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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
Amelia Island Artists Workshop (for workshop schedules)

Gallery things:
The gallery has a new supply of Silver Sea Turtle Pendants and occasionally some rare Sea Turtle vintage pieces when I can find them.  What I do have in the Vintage department is a wonderful selection of Copper Jewelry which is constantly changing; as pieces sell, I search my estate brokers' listings for more.  I am also trying to find old solid copper link bracelets for men.  It seems that is quite the rage with golfers who want to enlist the aid of the medicinal qualities of the copper on their golf game.  Check it out, they are very reasonably priced for now.

Time marches on and the remains of the storm debris was finally picked up and taken away by the end of the week, and with my yearly pass to the Alligator Farm expiring on the 12th, there was still time for one last visit.  

 My DC friend and photographer, Lea, was back in town, and since both our passes expired the exact same day, (we must have been together when we bought them).  It is only fitting that we make this last trip for the season down together.  I will wait until my first visit next year before I purchase another allowing me to get in all of next season and maybe a little bit of the following one before I have to ante up again.

Usually the first birds I see when I enter the bird area is the Tri Colored Heron.  They are also my favorite bird to photograph when they are youngsters.  They are so funny looking.  This one has already fledged and is starting to look very adult like.  Except for a few stray bits of fuzz on the top of its head and its eye color it could almost pass for a grown up.

Now this pair of siblings are in the long gangly stage with lots of experimenting with wing flapping and trying out those long legs climbing around on the branches as they learn balance but stay close to their nest so they are ready for feeding times.  

They have a very goofy look when they stretch their neck up long and look directly at the camera.

This trio sits, staring as if transfixed, in one spot, -and that means that the appearance of the next dinner run by one of the parents is imminent.

Funny birds at all stages when young.

Of course the parent can look very wild and woolly themselves when they get all worked up to up-chuck the next meal for the waiting kids.  Well, look folks; its not like she has a shopping bag to lug the groceries home.

Mr. Sad sack himself with his Hulky green looking legs tries to stare the camera down.

A big event while we were there was the hatching of this little one with his traditional finger in the light socket hair-do.  Mom is turning the egg or assisting in the emergence of its sibling.

I wanted to share just some of the funniest photos I got for the day.  These Cattle Egret chicks got in such a frenzy trying to get to mom's mouth first, that one of the chicks got its head caught in the action.  Sitting down to a family dinner is not quite the same in the bird world, then again, depending on the age of the young folk, maybe it is at your house.

This Snowy seems to be shouting, "Hey Babe, I'm over here", as he is still in courting mode.

Ummmm, Mommie's leg tastes just like chicken.

This Little Blue will have her work cut out for her, if she raises all these little guys.  Usually a nest has three in it, but this looks like there were five.  I saw several nests with four or five eggs in it on the earlier visit.

So awkward and clumsy at this stage of the game when wings and legs have outgrown the skill level and they must learn how to deal with the new appendages, somewhat like a fast-growing teenage boy does.

These were the two Woodstork chicks you saw in the last story.  They have grown fast and survived the storm just fine.  The storm was much milder down here than on our side of it.

An adult is still in nest building stage as it gathers a big mouthful of Cypress foliage to either expand a nest with growing chicks or in anticipation of starting a new family.

These adorable little fellows sit patiently and wait for the next food delivery, not quite having reached that adventurous stage.

On a sad note this seemed to be the only surviving Roseatte Spoonbill chick from the nest of cute little pink fuzz balls from the newly hatched batch of last trip.  Their nest also seemed to be gone.  I never did see a parent come to feed him but hopefully I just missed it.

The nest from the last story with the sitting mother was successful and had three very sweet little ones enjoying the shade on a very hot day, shade which both parents were working to provide.  The parents stood in this position for a long, long time and I am pretty sure that was their objective.  The animals of the world are much smarter than we sometimes give them credit for.

Back on Amelia Island our own little Plover chicks are feathering out and some are starting to fledge (that means they can fly).  We have more Wilson's Plovers this year than ever before.  Our birding expert, Pat Leary, was on the beach the other morning and let me look through his spotting scope.  He showed me a Wilson's Plover fledgling which had been banded on Cumberland Island.  It had joined up with one of our families which had a couple of younger chicks.  That was unusual and I wonder if it had been blown over in the storm and so was just making the best of the situation by adopting another family.

 The Least Terns I showed you in the last story can't seem to decide if they are staying or going.  They had a very active nesting site going over on Cumberland Island, just across the river, but it was destroyed by Beryl the beastly storm.  Some of the Terns seem to have come across to our side of the river and have made signs that they were going to nest here so we will just wait and see.

I still see our duck couple out for their morning stroll.

I see trouble brewing up ahead as two Horseshoe Crabs have gotten stuck in the sand while mating.

