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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)

News Flash:
My gallery will be open late Friday, for Friday night's "Parrothead Mania", the Sounds on Center feature of the month.  Come for the music, stop by, -say Hi!

Shoplifters on the Premises
An interesting week of events at the gallery with uninvited guests in the form of shoplifters on Monday.  Not something we like in our small town but something that happens once in a while.  These particular criminals have struck our building more than once.  When they arrived on Monday, Bruce was on duty, as always alert to criminal behavior, he felt these "customers" were acting suspicious.  Although he tried to herd them together, and watch them closely, after they left, Bruce felt we were missing some things.  It was the end of the day so Bruce closed up shop, followed them covertly, getting photographs while shooting photos from underneath his arm without aiming.  He ended up with good photos of all but one of the suspects.  I printed them and showed them to other merchants at the Merchants meeting on Tuesday.  In the meantime Carol Winner, the artist whose place is upstairs from me, identified the jewelry one of them was wearing in the photos was indeed hers.  Long story shortened, one of the people at the meeting spotted them, called the police, and they were arrested with the woman still wearing the stolen necklace.  Lets hope they all will soon be "jailbirds" instead of "free as a bird".

OMG! It's Story-time!
(Well, yeah...)
Back to continuing with the subject of birds, I recently took a trip to the Alligator Farm to "shoot" some much nicer birds, the young marsh bird chicks, before they all flew away.  My photographer friend, Lea, invited me to join her for an early Sunday morning trip to The Alligator Farm in St. Augustine a couple of weekends ago.  I still haven't sorted through all of the 1400 photos I took but I am working on it and if anything spectacular shows up you will be sure to know.
Mirror, mirror on the wall, who's the fairest of them all?  Looks like young Tri Colored is looking through the looking glass, but really just Pete and Re-Pete hanging out together.  
 
The Tri Colored Heron chicks are one of my favorite birds to shoot when they are chicks with their goofy looks and funny antics.
 
The Little Snowy Egrets are starting to get their characteristic golden slippers, topped with black stockings.
 
Some were napping in the heat.  This one sneaked a peek at the people starting to show up on the boardwalk below.  It is all a waiting game these days, waiting on food to be brought in from parents working their tail feathers off to  fill those bottomless pits.
 
In such close proximity, sometimes squabbles arise, whether between a mated couple or neighbors, who knows.  Maybe a little chastising for not showing up with food to restock the cupboard.
 
The old snag acts as a jungle gym for youngsters to explore, flex their wings, and play King of the Hill jockeying for a top position on the tree.  A good spot to get a glimpse of the big outside world they soon will be entering.
 
The twins in a more formal poise, still looking like mirror images of each other.
 
Duhhh, wha'did'ya say?
 
Breakfast is served.  Or here comes Momma or Papa as both parents share in the feeding responsibilities. 
 
Eagerly anticipated it is, that's for sure.  Cattle Egret Mom braces for what will follow as the sweet little baby draws a bead on that big yellow beak overhead.
 
Bull's-eye!! It is easy to see why it is a survival of the fittest kind of world.
 
 The adults know to close that protective film over their eyes or better yet, totally close the lids, as an act of self defense.  That's better than having to explain how you lost that eye.
The same techniques are used by all the species, some more aggressively than others.
 
The Roseate Spoonbills seem to have not quite escalated to such violence in their feeding.  Maybe that long rounded bill gives a bigger target.  Look closely and you will see the chick has its bill extended all the way down into the gullet to get the food whereas the others species depend more on mom barfing it up for them.
The Alligators were very active underneath us with my grand niece, Reagan, busy feeding them with the food you buy in machines for a quarter.  She was more interested in feeding Gators then in seeing baby birds.
 
Lots of flexing of the wings as the youngsters start practicing for that eventual first flight.  "Hey Sis, this is how its done!!!"
 
 These younger, still partially fluffy Spoonbill chicks are also looking for their breakfast to arrive.  I wish I could have photographed these guys when they were smaller.  They are now growing that big straight bill, but for now it still has the downward curve they start out with probably designed to better fit in that rounded egg.
 This trio is anxiously waiting for their turn.  Their bills have already flattened out.
 Some eggs were still not hatched and a few mating pairs were just nest building.  This means that there will be a lot of activity well into July.  The noise level, chaos, (and odor levels), will increase as bird sizes expand and with the warmer temperatures.  The foliage will turn white with all those food processing machines depositing their bio-waste onto the foliage and into the water of the park.
 More funny bird shots.  They always look to me as if they just stuck their toes into a light socket.
 These small Cattle Egret chicks are still at a more manageable age for the feeding.  The three Tri Colored chicks in the background, who are much older, are anxiously searching the skies for their care package arrival.  Many of the nests are near enough to reach out and touch.  Someone told me this week about a horrible couple of guys who came through one day reaching into some of the nests and throwing the babies to the Alligators below.  Its too bad someone didn't step on their eggs before they were hatched.  I can't imagine how anyone could be so mean.
  Lea and I always part ways when we get to The Farm, each searching for our own special shots.  Occasionally we will stop to point something out to the other.  In this case Lea pointed out that two nests which had blue eggs in it when we arrived now had fuzzy little ones in them.  These young ones are in that cute little helpless stage which allows us moms to permanently bond with what may later develop into the self centered not so loveable teenager, --but by then we are hooked and will continue to provide for, and love them anyway.
 
Another view of the newborns.
 
More new arrivals as these tiny little Tri Colored Herons were learning to balance that great weight on the top of their shoulders.  Those neck muscles were already becoming more steady and strong by the time we left.
 
All this and we haven't even reached the end of the boardwalk.  There were lots of birds to see, and to show off to our little 6 year old Reagan as my Sis and I mixed in a healthy time of exploring the parks other interests along with the birds.  More is sure to follow with some of Reagan's own alligator shots she took with Aunt Sandy's camera.
(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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