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

I bade goodby "finally" to Monarch Season with all my plants stripped bare from feeding them.

It was time to go have the knee redone anyway, so best not to have projects like butterflies going on at the same time.  I brought home some projects to work on while I somehow thought I would be bored rehabbing.  I forgot that I would also be brain dead for weeks afterward and just could not face any difficult projects, especially taxes.  I ended up filing for an extention for the first time in my life because I was too frazzled in the brain to attempt it.  I would just keep saying "tomorrow I will get it done" and tomorrow seemed never to come.  

Back working in the gallery before Daylight Savings Time was restored I did catch a few sunsets at the Marina. The Great White who seems to also be enjoying the sunset, is a "pet" of the Seafood Market behind us.  It will eat Shrimp from their hands as long as the peel them before hand.  Its funny how animals can train their humans.

Speaking of traingin their humans the squirrels are waiting each morning and evening for their food.  Some mornings there will already be five or more sitting at the back door scattered about, with eyes on the back door.  If Lacy is there she is up in the window checking to see if we are up.

It was very disturbing that about two weeks after my surgery and my friend, Ocella, who had brought her lovely daughter down to baby sit me, looked out the back door and said "there is a Hawk nest up there".  Oh dear, of all the homes who would welcome a Hawk's nest, it was not ours.  We have too personal an interest vested in our squirrels to want to watch them get picked off right in front of our eyes.  

We did see them carrying sticks and things to the expanding nest in a tree at the very back of our lot.  We never figured out though whether they actually raised chicks.  It did not seem to us that they did.  They did hang around for a while making us very nervous but although we were aware of their presence we did not see enough activity to definitely say they raised a family.

The Red Shouldered Hawks would cause us great concern when they flew down so close it seemed they were sitting right over our feeding stations.  One morning one was sitting on the bird house mounted at the very corner of our patio flower bed just staring down at our squirrels eating at their different feeding station.  Of course with housecoat flying I am out the door yelling at it to go away.  Maybe they decided to mover to a nicer more receptive neighborhood.

This is the ugly stage of the second Butterfly painting I decided to tackle. I had started it in December but did not make a great deal of progress by surgery time.  I brought it home (with the taxes) to work on while I convalesed.  But as with the taxes I got nothing done.

One interesting thing in Spring here is a thing called tempertature inversion which means the ocean is cooler than the air and it forms a dense fog which rolls in keeping the air very cool and looking very foggy all day, when a few miles away the temps would be very nice and warm and the sun would be shining.  Sometimes it would be like this the sun over head but the fog rolling in slowing eveloping everything.  This was a day I was leaving the back of the park and the fog came rolling in across the marsh.

But overhead with the sky blue I got my first glimpse of our nest of Great Horned Owls and the top of the very fluffy heads of the two chicks.  The nest is the one the Ospreys use each year.  We are happy the Great Horned Owl family fared better than the Ospreys have the past couple of years.

By the time my meeting in the park was over the fog had moved over to the other side of the road and engulfed the boats in the Tiger Point Marina on the other side of the bridge (as in right and left sides--not the end.)

Lots of parades and as always I have a front row seat.  The Shriners had a very nice parade this year with many more of their crazy car groups than ever before.

One of the new groups.  One new thing on this corner is the beautiful house which hither to before it was falling into disrepair.  Now a nice couple have taken over the redo and it is looking beautiful as they do the fun part of finishing work on it.

Another day and the Owls are growing larger and I can see more of their heads.

A new addition to our household is "Spot" the tiny dot of a turtle.  He is a true Stink Pot, the common name for this species of turtle.  A friend asked me what kind of turtle this was but he was so tiny it was hard for her to get his photograph.  She was afraid it was some kind of problem with his care because he was so small.  The turtle had not seemed to grow even thought she had him for over a year.  So she brought him to me.  I did research and found he was a "MusK" Turtle and his sub species is that he is a "Stink Pot", so named because they can release a musk like oder if threatened.  He was so small I was almost afraid to pick him up for fear I would hurt him.  (We don't really know if it is a he or she).  I am told that reptiles do not release well once they are used to being fed and cared for in captivity.  So taking on this responsibility is long term.  As I said at the time guess I will have to put him in my will, however my neice, Julie, loves turtles and has offered to care for him once I am gone.  This species of turtle does not grow very large only 3 to 5 inches in all.  So he is just a small species, the reason he was so small to start with.

Heading into April and the painting was beginning to be to a point where I did not feel quite so overwhelmed.  The black one which is unfinished will be a Black Swallowtail.  Each day I would post on Facebook what I had gotten done that day.

And finally the end of April and the painting was finally finished.  It was sold almost as soon as I got it done, I finished it on Saturday and sold on Thursday.  So I was happy but do miss the painting.  Do you see the bunny added to this one.  The bunny is the one which lived in our garden last Summer.  Just a sudden urge to put him in and suddenly he was there.  Inspiration helps the creative process go faster.

The Hawk kept showing up, but not so frequently as to cause us too much alarm.

The usual splash of color given by our azaleas did not materalize quite as gloriously as usual.  The back ones bloomed but the front ones did not bloom as completely as usual with most of the color on both ends.  Perhaps I trimmed them too late causing the bloom buds to be removed but I don't think so.  

Spot has a very long neck when he needs to stetch it out to reach some food.  He is eating well but is very skittish although he will now take food from my fingers then run underneath his covered area to eat it.  He was about the size of a nickel when I first got him.  Now I think more the size of a quarter.

My last shots of the baby Owlets with true feathers forming and then it was not long and they were gone.

Overhead flocks of birds have decided it is time to head back north.  I think these are Anhinga's which travel in this type of flock formation.

I had seen a very lovely video of a way to blow giant bubbles.  I had suggested that we have a bubble blowing event at the beach.  From the gallery one day I caught sight of those big bubbles blowing by my gallery window.  A quick exodus from the gallery and I found a gal who was commercially marketing her own "secret" formula for a bubble mixture.  I think I can do it with some recipes I have cme up with.

The others were a configuration which was a cluster of large bubbles but his was the wand design which blew the huge bubbles.

She also showed up at a recent surprise Sea Turtle release.

We had 3 little green turtles released which had suffered cold stun during the winter and had recovered at the Georgia Sea Turtle Center who needed to bring these back to Florida Waters before release because they had been found in Florida Water.

This was Blato who was found up at Fort Clinch State Park and was sick.  Now healthy and ready to go back into the water.  When he was released he seemed to head Northwest, straight back toward the park's pier.

And then it was Shrimp Festival weekend and also the start of Sea Turtle Patrol.  Birds were gathered in groups on the beach.  This was a group of Black Skimmers which hung out mostly together, but one Royal Tern was nearby.

No Sea Turtle Nests but a few Horseshoe Crabs were out doing their nesting.

We also have several Wilson's Plovers with nests or getting ready for nesting on the river area.

The Plovers were scattered out along the river beach and you can tell when they are trying to nest by the way they act.  They run in front of you but do not fly and do not go to the water but just try to draw you away from the nest or in the case of hatching the chicks.  So Spring if fully engaged in producing a new season of new lives.  Lots of nesting by all the critters here in the park.

Thoughts and prayers as I make plans to go home to East Tennessee to visit my mom and Aunt Helen.  A new kink in our blissful care situation, the young men who live nest door and who have kept our minds at ease have sold their house and are moving 15 miles away.  We will have new problems facing us as we deal with aging family members who only want to live in peace by themselves.

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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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