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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)

Someone requested that I add a friend this week to my email list and I unfortunately lost the name.  If you want to add someone you, or they, can go to the website http://www.ameliasanjongallery.com and hit the sign up button and sign up.  If you would prefer, you may resend to me I will do it for you.  Also in cleaning up email lists I would remind you that you can also "unsubscribe" if you do not wish to get the stories by hitting the "unsubscribe" link provided.
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Lots of Flying Things
 
I am working on 3 commission pieces which are on a tight deadline so I have been working without a day off for what feels like 5 months, but might actually be a week and a half or so.  Bruce's car has been down for a week, and repair has been delayed another couple of days, to order more parts.  Meanwhile he's dropping me at the Gallery in the mornings.
  Often he goes with me, the days I check the turtle nest and the evenings when I check for signs of hatching.  Most of the time he walks with me to check the nest and that is kind of nice since with the gallery so demanding of our time we don't get much time to do things together outside the home front.  Not going in early, as during regular season, we just missed what was surely a great sunrise.  It was still nice with a flock of Pelicans just skimming the surface of the water.
 
A closer shot of them shows the wonderful morning light highlighting the wave as it broke with the Pelicans starting to land on the surface behind it.
 
I know, more bird shots, but when they fly it becomes a different thing particularly when the sun is just behind them making it more of a painting than a photograph.
 
Without the backlighting of the sun, the reflections become more interesting with a mirror-like image, as they are engaged in their landing formations.
 
It was the day after Thanksgiving and I take a few minutes to stroll around town to see all the fun going on with the big (I know big is a relative term) downtown Pajama Party.  As I walked down the street I noticed that there were Christmas wreaths on the windows of the Florida House,  This was an exciting event since the Inn had been taken over by the bank and was closed back in the summer.  With a new owner, lots of remodeling work has been going on all through Fall, and now the sign on the door says it will re-open in December.  Yea!!  It was going to be a sad end for Florida's oldest continously operated Inn to be closed down and left in a state of disrepair.  Now it has a new face and and someone who can care for it, ghosts and all.
 
 
It was early, only about 8:30am but the streets were already starting to fill up.  Guys and gals both old and young were dressing in their jammies and house shoes.  The cute little gals with the horns were seranading everyone with Christmas carols.  Ron, in the green jammies, was doing what a lot of husbands do, sit on a bench while the wife shopped but he had his jammies on.
 

It was a very fun and festive atmosphere.
 
Stores and galleries were all decked out in Christmas trimmings with their doors standing open.
 
John Batchelor, spousal unit of Suzanne, one of the Blue Door artists, was all decked out in a night shirt and cap looking like he just stepped out of "The Christmas Carol" pages.  His British accent absolutely fit the image.
 
It was a long day but it had a beautiful ending, as my driver and I took a turn around the parking lot with Bruce checking out the best spots and directing the shots.
 
On Monday evening we made a check of the nest in hopes that it might be ready to hatch.  As I stepped out of the car I was surprised by the Metlife blimp overhead.  Not a usual sight for our little island especially in the park.
 
As we headed on over to the beach I saw that something unusal was happening.  The Pelicans were looking like kamikaze piliots as they dove straight down into the water creating a big splash.  Evidently there was a large school of fish which had attracted them to a big food fest.  Where was my fishing rod when I needed it? 
 
The stakes of our nest have been closed in since we now know it's exact location.  I called the State Wildlife turtle people to see if we could excavate the nest and move in into a warm area with the pending cold weather fast closing in.  We went from mid 80's to lows in the low 40's in 24 hours.  I was told no way, no how.  We were to leave them in place.  I was assured that there are several of these nests and that in the past many of them were able to hatch with nature finding a way for them to go for long periods of time in cold weather and yet emerge; so we wait and watch.  So nature is to take its course.
 
A panorama of the evening's sunset was very pretty as we left without any sign of turtle hatchings.
 
My next turtle day was a day with overcast skys and rain due in to precede the hard hitting cold front.  I have discovered those are the days that you can see the irridescent colors more than days with sunshine.  I was surprised to make that discovery.  I was trying to get a shot without my own reflection in it.  I almost succeeded.  Problem is, though, if you can't see yourself, you don't see the reflections of light.
 
The buzzards were on the beach dining on a Stingray carcass.  They flew when I approached.
 
When I crossed over the boardwalk to leave I found them patiently waiting for me to leave so they could finish dinner.
 
Next morning as I passed the pool which traps the minnows at low tide I had a new friend hanging out there which I had not seen in the area before.  A young Woodstork which still has his juvenile feathers was sitting above the pool.  I think this is the first time I have seen one at this age.  I bet he thinks he is hot stuff finding such an easy place to fish.  He still has his gray downy head feathers and his head has not turned the characteristic wrinkley black yet.  Although it looks like he just stopped to chat he was actually giving me a boring yawn, probably sleepy after filling his tummy.
 
The surf was very rough, even though it wasn't that windy at the time.
 
When the water is that rough it makes a lot of mist in the air.  It was almost like a heavy fog but with the sun shining in the other direction.  Every day is different on the beach, and with the winter weather the beach becomes a different place with fewer people.  I am glad that I am still out there, finding out what I have been missing during cool weather when I usually hibernate inside, waiting for spring and taking a break from turtle patrol. 
 
This very poor photo is our newest adoptee.  Over night it changed into a chrysalis.  I always knew it was a chrysalis but I thought it was woven like a cocoon.  I was very surprised when I saw the video showing the process that really happens.  So the skin that this caterpillar is wearing was shed that night as the chrysalis underneath was secreted.  Now it is a waiting game once more as it forms its new self.  Unlike Sea Turtles our waiting period is only days and not months.  Do you put a butterfly outside in freezing weather??? Do they immediately migrate to their winter home???  I can see there is lots to know about these beautiful creatures but what I do know is the metamorphsis is truly a miraculous event and I am anxious to witness a part of it.


(Please take a moment to consider:
These photo-stories have always been offered completely free, to simply share the wonders of nature, and life on the Island. 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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