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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)
 
September is a razzle dazzle month for workshops with 3 artists, 3 totally different medias crammed into the middle of the month. 
 
  • Starting with Suzanne Winton's Watercolor Portraits Made Easy Sept. 9-12, Cost $325
  • Next Classical Oil Painting Sept 10-12, Cost $295 (filling fast with 2 spots left)
  • Finishing with Encaustic Painting with Linda Womack Sept 12-16 (5 days) $450 
All of these artists are nationally known, sought after artists so you will definitely get your money's worth, and if you live here what a bonus to not have to pay lodging expenses for the fine teachers who are coming right to your doorstep.  Go to http://ameliaislandartistsworkshop.com for all the details.

And now without further ado...
One of those glassy water days which means not much wind.  Clouds teased, but did not give us much in the way of showers, which we still need.  Has it been hot? Yes, but cooler then most of the rest of the US.
It would have been a good day for fishing with clouds and calm water.  I guess I will be tossing my line over the pier and bridge which is not nearly as much fun as wading out into the surf and staying wet and cool.
 
A group of Brown Pelicans were doing their usual early morning beach patrol, a larger group than usual.
 
I am wondering if this might be our Willet family with all grown up chicks now.  They both seemed to be following the mom closely.  Usually they are pretty solitary birds with maybe two in the same general area but not really hanging out together like this.
 
This beautiful blue tailed lizard is a Skink with his big size and reddish head.  I rarely see them, but that reddish color is a 'courting' expression, and maybe he's out more because of that pursuit.  I try to spend some time in my yard, especially trying to keep things watered; three days without rain here and the sand just loses all its moisture.  It makes such a huge difference in how things grow when they get natural rain instead of a watering hose. 
 
I have finally gotten some of my Mexican Sunflowers growing.  I love their color, and hopefully with enough seeds from this plant, I can have lots of them next year.  The butterflies love them.
 
I had a new spider this week different from our usual Banana Spider.  It was more like the yellow Writing Spider of North Georgia but different.  I thought it interesting the way it pulled its legs together to look more like a 4 legged spider.  But then I guess it wouldn't be a spider with only 4 legs would it?  My research shows it is called a Saint Andrews Cross Spider so called because it looks like a cross with its legs in that position.  It had disappeared the next day so I hope it just moved away from my watering hose and didn't get eaten.
 
The high tides brought a near calamity to one of our low nests on the river.  The rough surf (60 mile an hour wind gusts will do that) coupled with fairly high natural tide gave a good bit of washover on several of our nests. This one on the river was in a very vulnerable spot and with a lot of beach erosion, exposed the top eggs.  A crab or possibly some other larger critter had helped itself to one of the eggs and had emptied its contents leaving us the empty shell. 
 
Lisa and I got permission to cover the eggs with sand from the escarpment and it held through the next high tides.  Now we'll just cross our fingers and hope it will hold and allow the eggs to hatch naturally.
 
We were puzzling over whether this gal actually laid, but decided when we saw sand spray and also uprooted vegetation that she did.
 
Lisa did her Stop!!! command once again to recover this beautiful red sponge from the surf.  It is very much like one I found last year only mine was bigger and prettier.  I can't let myself be outdone all the time by this upstart helper of mine.
 
Our last two Wilson's Plover chicks are pretty much grown although still in the protective custody of their parents.
 
Our last nest so far #28.  We fully expect to find several more before calling it a season.  With the open door cart design you can see how I have come up with a way to ride and drive without further hurting my injured knee.  I just hang my foot out the door on the driver side, since it is my left knee that is the problem child, keeping the straightness I need and as long as I don't side swipe some object I am good.  Only have pain when I bend the darn thing and then it is bad.  Makes for a very sandy shoe and ankle as the wheel throws up a lot of sand in that direction. 
 
GI Joe was almost a goner but I rescued him before the tide came and dashed his little body against the seawall.  There is another young Joe who lives in the park who will like getting this beached GI Joe.
 
The deer are so hard to photograph and blend so well once they hit the cover of the trees.  The spots on the little one are still very visible.
 
