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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 Snowbirds know when to head South, as many birds with which I do not have familarity, arrive some to stay, some to move on down the beach to other destinations.

I have no idea what these were but just know they were not some of our local regulars.

Our big excitement was a late laying Green Nest laid, protected here from Brer Fox by the screening.  It was high enough to not be washed over by any of our fall Nor'easters, and safe from the fox, but even that does not predict its success but that is another story.

Another successful hatching through the wire.

With the my Patrol on foot I use the front entry to the park, instead of the shorter drive through the back gate when I pick up an ATV.  This route gives me lots more time time to observe the many deer we have in the park.

On a visit to the Marina to take the Golden Girls for a short walk on the docks I spot an old friend.  I have taken many photos of this ship when it was a tourist attraction.  i wondered what had happened to it.  In days gone by it was an exciting ride with full sails and decks full of tourists to catch the sunset as it sailed oceanward through the Cumberland Sound on the North end of the island.  In those days I would have as many nests on the river as on the ocean front and I would be out there at sunset watching for hatching nests.  I didn't count on 10 years making me be too tired at the end of the day to make going on home at the end of the day more of a draw than checking turtle nests for potential emerging turtles.

A nice fellow offered to take my photos with The Golden Girls as we checked out this very exclusive yacht.  It had its own powerboat and jet ski's stored on deck in the rear.  It was quite the sleek lady that's for sure.

Loved the stainless steel highly polished Silver Eagle mounted on its side.  We have lots of very fancy boats like this come in but I don't often take this close a look see.

Now I am enjoying 3 sunrises a week if not more.  By getting up early enough for the sunrise it also gives me time to have a little bit of leisure time to fool around on the beach before I have to be back home to supervise breakfast, and try to intercept the girls habitual raid on the cereal boxes.  Often though, I find I have failed and find them each with an enormous bowl of cereal already half eaten.  For Mom the cereal was a good choice but not so much for Helen with her diabetes.  I buy Mom her favorite sugary cereal, but carefully pick a better choice of Cherrios which are not so high in sugar for Helen, then try writing on each box in big magic marker letters whose cereal was whose.  That has helped some. After breaksfast I supervise the checking and recording Blood pressure and sugar levels, then administer the morning round of meds, explaining each morning to my mom what she was taking and why.  She prides herself on not taking medicine and insists she doesn't need anything but her "one a day".  It helped in the beginning for me to take my daily vitamins and anti-inflamatory and back pain meds wth her. Helen on the other hand will take as many pills as you give her in one big swallow and thank you for giving them to her.  She also says I give an easy "shot".  Maybe I can add that to my resume.

Very few sunsets are in my photographs these days, as I now have other mouths to feed waiting at home after work.  With Helen's diabetes I feel compelled to make sure she gets a good meal and then her nightly dose of Meds and her two evening insulin injections all pretty critical stuff.  That along with her high blood pressure problems made the doling out of the weeks supply of medicines, done on Saturday evening into the waiting pill boxes a very serious matter requiring a lot of conscentration.  It is quite a feeling of responsibility when it really could be a matter of life and death to get anything mixed up. And then it is time to hit the shower and get ready for my day.  

But there is time to spend a bit of time in my back yar.  I think I loved the background colors of this photograph more than the butterfly.  All that peach and pale yellows along with a dash of lavender was just a pretty abstract blend of pastel colors.

Other winged creatures have been busy in my yard too this year.  The other night one was zipping by the porch light in the dusky pre night light and I realized these delicate looking wings were the propulsion method for a real killing machine as this dragonfly was on the hunt.  But for now as it sat with the light casting a shadow of those very beautiful glosimer wings across the pale aqua of the faded and burnt sienna colors of the metal fence post was a beautiful image.  It is almost as if those colors are reflected in the very interesting eyes of these very intersting insects.

A very regal looking Monarch sits high atop the green Jasmine privacy screen beside my patio.  I have not had any eggs lately and it seems most of the "flutterbies" have been of the male sex which could be the reason.  The Gulf Fritillaries and the Zebra Longwinged Butterflies have remained very active but I have not been able to successfully bring in their eggs and get them to survive.

The nest that hatched was ready to excavate and one very ghost like hatchling was in the nest.  It seemed to be in good health and was strong and ready to hit the surf.

Once wet its true colors became apparent and it was indeed a very pale buff colored turtle.  These scutes will become much more pronounced as it grows in the next year helping to protect it from predators by appearing to be a very rough spiny surface to tackle.  I recently saw my first photograph of one of these very elusive little guys about a year or so later.  This is a time when they are seldom see and is called "the lost years" for that reason.  Nature has such interesting ways of protecting its own.

After the near brush with the water, the little one must still crawl through the wet sand on to a final bout with the surf which it will eventually win and be off to spend the rest of its life as a sea creature.

Another surprise encounter with a young but larger Green Sea Turtle was when my friend Amy caught me just after the excavation with a cell call just as I reached my car to leave the park.  Sister Susan was with me at the time.  Amy said come quick a Turtle was stuck behind the jetty in a tidal pool.  I wadded in and grabbing it on either side of its mid section only to be surprised by its strength as it quickly surged forward and crossing the length of the pool in a single bound.

