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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)

Baby Turtles!

Well you've all heard the "there's some good news and there's some bad news.  I got mine yesterday.  After an MRI on my bum knee the Doc calls and says, well, the good news is that its not just a figment of your imagination and the bad news is that you have a torn ligament which probably means surgery.  Glad to know there was a reason for all this dadburn pain.  My first thought is Turtle Season.  I "have" to do the rest of the season, its a record breaker!!!  I will get an appointment with the Orthopedic Group tomorrow and know more, thankfully my limited insurance includes one of the best Orthopedic groups in town so I feel that I will be in good hands.  I hope they are open to bartering art work for what the insurance doesn't cover.  Pretty sure surf fishing and Boogie Boarding are off limits for a while.  
On first glance at this car I was happy to be behind them.  Very cute advertising gimmick which will certainly get your attention and make you read the second line. 
 
This gal sure did have to climb a bit to make it up this escarpment to lay her nest.  An easy one to miss, a good thing that Marie my Park Ranger was on her toes in seeing it.  This week we have had very high tides so this one is safe from that at least for now. 
 
Lisa who has an eye for spotting the tiny from a moving vehicle and not hesitant to yell stop.  I never know what the next adventure will be with her.  This is something we don't see that much, a Sea Urchin.  Unfortunately it was dead.  We see them sometimes after a storm and often they are alive.  They will spit water out of their beak located in the middle of this area if alive but we got no response from this one when we touched it.
 
The Osprey was perched on the Birding Area sign but not in good light for a good shot but just part of what we see when we are out doing turtle patrol.
 
Stop!!! Horseshoe Crab!!! As I hit the brake and Lisa bounds down the steep embankment to the river.  When I look down she has not one but three, two males and a female (the big girl) ready for transport back to the water.  Help was on the way and I slide down to assist in putting them back into the water.
 
As a very appropriate symbol of a miracle stands planted in the sand by some beach visitor and causes me to slow enough to grab a photo on my way to witness a modern day miracle, a Sea Turtle nest, which has produced new life.  Sunday is usually a more relaxed morning, one of the few where I don't have to rise at dawn, but this was a special Sunday morning and here I am watching the sunrise.  It was the excavation of the very first Sea Turtle nests on the island.  There would be two to see.
 
The first nest and it was like hitting pay dirt with a treasure trove of 20 hatchlings which did not get out of the nest.  It was a relocated nest and had been placed near some vegetation at the base of a dune.  Possibly the roots which had grown into the nest had blocked their way or maybe some other reason but here they were clamoring to get out.
 
Doug Stuber was doing the excavation.  He released them to the pretty large for an early Sunday morning crowd in groups of 5 or 6.  Better control of the situation that way because which direction they are going to head is not always predictable.
 
It was a perfect morning for catching good photos of the little ones as they head into the early morning sunshine to the water.
 
Sometimes they took a tumble or two as we rooted for their success.  You get a good look at a turtle belly button.
 
Doug holds one up for everyone to see.  When they are held like this they immediately think they are in the water and switch from their land crawl to their swimming breast stroke.  It makes them look like they are waving to you.
 
It doesn't take too long before they are into the water some quicker then others and then they are out of sight as once in swimming depth they are dead set on getting where they need to be, the Sargassum Sea, and the safety it affords them to grow up a bit.
 
As waves have a habit of doing they are a bit wishy washy and sometimes just when you think you have it made you find yourself high and dry again.
 
But you will always be given a second chance and all this activity and interaction with the water is supposed to help that instinct kick in which will get them headed in the proper direction.
 
Swim far and fast little one...
 
It took a while to get 20 hatchlings all in the water.
 
The process was repeated until finally they were all safely off the beach for whatever perils will face them ahead.
 
The next nest only had two very tired and hard working little fellows.  The funny looking nose I have seen a few other times before.  When they work so hard trying to get out and can't they knock off their egg tooth prematurely.  It usually falls off on its own in a few days.  They then have the look more like an adult with a sloping beak face instead of the black sharply pointed one with the egg tooth intact.  Once this falls off they look more like they have a little pig snout.
 
Another new nest on the river.  As of today we were up to 28 marked nests in the park.  These plants are very spiny plants and I feel sorry for this gals underside after crawling through these bad boys.
 
When I passed this unusual creature I thought it was a brown paper bag and thought when I come back I will pick it up.  On the return trip I realized it was a large Spider Crab.  I laid my sunglasses down to get an idea of the size.
 
When I realized it was still alive I picked it up.  It has 8 legs and a couple of claws hence its spider like appearance and is covered in a fine felt like covering unlike the younger one we found last week which only showed the hairy surface around its face.
 
I took it to the water and with incoming tide it should be OK if is still healthy enough to survive. 
 
Update on progress on the painting.  Added more dimension to the foreground and seaweed to the right background behind the sea fan.  I added a good bit of color to the background deepening this area in color with the plan to make the adult Sea Turtle pick up the warm colors of the bottom in its shell.  This will be an adult Sea Turtle with its favorite shell fish dinner in the foreground.
 
Before removing the masking agent I added a bit more seaweed and then removed all the masking agent to reveal the paper underneath.  Unfortunately I did not get my second coat of maskoid on before misplacing the bottle so will have to contend with a few areas where the paint got through.  I will lighten them as much as I can without scuffing up the surface and then try to work them into the over all design.  Not everything works out as perfectly planned so one has to be adaptable with watercolor.
 
A fun start of the Hatching season.  Please don't let this knee take me out of the loop!!!
 
As part of an effort to get my life in order while I still have a leg to stand on I am getting new greeting cards printed and in the process need to clear out some of the older ones. I will choose a selected batch and let them go at ridiculously low prices just to try to get my money back to invest in new ones.  Come by and make your selection while the choices are the best (of course I like them all or I wouldn't have printed them).

(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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