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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)


Saturday night's Art Walk will demonstrate the versatility of owner/artist Sandra Baker-Hinton's style.  Two acrylic paintings finished within a couple of weeks of each other, using a lot of the same color palette but with a very different outcome.  The first is a 30 x 40 piece which is a realistic landscape of the setting sun over the marsh on the south end of Amelia Island.  The other a 4'x 5' acrylic abstract landscape depicting the style you will often find in Sandra's more contemporary pieces.

New jewelry by Sandra Hunter will also be shown, along with new Giclee Prints from one of her North Georgia friends and watercolor artist, Doris Maples, some of which were inspired by our marsh birds in photographs gleaned from Sandra's photo/story blog. 
 
Marsh Point

 
Across the Miles

It has been an exciting two weeks in the park for Sea Turtles.  We have doubled our nest numbers.
For two days in a row I had this pair of Black Ducks near the pier, which look very much like Mallards, except the colors on the male are not as pretty and they have an olive green beak.  I was hoping that we could add their nest numbers to our count of bird nests, when I saw them making their way up over the escarpment to the Sea Oat area.  I have not seen them since so maybe not.  I have seen one duck hanging out on the beach a little further west so maybe mom is sitting on a nest and dad is collecting food.
 
Almost disappearing into the same color sand was this Great Blue Heron.
 
Another family, gathering from as far away as the Midwest, to greet their loved ones who have been away on the incoming
submarine for two months.  They were very excited, scanning the water with binoculars.  I told them they were still some time from the arrival, as the tug was just on its way out.
 
A photo of nest number 3 which is where we left off with the last story.  I think each track tells a separate story and each is in its own way different.  This one left one of those long ones which make it hard to determine the exact location of the eggs.
 
We had the threat of rain but that was all, just a brief hope and nothing in the way of drops to wet our very dry ground.  It rained in Jacksonville but we only got about 3 drops, then the skies closed back up.  The smoke has been apparent several times from the Okefenokee Swamp so rain would certainly be a blessing for us all.
 
Many hours were spent by some child building this great little Robinson Crusoe house even down to the furniture.  Quite an engineering feat to get all those sticks to stand up and allow work inside to commence.
 
The baby Wilson's Plovers have not been as visible as in years past.  I see the parents but have a hard time seeing the kids.  This one had hunkered down behind the wrack trying to make himself invisible.  Reminds me of my brother who thought if he closed his eyes no one could see him.
 
Although they usually have three offspring, it is apparently rare for them to completely raise all three.  The ones I have observed seem to just to have one surviving chick, although this morning I was able to spot two for this mom.
 
I got these photos of the fireworks the other night from my neighbor to the South, the Ritz Carlton.  I stood out in the street in front of my real next door neighbors to get these shots because I feared I would not have time to get to the beach to see them.  Pretty cool to have fireworks for no apparent reason suddenly appear above your treetops.
 
The drawback of not knowing when it will happen is that I miss the lower ones like this splendid finale which made my trees look like they were on fire.
 
I have had several grasshopper-type hitch hikers this year.  This one was sitting on my shorts leg and had very interesting colors with a golden back.  But the most exciting event was that we had a new nest; one that is even exciting for the whole island.
 
A Leatherback, one of our more elusive and endangered Sea Turtles, has nested just South of the pier at Fort Clinch.  One of my other park rangers discovered it on the day before so by the time I found it the tracks had already been driven over with the beach buggy so my photos of the rare tracks were not as nice as I would have liked.  You can still see the distinctive curvy track that they take.
 
The width of the track rules out any other turtle at 6 1/2 feet.  The largest of these turtles ever recorded was slightly over 2000 pounds.  They are the giants of the reptile world, a throwback to the day of the Dinosaurs.  They travel thousands of miles, able to endure much cooler temperatures than other turtles, and diving to depths of 3500 feet.  Amazing creatures. 
 
We had a Leatherback last year also, after many years of not having one visit the island.  It was a major event, so we are very excited to have one in the park.
 
This one section gives you an idea of the wavy track they take on their way in and the compaction of the sand gives and idea of their weight.
 
The nest is huge; no telling where the eggs are, although I have had three crabs digging in it, which will give us an idea of the location of the nest chamber.  I use them to help me determine other turtle egg locations.  Ghost Crabs love turtle eggs, and these large tennis ball size eggs would be a "real deal" meal for them.
 
Clouds kept flirting with us but no rain has fallen into what should be our rainy season, with afternoon showers becoming an almost daily occurrence, sending tourists scurrying off the beach and into town, to buy lots of things.  Or is it just a nap they seek?
 
The Little Snowy Egret which hangs out at the fort was trying to hold really still waiting for a fish to wander into his striking range.
 
Further on down the beach Alpha, the daddy Osprey, had caught a Flounder, one which I would have been happy to have found on the end of my line.
 

By the time I leave the park Little Girl was feeding her chicks the nice Flounder breakfast.  A very satisfying week to have in the park with nest number 5, a river nest, and 6, an ocean front nest, also appearing on the beach for me to find causing a very long and tiring morning.  It starts to get hot by the time you get around to staking off that second nest.  A shower will feel really good, but having our nest numbers double in the time period of a week is great.

(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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