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Collecting seashells on the beaches of Sanibel, Captiva and the world

Candy Cantharus

Posted by on Jan 31, 2011 in Cantharus, Ribbed Cantharus, Sunsets, Tinted Cantharus | 13 comments

Ribbed Cantharus

Ribbed Cantharus

It was a great beach day today with calm, warm weather in the 70’s even though it was hard to find any un-picked-over shell piles. I did, however, find these little RIBBED CANTHARUS that look like they’d fit right in with my little horsies (JUVENILE HORSE CONCHS) in my “candy” dish.

Tinted Cantharus

Tinted Cantharus

While I was getting info on the RIBBED CANTHARUS, I realized that I had found this TINTED CANTHARUS last week and had no idea they were related. So the happy cousins get to hang out together to start a new “candy ” dish.

Love Birds at sunset

I introduced myself to Neal and Natalia from Florida’s east coat after I snapped this photo of them gazing at the sunset in each others arms. So sweet!

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Beach Treasures and Willet Birds

Posted by on Jan 30, 2011 in Crucifix Shell, Ring-Billed Gull, Sunsets, Willet | 18 comments

Shelling for Wentletraps

Shelling for Wentletraps

When the high tides sweep the beach of the larger shells and take them back out to sea, the hunt for smaller shells starts again along with any type of beach treasure. If you want to find the WENTLETRAPS, you’ve got to get down and dirty by bending those knees as much as possible. This is Clark at sunset at the Lighthouse Beach finding those little beauties.

Beach crucifix

Beach crucifix

I found a few wentles too but my best find was the head bone of a catfish called a CRUCIFIX SHELL. I know it sounds a little weird but it is a sign of good luck when you find one of these. Yippee! It’s gonna be a good week.

Sanibel Willet birds

Sanibel Willet birds

I also found myself paying closer attention to the birds around me since my calling to little miss cutie Sandy The Sanderling. I caught these WILLET birds (above) all resting on one leg right at the shore line. Do you know why birds stand on one leg? My friend Bonnie helped me on this one….. Because they are conserving their energy and reducing their heat loss. Smart, huh?

Gull eating seashell

Ring-billed Gull eating a seashell

Doesn’t this guy know better than to mess around with those PEN SHELLS? He didn’t get his beak caught like the Sanderling but geez, dude, watch out!

fish tooth


Maybe he lost this tooth trying to pry that shell open. LOL Yes, I know it’s not from a bird (birds don’t have teeth, silly) but what do you think it’s from?

While we think on that, let’s take a minute to relax and enjoy this scene at sunset.

Little girls at sunset

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Saving Sandy The Sanderling

Posted by on Jan 29, 2011 in Blind Pass, Captiva, CROW, Pen Shell, Sanderling | 20 comments

Saving a bird

Sandy the Sanderling with Marilyn

I knew there was a problem on Captiva’s new beach at Blind Pass when I walked by this little Sanderling and she didn’t move an inch. I guess most shore birds here know that “other” shellers are friendly folks so you can get pretty close to them before they fly away. This was different. This little girl was standing upright but completely still. I crouched down to see if she was hurt and realized that her beak was trapped in the “jaws” of a live PEN SHELL.

I tried to pry the shell open but I didn’t want to move the bird too much to irritate her bill. I had to get help. Near the parking lot, I found the perfect person….. I’ll just call her Mother Earth Marilyn. She just looked like she was ready for any beach rescue mission with fanny packs, nets, a big, wide, uv protected brimmed hat and the right attitude. She took charge and held Sandy The Sanderling while I tried to pry the shell open. I still couldn’t budge the shell so I recruited another couple of guys… one with a pocket knife and another to pry the shell open. She was released from the grips of that pesky PEN SHELL!

Unfortunately, the tips of her beak were broken off and she was losing lots of blood. We quickly emptied Mother Earth Marilyn’s shell bag and put Sandy The Sanderling safely in her pouch to rush her to CROW (Clinic for the Rehabilitation Of Wildlife).

I just got the latest diagnosis on our little patient at CROW…. Sandy The Sanderling is doing well!!

Sanderling bird


We hope that her beak will heal well enough to feed herself so she can be released back in the wild. Let’s all give good wishes for our new little bird friend and a big thanks to Marilyn for getting her in the caring hands of Dr. McNamara at CROW.

Stiff Pen Shell

The nice cousin of the evil pen shell that chomped on Sandy

PS- After telling this story right after it happened, I was told several times…..”The moral of this story ….. Don’t stick your nose where it doesn’t belong”.

