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Amelia SanJon Gallery
Sandra Baker-Hinton
218A Ash Street., Fernandina Beach, FL 32034
904-491-8040,  904-557-1195 cell

The cold weather and a hard freeze finally ended the Butterfly frenzy going on at my house as one by one or sometime 3 or 4 at a time they emerged and as the weather permitted they were all released to find their own way.

But the winter blooms of my Orchids and brightly colored butterfly wings in the kitchen window make for are a nice cheerful start to the day.

Sometimes a sunset can even be pretty from the parking lot at Lowe's.

This Mystery Creature" is a Great Horned Owl, who along with its mate decided to move into the Osprey's nest we watch each year.  This happened a few years ago and the Great Horned Owls raised their chicks with the Ospreys moving back in the day after the Owls left.  This year, however, after a few weeks the Owls abandoned the nest without hatching any chicks.  If you remember our Osprey couple, Little Girl and Alpha, had two very tragic years.  Year before last the nest along with their chicks was destroyed by a bad storm.  Then last year Alpha flew into a power line and broke his wing disabling him for life.  Little Girl took over the job of being both parents, gathering food and protecting the nest.  One chick disappeared near fledging time so we don't know if it flew away or became dinner for another predator.  The second chick appeared to have fledged, but was found a few days later, very skinny and also with a broken wing that would not ever allow release to the wild.  This year the saga begins anew.  We don't know for sure which Osprey is Little Girl but two or three of the females have been having some serious squabbles over who will end up with the nest.  It will be interesting to see if whoever gets the nest will be able to raise their young successfully.

The same foggy day I attempted to photograph the Great Horned Owls, I decided to drive through the large Bosque Bello Cemetery located near the Ospey nest, an area I had never explored but always wanted to. It is quite old as well as a new side, and with a maize of roads criscrossing and meanandering through it.  In the fog my focus was on the many angels there.  This one was so moving, especially in the gloom of the fog with the mosses at their brightest green from the humidity of all the recent fogs, that one wanted to stop and give her a hug to soften her saddness.

In the right position this group of angels form a nicely contrasted trio.  There were two sets of the angel pairs on either side of the center grave, but this one was the view I liked best.

A trip by the marina saw the same mood in the fog enshrouded shrimp fleet.

We have very little problems with Raccoons although we know they travel through the back of the yard a lot.  Any food scraps that I have I make sure they go to the very back of my lot.  But lately with us feeding the squirrels sunflower seeds, Raccoons have discovered this treat, and began coming onto the back patio to scavenge leftovers. I definitely don't want the raccoons there.  They are horrible spoilers of my water fountain leaving a very undesirable mess as they seem to think it is their own private toliet.

Finally I get to actually go out on a boat and do some fishing.  A friend who is always showing off his catch on Facebook, invited me to go along and learn how to fish for Sheephead.  The water was calm although I had prepared my tummy for any situation.  I don't get seasick in calm water in the river but I didn't know where we might be off to as his locations are his secret.

Lots of Brown Pelicans hang out around the Marina waiting on handouts.  But today the reflections were too nice to miss.

More interesting water patterns as I wait for my ride to appear.

A Gull and a Ruddy Turnstone via for the remains of the skelitized fish laying on the surface of the boat ramp.  I worry about fishermen tossing over the skeletons left from fish cleaning as it is very dangerous for the Pelicans.  They are equipped to swallow a whole fish but not one with the bones exposed like these are.  There needs to be a pipe for fisherman to drop the remains like this one down so that it goes to the bottom for crabs and not tossed out on the surface for Pelicans to grab.  It can be fatal for a Pelican to swallow this sharp daggar like morsel.

More of the beautiful abstract boat reflections that I love to catch in the water.

Lots go see from a view that I don't usually get to see so close up from the dock.

We follow the wake of a larger boat in what is an easier route than fighting the spreading waves further out.  If you are wondering what you need a shovel for in a boat then you don't know about Sheephead fishing.  Once at the spot Steve had chosen for us to fish, the barnacles, a favorite food for Sheephead, are scrapped off the sides of the pilings of a dock to chum the water.  These fish have teeth that look like they have just returned from the dentist with a new set of dentures.  Their bite can crush the hard shell of a barnacle or the hook on your line.  They are difficult to catch and the bait, usually Fiddler Crabs, is taken into their mouth and they don't give you that jerk that other fish do.  You have to watch your line or your rod tip to detect the slight movement that is a sign of something happening out of sight in the water.  Not sure that my guide will take me again as neither of us caught a thing, a first for my fishing buddy.

