Amelia SanJon Gallery
Amelia Island Artists
218A Ash Street., Fernandina Beach, FL 32034
904-491-8040, 904-557-1195 cell
Island Artists Workshop (for workshop schedules)
evening is our December Art Walk it is also the Christmas Parade in
Downtown Fernandina Beach. Come enjoy it all, our front porch and
sidewalk are a perfect viewing spot for the parade.
the abbrevated Turtle Patrol things were often viewed from a different
perspective. The slower pace of walking as well as a different
route to observe and take note.
I managed to watch the submarine returns from the river beach near the
Fort. This morning the Pelicans have the best view of all and
could probably care less except to snag an easy breakfast if they stir
up some fish.
it nears the Pier I began to wish I had gone there, but no time now.
This time the men are on deck and that is an
interesting thing to see, especially for members of the family who
are surely waiting on the Fort beach hoping to catch a glimpse of their
man after several months at sea.
back to the parking lot after checking nest #42 I stop to try to get
some photos of the small but fast butterflies which flit around these
Spanish Needles growing alongside the boardwalk. I didn't
even see this unusual bug until I got to the computer and downloaded
the photos. What an amazing pattern on its back. I have
never noticed this insect before.
little Skippers were what I was really after. I don't know the
individual sub-species of Skippers as there are many. I don't
know if these are two different kinds or if they might be a male and
female version of the same. Their big eyes are their most notable
The tall utility pole on the far side of the parking lot has been transformed into a dining table for one of our Ospreys.
had the unexpected pleasure of an overnight guest in our bathtub.
One of my friends had seen it in the surf and "who ya gonna
call?" not the Ghostbusters, but Sandy the Turtle Lady. Doesn't
seem to matter what kind of turtle, I get them all, and if I don't know
what it is or where it needs to be, I can usually find out.
In this case I was pointed in the right direction and found it
washed back on the beach, but by the time I got there a wave grabbed it
once again and took it back out. So in I go, for retrivial duty,
in my best walking shoes, which I had been trying not to wear on the
beach for just this reason. The grab was successful and off we go
walking the long distance back to the car. Never had I seen this
kind of turtle before. What was it? Where should it be?
I just knew it was not susposed to be swimming in the ocean.
posted these photos on the web and asked for help identifing it.
Then I dived into doing research myself. After rejecting a
couple of internet friends who ID'ed it, labeling it a Diamondback
Terrapin, based on the fact I had previously found a Diamond Back
Terrapin in the park and this one did not look like that one.
However after doing further research, I changed my mind and
decided, yes, it was without a doubt, one of the sub-species,
which looked quite different from the one I had found. This
one had a beautiful Carapace design, looking very much like
someone had decorated it each individual scute with a magic marker,
giving each a unique design. He was very cooperative, only
opening his mouth when I got too close to his head. I used that
defensive action to try to stuff some food in his mouth. I had
read they like shrimp. His mouth was equipped with a strong beak
with which to break open shellfish, much like a Loggerhead, so I didn't
want to tempt fate too much. By morning I had gotten permission
from our Jacksonville FWC office to release this Salt Marsh type of
turtle into a small tidal creek which drains out of the park and is
filled with minnows. These terrapins are equipped to deal with
fresh and salt water in the brackish areas they claim as home.
I also had another wild critter emerge into my home that same night. This pretty lady was ready for release also.
noticed what looked like a small alligator in the pool of water where I
was to release her. We had determined by her large size she was
just that. She was about the maximum that this type of Terripan
reaches. I didn't think the small gator would be a problem.
