Archive for January, 2011


Candy Cantharus

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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!


Beach Treasures and Willet Birds

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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


Saving Sandy The Sanderling

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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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