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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)

With so many shots of so many beautiful birds, it is difficult to select what I think you will find interesting.  I have tried to focus on more than just the birds as I finish the last half of my very fun, first visit of the season to the Alligator Farm at St. Augustine.  
This was an unusual winged thing that flew overhead but with a more predictable path than the birds take, I managed to get a pretty decent shot of it.
 
I sometimes ask myself just how many photographs of white birds is enough???  But then the one-in-a-thousand shot happens and you are hooked again into trying for something really different from anyone else.
 
Every year the gator pond changes.  Last year they removed a lot of non-native plants.  Wonder who has the job of going down into this incredible gator pit to do that job?  This year they had removed even more vegetation as well as building up mounds of dirt for the gators to climb upon and sun.  I would imagine it also has to do with creating a more suitable gator habitat, more like out in nature with even suitable nesting sites for them too.
 
The Banana Trees growing along the back have a long lasting bloom as the fruits form above while the bloom moves down the stalk.  It is such a weird looking bloom that it always reminds me of the plant in that old horror spoof that ate people, in The "Little Shop of Horrors".
 
Is this my best side???
 
Pretty in pink, pale pink at that.  Must be a youngster.
 
AWK!!!  Did I just swallow a bug???
 
Walking a twig 50 feet in the air is not for beginners.
 
Lookout Momma, Daddy's got a brand new twig.
 
Foolhardy or brave, sometimes it's hard to know the difference in life...
 
...yea though I walk through the valley of shadow of death, I shall fear no evil...
 
I feel pretty, oh so pretty, that I hardly can believe I'm real...
Looking very much as if he is dressed for a fancy ball this little fellow about 2 feet high will strut, croak his sound, fight with any other males who get close and in spite of his brutish behavior, will finally attract a female whose judgment at that time you might question.  They do a very interesting mating dance on the ground, then proceed to build a crude nest.  Once built they will mate without much ceremony after all that build up and then produce their nest of 3 to 5 beautiful blue eggs.  Both will sit on the eggs, taking turns until their youngsters hatch.  They are good parents, and meticulous house keepers cleaning any debris from their messy kids out of the nest.  These beautiful feathers, as were those of the Great White Egret, were so prized that they sold for up to $32 an ounce in the 19th and early 20th century, by weight more valuable than gold, which sold for about $15 an ounce.  This even impacted their species' survival chances, until some protection came along.
 
But nothing is more beautiful and graceful then the dance of a Great White as he tries to attract the love of his life.  First he spreads that great abundance of delicate mating plumage into a peacock like spread.  He bends his knees lowers his head and...
 
majestically begins to move upward...
 
in a slow, smooth dance of elegance...
 
until it seems he can reach no higher...
 
He holds this position for a few seconds and then lowers himself in the same graceful way.  Sometimes to repeat the motion and sometimes to just sit for a while with his feathers still in the displaying position.
 
This Roseate with some eye catching, ripe-for-mating colors, grabs a nap in the middle of all this mating and building energy.
Keeping up appearances is very important at a time like this.
 
Even the great big tortoises are showing signs of amorous activities or at least the old big boy from last year is up to his old woman chasing ways.  I'm not sure if he ever succeeds or is just considered a dirty old man by the young gals in the pen, but he was pretty successfully out run by this gal who took the high road by heading up the ramp and then did a quick right hand maneuver over the side...leaving Lover Boy in her dust.  Actually it all took place in slow tortoise fashion and they don't ever go fast enough to raise any dust.
 
Leaving the old guy with a disgruntled look on his face and perhaps thoughts of "better luck next time", as he never seems to tire of the chase.
 
A new gator addition was this very pretty wooden bench.  One gator I wish I had on my porch.
 
Other new additions which gave me the feeling that The Farm is heading toward a more commercial direction was the addition of a new zip line business.  You can now take a zip line over the alligator farm.  This big truck was parked along side the street where it could be seen by passersby.  Not sure I like this change.  I much prefer the serious zoological park, but these are hard times and everyone is using their creativity to come up with new ideas for generating income.  Feeding and caring for all those exotic animals is never easy nor cheap.
 
It will be an interesting week for us as our own nest will be quite full.  We will have 4 college co-eds visiting for a week soaking up the sunshine and beach; they have come all the way from the damp, cold Northwest.  My brother's only daughter, Amy, who has 4 male siblings, will be bringing 3 college friends to the sunny south for Spring break.  I am very excited about having her here.  She is a very special, sweet and intelligent, gal and it will be a great time to get to know her a bit better since she has always lived far away from me.  I'm sure it will be fun with lots of pictures to share next week.
(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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