Lucky for me I have a new assistant living just outside the park who meets me a lot of mornings and is a big help.  My sister, Susan, has learned to walk the Crabs to the water saving my knee from the soft sand and the problems that can cause.  The black thing around her neck is a head set to protect her hearing from the noisy beach buggy.

Even though Beryl has gone, we have continued to have stormy days and some strong winds on the beach.  This is not a good thing for tourists who want to enjoy the beach, (but is sometimes good for us shop owners who become their entertainment and hopefully benefit with additional sales).  I thought the blowing sand pattern with the two colors of sand here was pretty interesting, looks like a coastal map.  Is that Cape Cod I see?

Mostly the mornings are fine but several mornings of late I was dodging the rain storms and the blowing sand.  The dark splotches are piles of marsh wrack washed back onshore after being brought down the river and taken out to sea.

Even the ducks were sitting this one out.

The sand has blown across my tracks, almost covering them, from the time I had made the drive south until I returned.

Another strange find on the beach after the rough surf was a duck which had a number and had evidently escaped from someones river duck race.  He would surely have won the furthest swim award.

But the wind and rain did not deter this gal who climbed up this escarpment to lay her eggs right next to the walls of Fort Clinch itself.  From the looks of her tracks she must have a very short back flipper to leave the flipper print in the middle of the track like she did.  Probably an old shark bite.

This is not good sand for laying as it is very shelly and was put here by the dredge people who seem to be intent on destroying our nice beaches with this stuff.  But she laid anyway.  If you look closely you can see her incoming tracks in the upper right corner of the photo.  She did wander a bit.  You will notice "no" numbers on the stakes and although we will watch and excavate it just like any other nest it will not be counted in with the others.  The beaches are set up so that the ones which are counted are on what is called "indexing" beaches.  This gal just didn't realize that she was laying on the wrong side of the corner of the fort which is the demarcation point.  Our official count is 13 but we really have 14 for now with some exciting ones to share in the next story.

One of my favorite paintings and the largest watercolor in the gallery right now is in fact the largest watercolor I have ever done.  I did it a while ago, but it was on an extended loan, first to a gallery and then to a show house.  On return it was in need of reframing so now it is all dressed up in a better-than-ever frame.  It is called "Far Storm" and was my impression of a Nebula out in space, hence the name.

Another adventure last week, and the reason I was late opening the gallery on a Saturday morning a week ago, is pictured here.  A friend, Muffie, called and said, "I have a turtle that is in need of rescuing and I don't know who else to call".  It was in the middle of 8th Street, a high traffic area and the main road into town.  She said it was a Snapping Turtle so I was thinking I could put it in the 5 gallon bucket I have, open the gallery, then close for a few minutes to take it on to a pond.  Most that I have encountred have been smaller.  Not so with this guy.  Getting him in a bucket was a challenge as we slid his rear in with his sharp clawing toenails grabbing anything they could find, especially fingers, and then stood him on end which left his head easily reaching the top.  They don't call them Snappers without reason.  Now; how to keep him in so I could drive it to a release point?  Muffie offered a large pillow she had, and that, with the aid of a bungee cord, allowed me to get him secured enough for the trip of only a few miles.  Too big a fellow to leave in my car while I did gallery things.

Now he is in the middle of a nice wilderness area with other creatures to his liking, although I don't think these disagreeable fellows like much of anything except maybe one of its own kind in the opposite sex.  I think these are the turtles which give other turtles a bad rap with their aggressive behavior when touched and people use that as the excuse to run over them all on the road.  I saw two of the more gentle Sliders today dead along side the road; both had to be intensional hits as they were not even on the roadway, but on the bike lane section of the street.  Someone had to swerve to run over them in that spot.

Our gal Lacy came in for her special treat of the week.  She has discovered she really likes peanut butter, although she doesn't like peanuts except to bury.  This is her version of a peanut butter banana sandwich without the bread.  She ate it all.  I think she is finding it hard to locate acorns to eat, which should be her main food supply.  They are just all bad, rotten to the core.  She was born too late to get in on stashing up a storehouse of them when they were fresh.  She is very possessive of her food and we have learned not to mess with her or make any moves toward her food when she is hungry and eating.  

Once full, she calms down and is very playful.  Tonight she lay on her back in my hand to have her neck and under her chest and arm areas rubbed.  Then another time nearly went to sleep with me rubbing her ears and back.  I don't remember Shelly doing that once she was out in the wild.  She just seems to need someone to play with and once she has her own family she will have that need fulfilled.  That is the problem with raising a squirrel in a human environment with no other sibling, they are pretty lonely out in the wild in those early days.  She is still grayer than the other squirrels in our yard and has a darker nose so we can spot her if we watch closely enough.  She has been a fun girl but as a wild girl can be expected to react as a wild animal if the situation arises.  A squirrel should never be domesticated like a cat or even a ferret.  They can inflect a nasty bite with teeth sharp enough to cut through a nut shell and wouldn't be doing it out of meanness but out of instinct to protect herself and her stuff.

(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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