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)
The backyard birdbath has attracted a lot of birds this summer. We rinse it out and put fresh water in it daily.
seems to use it, especially seem to have lots of Blue Jays as well as
the Cardinals, Titmouse, and even saw a Brown Thrasher the other day.
The other day a Blue Jay flew down to use it while I was standing
right beside it. I wondered if it was B. J., my first avian foundling.
was on top of the old grill flashing his dew flap, either staking
out his territory or flirting with the local gals.
He seems to have just shed his skin with just remnants on his
nose. We love our Green Anoles, Florida's only native Anole,
although we have lots of the Cubans here now.
My appointed arrival time no longer gets me into the park
in time for sunrises, but I still occasionally have some interesting
skies to capture.
I do love to catch the rays when they shine through holes in the clouds.
closer look, and the pelicans are even onshore hanging out in
the gulls' usual spot. They are just so much larger, they
really stand out when they are there.
On my way back to the maintenance area there is this one spot of nice tender grass and this
pretty fellow was so enjoying it that he just munched
away tolerating my presence, until I finally had to start my engine and leave. Have to
get to work, fellow, I can't just hang out with you all day.
of my back patio friends is this Broad Headed Skink. This
is not the largest one but this one has had an encounter which left a
bite mark on its back, most likely a fight over a girl with the larger
Skink. I don't think our resident snake would have failed to
swallow him whole, because Mr. Blacksnake is very fast and we have seen him grab a
lizard in a flash. The color of that head is an amazing color and
is a sign it is interested in mating. The other
day I caught a glimpse of it as it ran out of sight underneath the
house. It then stuck its head back out and we had a staring
contest for a while.
Angel's Trumpet keeps on blooming; this resulted when I pointed the camera vertically up inside the
bloom trying to capture the light I see shining on it from above.
see changes in the beach daily as I ride. The tide not only takes
sand away it also builds the beach back at other times. In the
winter with a lot of Nor'easters it takes sand away eroding the beach making it more steep and sometimes with washes,
but now it is bringing in new sand. The ripply sand is hard
packed base sand but the smooth is new fluffier sand just being deposited on the
beach visibly filling in this low area from day to day.
my familiar fishing friend was on station, he sits on the beach almost every
morning. When he is not there I worry he is sick, except on Friday
when I know he is off mowing his church's lawn. We exchange waves
each way as I make my way around to check my turtles. Sometimes
he asks if they have started coming in or if they are hatching and I counter by asking how the fishing is.
But the sea turtle nesting did finally begin. The water has been very cool and the
laying has been very slow and much later than last year. But on the 15th of May we
finally did get our first nest. She worked so hard and crawled so
very far it must have taken her forever. I could tell by the
tracks which went all the way into the low tide that she had not
been gone very long and if I had not spent so much time putting
Horseshoe Crabs back in the water I might have gotten to see her.
She was undecided when she first came in about finding a spot, and did a
loop early on, then crawled to the dune, did another turn around then
crawled parallel to the water before finally laying her nest.
she headed back to the water which by now was even further than before
as the tide had continued to go out. When she came in, there had
still been some water in the low spot which I could tell she had to crawl through, but on
the exit the tide had taken it away.
one of our regular campers in the park was waiting to show me the nest when I
got to the beach. She helped me get the stakes driven in to mark
the nest and was even wearing my last year's Turtle Trot T-Shirt in honor of
Clearly a nice set of tracks from a pretty big gal. This was the second nest on the island.
first was just outside the park within sight of the other but certainly
not the same turtle as not enough time has passed between laying.
They need about 2 weeks to be ready to lay again.
of my favorite Springtime and still blooming wildflowers is Spiderwort.
The airport grassy areas looked like a Texas freeway with its
Lady Bird Blue Bonnets in bloom, but I knew it would not last.
The mowers could not stand such an unkempt area and mowed them
down at the peak of their bloom but they will rise again, and next year
they will be back.
More color in the Pelican painting as it continued to take shape.
thought the patterns in the hard packed sand was interesting against
the Horseshoe Crab as he made his way across it trying to get back to
the water. He hardly leaves a track here.
couple parted ways as "she" returned ahead of "him" since he was
delayed by getting stuck in the sand. Guess he just wouldn't stop
for directions. A rescue was in order. If I can get them to
walk back on their own I let that happen as it saves me having to mount
and dismount so many times on the ATV.
a particularly high tide several live shellfish were left on the beach.
This Whelk was unceremoniously tossed back in the water.
we had two. There was one thing inside the shell which I was not
sure if it was its original inhabitant or if it were a Hermit Crab but
which ever he had a hitch hiker in this slug like critter. I
think they are called squirts because when you squeeze them they squirt
water out...not really sure about that and I tried to look them up.
of my butterfly gardens with the Mexican Butterfly Weed. It is not the
"native" one recommended but it is affordable, -as it is free from
cuttings I gathered from the Museum or was gifted me by friends. My caterpillars seem to do fine with it.
big leaved variety of Milkweed, my sister bought for me, has very pretty
blooms although I never see the Monarchs use it for laying, however they will
eat it if I put it in the holding tank for them. The blossom is
very interesting and unusual.
Sea Turtle release with a couple of juvenile Green Turtles marked the
start of the annual Wild Amelia Festival. This was May. The
sign says "May" you swim long and prosper. The
staff at the Georgia Sea Turtle Center always signs a poster wishing
their patients a good trip.
one is Macy, so named because it was so emaciated when found here on
Amelia Island. The photograph on the green board is a before photo of this now healthy
sea turtle. It had lots of barnacles and also had the "Papilloma virus"
which can be fatal if left untreated. This turtle had the virus
removed with a laser. All of the released
turtles are tagged with a pit tag, (internally in tissue like dogs
and cats are), as well as a metal flipper tag.
is separately escorted into the water by an intern at the Georgia Sea
Turtle Center and by Doctor Terry Norton the Veterinarian who runs the
The pelicans continue to become more complete as time moves along.
Once it is covered completely with paint I will start with
refining it with finishing touches, such making changes in color, to make them
better work together. Though already thinking along these lines, until
it can be seen all together, one can't play with the color so much. Since
I am using liquid acrylics I will have more freedom to make color
changes than if using straight watercolor.
It is good to have that first turtle nest under our belt and a painting that is
nearing completion. Lets hope there are many more of both.
(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.)