days.  On this morning it was a busy place with lots of small birds flitting around on them.
These are located along side the walkway to the pier as these little fellows were after a morning meal.  This plain little bird is not so plain when you see the bright spots of yellow on its sides and near its tail.
Another bird perches on the top of another of the shrubs.  None were very interested in posing for a portrait.  By the time I could get focused and with the delayed shutter of a digital camera I mostly just get pictures of plants. 
A much more cooperative subject is the Prickly Pear Cactus which are plentiful in this area of the park.  Their blue green color gives a different green than the most of the other plants which are more yellow green.
The heavy fog made the end of the pier seem to disappear into the distance.  Makes one think of an old Dracula movie or some other Sci Fi scenario where some evil is lurking to surprise you.  Someone told me that a couple of days ago when they went to walk out on the pier, a big Rattler was stretched out across it.  I guess it was warming up in the sunshine after the cool night.
The birds which hang out on the point on the other side of the jetty were lost in the mist.
I kept trying to get fog photos of the ghost like birds which silently flew in and out of my limited visibility range.
Only the Ruddy Turnstones cooperated enough to have their portraits done. 
This scowling fellow let me hang out with him a bit as he was resting on one leg as they often do.  When he hopped away from me I realized the other leg was being held up because it was just a short stub.  A couple of summers ago I photographed a bird just like this with a fishing line so wrapped around its legs that it was extremely swollen.  That could be just what happened to this fellows missing lower leg.  He seemed to have adapted as so many others do to living and thriving with some amount of disability.
Finally I was able to focus and snap in time to get this flock of Brown Pelicans as they flew just over my head.
While my focus was still set a gull followed close behind.
Such a different world the fog has made and I enjoyed immensely having the time to explore it for a while.  It is fleeting as always and old Mr. Sun will quickly change it back to our predominantly sunny Florida.  Sometimes, though, what is called a Sea Fog will just suddenly roll in off the water on an otherwise sunny day and engulf the world transforming it into a mysterious retreat for those like me who think it a great adventure to have this rare event.  I had tourists in and they commented on their unhappiness at seeing it all foggy that morning and I told them I thought it was wonderful.  They were probably from Seattle.
I had a busy, busy week of wearing way too many hats.  I gave a painting demo for the Island Art Association on Tuesday evening, was in charge of a painting workshop with a reception for the students on Thursday.  Since my partner in the workshop business, Mikolean, was gone on a trip, I was also in charge of the workshop Friday through Sunday.  I was also signed up as a student.  I had to be in the meeting room early to perform my "in charge" duties of getting the room ready, painting water buckets filled, snacks out for the class; then I put on my student hat.  Shortly thereafter, at lunch I'd rush off, grab a quick burger, put on my turtle lady hat and go to the beach for "turtle nest check", and then back for afternoon class session.  On top of that it was Art Walk weekend so changing hats once again I became caterer of food and hostess for the late gallery evening on Saturday night.  In spite of that I still managed to go to O'Kane's Irish Pub and listen to music by our favorite group the Davis Turner Band.  So much for Island Time being relaxing and calm and restful, but it certainly is challenging.  I chided my younger classmates for wimping out and not showing up at O'Kanes as planned.
The time change has made it possible for me to catch a few sunsets before leaving the downtown and this was one of the recent nice ones.  Of course it makes it too late to commune with any squirrels these days because Miss Shelly is already tucked into her bed by the time I get home.  I do see her some of the mornings before I leave. 
Funny little gal as she seems to be concentrating on wanting only the sunflower seeds now.  I guess she is packing on the weight to prepare for winter and knows that they have more oily fuel for her internal furnace.  She is also still nursing her youngsters and sometimes I think that she brings her first litter of kids with her for morning eating at the squirrel feeder.  I have this one little youngster which gets pretty close sometimes when she is there as he peeps around the tree at my feet, then runs to hide.  I don't think it is one her newest litter though. 
She is due for a couple of months off duty from being a mother after she weans the new kids and before mating again in late December, time to regain that schoolgirl figure, and time to be a bit freer to come around without so much responsibility.  Then the cycle will start all over again.

It is the same with the turtle nest.  It will be the last but then next May we will start the ritual all over once again.

(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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