Susan, being younger and a more adgile got into the pool to shoo it back my way but instead saw an opportunity to catch it and although the power of the turtle knocked her off balance backward, she ended up in the water but managed to hold onto it.

I was able to scrape off the several barnacles which had attached themselves to its head and shell before we released it on the right side of the jetty.  Green Sea Turtles are so beautiful and it seems like we are getting more and more of these little ones hanging out around the jetty and pier as well as the Marina in town.  Maybe it is because of the ones the Georgia Sea Turtle Center is releasing here.

One morning I thought this was a very intersting shot of what appeared to be three sets of footprints to precede me on the boardwalk to the beach.  I knew the barefooted one was Amy.

I made it in time to see a beautiful sunrise.

And back in the old backyard I encountered a reptile baby of a different species as this very tiny little Green Anole looked a bit shaggy as it was busy shedding a layer of skin as it expanded out of it, growning quickly in those early days.

A trip to Burny Park for an easier walk to the beach for the Golden Girls found a very strong wind was beginning to blow.  A couple of blocks inland and I had not realized the strentgh of it.  The birds all sit facing into the wind as it blew out of the Northeast.

Maybe The Blues Sister is a better name for them today.  The dunes of Nana sit patiently behind them at American Beach, one of the first places that Black citizens could attend a public beach in the South.  A. L Lewis, the first black millionaire had bought this piece of property so that could be a possibility.  When Mayvene, his granddaughter, was questioned about why she was so adamant about trying to get it turned into a national park, she said, "Leave it alone Buster, half of us were concieved behind those dunes".  I'm sure the reporter was left with his mouth hanging open on that one.  Mayvene was quite a character, and I am glad I was able to get to know her a little bit before she passed.

The wind increased and with the higher tides of Fall and moon phases it presented a lethal combination for late laid turtle nests on the beach.  This is a nest already small after two raids by the fox and it would prove to be disasterious for it with only a very few able to make it out.  We are hopeful that this water coverage and the ones to follow will not harm the eggs.  It just depends on how long under water, how deep the wet sand deposited on the nest is, and the critical timing of what stage of development the eggs have reached as to and how sever the damage.

However this nest, number 23 and our very last laid nest, may be all right as it was early in its development when getting sand washed over it will not be quite as critical.

There was hardly any beach left on which to walk that morning.

The river side was no better with one nest in particular still on this beach and it would be almost a total loss just because of the water.  We think that 10 of the babies may have gotten out of that nest because we counted 10 more eggs shells than dead babies.  The babies were already hatched out when they were washed over and they could not breath.  Almost a hundred dead babies were in the nest when we were finally able to excavate it.
But in the distance the wind and high tides did not slow down the parade on the river as the motorcade escorting the submarine into port were not deterred.

We enjoy seeing the force that is a stormy sea.  I walk out onto the pier for a higher vantage point and a more up close and personal encounter with the sea as I can actually walk over the churning mass of energy below me.

It is especially intersting to walk alongside the water as it crashes over the jetty separating the river from the big pond beyond call the Atlantic Ocean.

But overcast and stormy skies do break away and the sun will shine again.

On Friday it was both beautiful blue sky mixed with fast moving fluffy drier clouds coupled with still a pretty strong wind. 

A closer look at the beach shows that each tiny shell has become a barrier to the wind sculpting the shape pointing away from the direction of the wind on its surface.

It was the weekend of the wedding we had used as an excuse to bring the girls down with the promise of a big family get-together.  Brother Mike and wife Denice enjoy the walk on a nice sandy beach so different from their rocky Northwestern Pacific shoreline.

The sun was low as we had slipped out the door while sis was preparing a low country boil, one of the easiest meals to feed a crowd here, as whole family on the local scene did gather to enjoy it.  The very low sun hitting the waves as they break make them glow in its light.

Even the sea foam on a beached Moon Jelly shows the winds direction.

Bits of Sea Foam skitters across the smooth sand like scurrying mice finally dissolving themselves with the friction of the sand against their fragile surface.  The waves seem to have a glow from within.

I get ahead of them and head back to help in the kitchen as Bro Mike enjoys a more leisurely pace.  The tiny red string around a small steel post in the sand is a sign of things to come.  Soon the dredge machines will start with a beach renourishment project that will change this view for quite a while as the huge rusty pipe is laid its length.  By that time there will only be two nests left on this beach.  There will have to be special provisions for them since we had not planned on a project and already had nests in place when we found out.  It was an emergency order from the Navy to dredge the channel to make it safe for the subs to navigate the river.
It is what it is as powers from the sky in the form of wind and the tides cannot be held back and neither can the will of the need of the Navy, so we learn to accept what hand we are dealth and make the best of it.  As I heard from the head of the Amelia Island Sea Turtle Watch, Mary Duffy, the other day, "Saving Sea Turtles is a Marathon not a Sprint", and so it is.  I have learned to accept what is and not dwell on what isn't or as my sister adds to neice Julie's saying "it is what it is" and Sis's addition "it ain't what it ain't."

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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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