We passed underneath bridges and along pilings which help hold up the railroad and headed out to parts unknown to me.  Fun to see them sitting and sunning.

But the special treat was this flock of White Pelicans which you can only see out in more remote parts of the river because, unlike their Brown Pelican cousins, they are rather shy.  Although they don't look it in the photo they are about twice the size of the Brown Pelicans.  They are wintering over here before heading to their nesting grounds.  Someone told me that some were, like the Monarchs, just staying with us all year.  A lot of people decide to do the same thing after spending a few winters with us.

The waves from our the wake of a boat had them almost looking like they were taking up surfing.

On the return trip the flock took off toward town in front of us.  In flight they look different whether you are in front or behind with the dark edge on their wings.  They appear mostly white one way and with a lot of black the other.

Even though the fishing trip was not fruitful, we gave it a chance, knowing that a bad day fishing is still a good day.  Someone also said they call it fishing, not catching.  I am beginning to think I am a jinx. I need to catch some fish to break the spell.

Back on the dock a Pelican posed with me only inches away from it.  Unfortunately I was not on the sunny side but to get the sunny side I would have had to walk on water.

But not to be outdone another one managed to accomodate me with a sunny side up photo with a very Florida palm tree in the background.

Since we had our own weekly Canadian Vortex this really large Dragon just decided to sit still by our front door and wait it out.  The eyes were like big clear liquid balls backed by brown with white shapes floating in the liquid.  Very unusual eyes.  Loved the green patterns on the back side also.

A new commission painting is in progress.  Thankfully it will pay for the car.  I will post the progress on it as soon as I can.  I needed to make the color Teal a nice background color, it needed pink also, hence the Roseate Spoonbill.  Other colors of blue and green are in it also.  The painting is quite large 36 x 60.  It is taking some time to get it all done since it is a pretty complex painting.

And speaking of cars...the weather may not tell us it is Spring, but the Car Show does. The Annual Concours de Elegance was upon us again.  I had hoped to walk over and get a glimpse of the show and maybe scoot in at the end of the show.  I discovered the gates were not being left open this year with a record crowd inside.

I decided to walk up to the Ritz and check it out.  Some interesting cars were parked outside.

Now that would look really good in my driveway at least until the leaves started to pile up on top of it.  Of course if that car were in my driveway, hubby would get the garage cleaned out pronto.

Inside was a really old horseless carraige.  After a walk back around the outside of the show I realized I was not going to get inside so the next best thing was to go over to the park at Peter's Point and check out the many, many 18 wheeler car carriers parked over there.

Quite a sight was this row after row of big trucks waiting on their cargo to come rolling in to be loaded.  I picked out a good spot according to the nice Sheriff's Deputy and the other fellows waiting around.  If you don't like cars then just don't scroll any further.  I stood there and clicked the camera until my battery gave out, then very satisfied that I had gotten one of the best views of the show, I strolled across the street to my home.  To show you a taste I just picked out what I liked and probably passed up some of the more exciting cars for those who know about such things.

Of course a red car will catch any girls eye.

The elegance of this classic was one made for the old time movie stars.

Loved the turn signal on this car, necessary, since for our roads this cars steering wheel was on the wrong side.

Lots of the old race cars and some moving under their own power...

...and some being towed.

Thought this one a lovely clasic car.  

As was this one.

Now ths is an odd combination of colors for a car with very intersting lines... maybe a good Great Gadsby style?  No I think too new for that.

Blue is good too.

And another shade of blue.

I bet this is the most expensive traffic jam I have seen for a while.

This year Classic Beach Cars were a featured item.  A very unique cars to say the least.

There were tons of Porche autos, maybe because there is a huge Porche Club in Jacksonville.

It was fun to see these really old cars moving under their own power.

And they were in totally perfect shape.

The paint jobs were magnificient.

While the cars jockeyed for position to load...

The huge number of private jets which had come in for the show begain their exodus from the island.

One final Porche

...and one of the vintage motorcycles and the camera battery died.  The rider is a fellow I am told has a classic car television show.
All in all it was a fantastic and record breaking show.  Visit the Concours d'Elegance website for more information on the show.

(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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