I had never seen an alligator in that pool before and figured it
was after the hundreds of small minnows that get trapped there at low
tide. The turtle loved it.
when I returned to check on her midday, if found there was a lot more
to the gator than the first appearances gave me to believe, as it lay
sunning on this patch of sand. That small face and nose are not
in proportion to the rest of the critter. It was about four to
five feet long. The turtle was hidden about 3 feet behind it
underneath some overhanging limbs hoping the gator would not stay there
for long. Later in the day when I rechecked the site they were
both gone, hopefully in different directions and not one within the
I had a workshop going on in the park, I was exiting the back
gate quite a bit over the weekend. One trip I found the power
company out cleaning out the nest the ospreys had started to build
after loosing their chicks. The pole workers checked the real
nest beside the power pole and did not find the remains of any of the
babies, only some oyster shells. One of the people who watched
the pole a lot during nesting season, had checked on them the day after
the big storm, Beryl, and said that they saw the parents throw the
bodies of their chicks out of the nest, probably a result of them
having drowned in the downpours and wind. The power linemen did
clean out the drainage holes in the nest so it would help avoid such
was the weekend that Hurricane Sandy scooted by to our East bringing
some windy weather, high surf but nothing else. With our one nest
remaining I kept check on the nest. I feared that by morning the
nest would once again be under water. I feared the worst as the
blowing sand had erased any readable signs for the nest area. I
knew there had been big crab holes a couple of days prior and that is
usually a sign that hatching has begun.
Midday the waves were really starting to build.
walked back to the parking lot wondering what the next few days held.
Last year our very last nest had been totally washed away giving
a sad wrappup for our season. I stopped to see how pretty the
Prickly Pears had became with their fruit turning its magenta color.
6 pm the surf was really rocking and rolling as windsurfers were taking
advantage of it for a thrill ride I would want no part of.
out the pier let one really feel the power of a storm with the water
all around and the wind blowing you to the point you can barely get
your camera focused.
Sunday all was calm and the cloud of Tree Swallows were putting on an
aireal show of major proportions, swooping and soaring in unison.
My sister Susan, who had gone with me to check the nest that day,
stood and watched them. The water had covered the nest but had
not washed it away. First of the week we would excavate it to see
what had happened with it. It was well past hatching date.
Monarchs were ready for release, this time two beautiful males.
My most beautiful plant, although it does get out of hand by the
end of the year. It is called a Sky Vine and even though I cut it
back in the Spring, if it hasn't frozen back, it rebounds by Fall
and covers the entire wall of my Utility Room. The wall is a sore
thumb, unattractive later addition to the house, but the vine covers it
with green and beautiful blossoms. It is also a ladder for my
squirrels to access the back patio from the equally unattractive flat
tin roof overhead. Of course rats like vines also to access your
attic. We have had this problem in the past but have successfully
blocked them out for now.
day arrived and it was a cold one. We wore winter attire, me more
than Marie. I excavated and happily discovered that sometime,
before the storm washed over the nest, the little ones, all 76 of them,
had managed to successfully emerge from what could have been a watery
tomb. Good to have a successful end to our 2012 Turtle Season,
now to enjoy sleeping in for 6 months.
of my other pretty flowers is this Angel's Trumpet. There is
nothing that can beat this foot long blossum I need to get a
yellow and a white one too. They start very easily from a cutting
but you don't see them in plant stores very much. I think some
sort of drug can be made from them that is illegal, dangerous, or maybe
tried to get a bottom up view of the blossom with some success.
The long Trumpt like blooms will continue a long season as long
as they don't get bit by frost, which will put an end to them until
Spring. Fall is a nice time for the gardens here in North
Florida, with a burst of color as plants rebound after fighting
too much summer heat. It has been dry this fall though, and that
is a problem after an adequately wet summer. Not even Sandy gave
us any rain. I must water my flower beds and potted plants until
such time as the frost or the rains come.
A great end to an
exciting and record breaking successful Sea Turtle Season. When
we go for "Turtle" training I am sure we will find that is the case all
over Florida, with everything I have heard from volunteers in other
areas, that they are also breaking records. Maybe our work has
paid off. It started about 26 years ago and it takes turtles
25-30 years to start laying those nests. If this is indeed a
trend then the next few years should be very active.
now with less energy needed to walk the beach to stroll down on our
waterfront and catch some sunset action. Even the celliouse
plant, Rayonier, looks pretty at night.
Even without clouds the colors and river action is very peaceful and beautiful ending to a nice day.
(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
make a small donation to help ensure the continuation of the stories it
would be greatly appreciated.)