The Turtle Trot painting is progressing.  I started putting color to cover all the stark white left by the removal of the masking agent.  The crabs are starting to get some color.  The Sea Star is blending into his natural environment and Mrs. Loggerhead is starting to crack her shell of white to become a turtle.
 
More color in the shell, crabs and of course the Sea Turtle as she now has eyes to see you with Mr. Crab.  Better watch out you may become part of the menu.
 
NOW FOR OUR FIRST HATCHING IN THE PARK, well kinda sorta two.  What happened is that the same morning our #1 nest hatched we also found a dead hatchling on the river, with no near to term nest hatching nearby, we decided it must have gotten caught in the incoming tide, washed upstream of the river, and washed in with the wrack.  It wandered around the beach until a crab caught it.  Perfect little turtle except for the tiny hole the crab had pinched in its trachea.  We thought our Nest #2 on the river must have hatched about a 1/4 mile away but on getting there it had not hatched.  Now we were really scratching our heads.
One of our other rangers who was walking on the pier yelled down to us when we got there that she saw baby turtle tracks where there was no marked nest.  We thought we might have found its location and tempoarily marked it.  Obviously, we had originaly missed this nest.  Wow, guess they didn't need us at all. 100 million years of experience and doing it without us paid off.  We had also discovered that our Nest #1 on the ocean side had hatched.  It was clearly a good hatching with tiny turtle tracks exiting the depression in the sand.  The one at the pier was not so lucky.  They had seen the lights in the parking lot behind and headed backward.  Most seemed to have finally found their way to the water.  Underneath the pier the water is not very visible in the dark so any type of light distraction is a problem.  We will visually screen the rest in this area with black plastic to try to block that light.
 
We had meant to dig up the unmarked nest but could not find the nest chamber so then moved our operation on down the beach to Nest #1 on Thursday morning.  This gave the hatchlings 3 nights to get out on their own if they could before we dug into the nest.  It also gives the Ghost Crabs more time to try for a menu of "Turtle Bites" if they can find a straggler in the nest.  Lisa and Brandon work on the excavation of the nest aided by one young supervisor.  One dead hatchling was found and it is laying near the little boy.  Lisa let the child see that it had a belly button just like he did.
 
Lisa does like to get down and dirty.  She only has until the end of the month so is taking full advantage of getting in some real turtle time before that happens.  My knee says,  you go for it, I will stay straight and vertical, thank you.
 
After everyone left I decided since I wasn't doing turtle patrol to take some time and see if I could locate the other nest.  In a few minutes I did find it and gave Lisa and Brandon a call.  They came racing back and we found this cutie way down in the bottom in a mess of stinky eggs the Ghost Crabs had opened much earlier.  He was healthy and robust and thankful for a breath of "fresh air".  He did manage to get turned upside down as he waited in the holding tank until we were ready to release him.
 
He was very anxious to get out as he wound round and round in the bucket trying to climb upward.
 
Brandon, one of our newest Park Rangers, gets to hold his second live Sea Turtle having assisted in last years digging once before.
 
This fellow wasted no time once he hit the sandy beach in heading to the water.
 
Head long into the water he went.
 
I thought that cool wet water must feel so good after spending at least 3 days down in the dry hot sand trying to get out.  Now he is in his element where he can swim like a bird in flight.  If it is a boy he will never return to the sand again and if it is a female it will return to the place of its birth only long enough to lay its eggs.  The rest of its life, although an air breather, will be in the sea.
 
We watched until he was out beyond the first breakers.  We saw that tiny marble sized head pop up for a breath of air then he was off again on his great adventure called life.
 
Overhead the darn Osprey caught what I'm sure was destined to be my fish once again.  Looks like a Blue Fish, which seem to be running right now.  I only hope I can be as lucky when we go out next time.  I will promise to leisurely walk out and just fish off the pier, Momma.  Fishing has not been that good this year and when you are limited in time you can't exactly time it for the best conditions.  But I still remember that day last year when we actually ran out of bait because we caught so many.  That is what keeps you throwing that line out time and time again.  I believe all fishermen are optimists and even a bad day fishing is a better day then being at work.  Not true when I can be painting; but it definitely applies to working on the computer.
 

(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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