UPDATE:  January 31- Sandy The Sanderling was released back to the wild! With the help of Dr. McNamara at CROW, Sandy’s beak was healing nicely enough for her to eat and manage her life on her own. That a girl!

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Sani-Belles Love Sanibel And Captiva

Posted by on Jan 28, 2011 in Blind Pass, Captiva, Flat Zigzag Scallop, Lace Murex, lady-in-waiting, Southern Quahog, Southern Quahog Juvenile | 12 comments

New seashells on Captiva island

Captiva Crouch

They’re baaack. We’ve been waiting all week for those west winds to push the shells up on the beach…. and now we got our wish. Shells were washing up at Blind Pass this afternoon but not on the new sand bar. They were piling up all along the beach at our old fave spot on the right side of the jetty rocks on Captiva.

i Love Shelling shellers

Sani-Belles Val, Suzie, Ella (Mom), Ellene

My favorite finds yesterday were…. The Sani-Belles!!  Girls know how to have fun in this family and they do it in their iLoveShelling tee shirts and named themselves Sani-Belles for their love of the islands! Shelling sister Sani-Belle Val from New Mexico (Every day I cherish that ornament she made me) brought her sisters Sani-Belle Suzie and Sani-Belle Ellene and their mom Sani-Belle Ella (California) out to Blind Pass at the perfect time of day laughing and giggling every moment with every scoop of shells they found.

Sani-belle Suzie's shell bag

Sani-belle Suzie's shell bag

Sani-belle Suzie has a pretty darn good shelling eye.

Juvenile Southern Quahog Seashell

Sani-Belle suzie's Juvenile Southern Quahog

Look at the pattern on this JUVENILE SOUTHERN QUAHOG. I had a little difficulty identifying this shell because the pattern is so similar to the LADY-IN-WAITING VENUS clam. MurexKen came to the rescue again to help correctly identify it. I would have never thought something named a QUAHOG could be mixed up with a LADY-IN-WAITING (only perhaps in Shrek). Thanks MK!

Tiny Flat scallop

Sani-Belle Suzie's tiny flat scallop


lace murex in shells

Lace Murex in shells

I couldn’t believe my eyes! I found a MERMAID resting on the jetty rocks!

Mermaid on the rocks

Mermaid Ella

It was crazy how many OLIVES were rolling in. We also found those huge (relatively speaking…. they are only 2 inches long ;)) AUGERS Every time the waves hit the shore, it seemed to bring AUGERS and OLIVES. Here’s a look at what we experienced yesterday. Enjoy the video.

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Shells of a Different Color

Posted by on Jan 25, 2011 in Florida Spiny Jewelbox, Jewel Box, Lace Murex, Murex, Sand Dollar, Top Shell, True tulip, Tulip | 18 comments

True Tulip Shells

Color wheel of True Tulip Shells

After I left the beach at Blind Pass Sunday morning, I just knew there should have been more shell piles coming in from the strong north west winds from Saturday. Unfortunately, I had to run out of town for a few days so I left before the shells got stirred up enough to reach the beach. I heard Sunday afternoon (right after I left) was the best shelling day all week with oodles of LIGHTNING WHELKS and TULIPS washing up on Sanibel around Middle gulf Drive. I’m so happy for the lucky shellers (Sunny and Cshells!) who hit that Sunday seashell jackpot. Although I would have loved to see the Sunday shelling madness, I still haven’t gotten over our finds from last Thursday, so here are more photos of our colorful beauties from that awesome day.

Marco Lace Murex aperture

Lace Murex aperture

I’m always overwhelmed by how beautiful a LACE MUREX can be.

Spiney Jewel Box

Spiney Jewel Box

I’ve never found such a colorful SPINEY JEWEL BOX like this before last week and both sides were still together. Gorgeous.

Top Shells

Top Shells

Who knew TOP SHELLS came in so many different colors?

Marco Sand Dollars

Sand Dollars

These were the best of about ten SAND DOLLARS but not all of them made it back in one piece. I also heard that people are finding SAND DOLLARS off Middle Gulf Drive the past few days. All three of these TRUE TULIPS (2 to 3 inches) below were found by Super Sheller Clark. The middle one looks like it was made of dark chocolate… talk about rich color!

True Tulips

True Tulips

We had high south winds today and are expecting high north west winds tomorrow so I will be checking Middle Gulf Drive beaches and Blind Pass the next few days. Stir it up, baby!

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