Archive for January, 2012


When Shelling Worlds Collide

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Ken Junonia Sanibel lighthouse

Ken found an extraordinary JUNONIA! I introduced you to Ken on my last post “Saving Another Sanderlin…Andy!“…. but remember I told you things were getting a little crazy? It’s because I was listening to Ken’s heartwarming story of his JUNONIA when all of our iLS worlds collided. Now that you’ve heard about Alyssa’s SANDERLING, I have to share the story of this extremely precious JUNONIA…

Ken Junonia Sanibel lighthouse close up

Ken’s sister Chris introduced the family to her passion of beach combing while on their annual visit to Sanibel. After being on the beach with Chris the first time, Ken’s wife Sue understood why her sister-in-law loved shelling so much and became hooked right away so she tried to get Ken to shell with her with no avail… first. This is Ken and Sue…

Ken Sue shellig lighthouse junonia wet suit

Ken thought shelling was more for people who just liked walking on the beach until…. you ready for this? Sue called Ken over to the computer one day to show him all the cool stuff Clark finds on the beach then she showed him Donnie’s shell posts on iLS too. An “Aha moment”! He started to get it. He finally realized it’s all about the treasure hunt! Now he’s a sheller and it all began with his sister Chris sharing her passion.

donnie ken clark sanibel

Donnie, Ken and Clark

Then Sue said to me… “Our family love love loves your website, including Ken’s youngest sister and our shelling buddy Chris.  Sadly we lost her in August, at age 38 to ovarian cancer.  The last time we saw her, I whispered in her ear that we would think of her every time we were shelling, and if there was a way for her to communicate that she was OK, she could guide us to a junonia.  In the fall, her sisters sprinkled some of her ashes in the Gulf off the Lighthouse Point.  On Tuesday morning, the fist day of Ken’s shelling vacation, he waded out in front of the Light House and found a beautiful junonia.  The following morning he found an angel wing in the same spot.  While it was a bit emotional when he first found it, we have been grinning from ear to ear since! 

 Chris was a true nature lover.   It was perfectly wonderful that the person standing next to Ken when he found the shell was Mother Nature Marilyn.
Our hearts go out to you for your loss, Ken and Sue, but so thankful that you got your extraordinary sign that Chris is okay. Thank you for sharing this amazing story of life, passion and hope.

i Love Shelling unites Sheller

This is the same photo (Sue took the picture) I showed you on my last post when I said things were getting a little wild. Somehow, this photo makes a little more sense to me why all of our worlds were brought together at this very moment. Alyssa found another Sanderling while Mother Earth Marilyn was there again for the rescue….. then ME Marilyn was there to witness the heavenly JUNONIA being found….. when one of the reasons Ken was inspired to shell was because of Clark and Donnie…. then Karen shows up with her iLS shirt to explain how we all know each other… then Andrea joined us because it makes us realize all of these people are part of our iLoveShelling family. Bonded by the beach.

Ken Junonia Sanibel lighthouse Florida

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Saving Another Sanderling…. Andy!

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alyssa with hurt sanderling bird

I was shocked when Donnie’s daughter Alyssa showed me a SANDERLING she was cradling in her hands. She had found the little bird on the beach unable to fly so she picked him up because she thought his wings were broken. Oh my! But hold on, the story gets a little crazy so let me back up a bit so I can explain the whole experience.

Clark and I ran into Donnie and his two daughters at the lighthouse beach this morning so I wanted to take a picture of all of them together. We’ve heard all about Alyssa and Holly so we finally got to meet them…so adorable, huh?

dad with girls on sanibel beach

Holly couldn’t wait to show me her shelling bucket full of cute shells she found…

Holly with shell bucket sanibel

Alyssa is an amazing sheller (to see her past finds CLICK HERE) so she was finding all sorts of great shells but she had befriended a tiny little LEOPARD CRAB…

live leopard crab

As I was talking to another couple that hangs out here at iLoveShelling, Ken and Sue……

Ken Sue shellig lighthouse junonia wet suit

Then the craziness began!

sanderling bird in the hand sanibel florida

Alyssa brought the little SANDLERLING over to show me, so I called Clark back over to help with the bird. Guess who he brought back with him…… Mother Earth Marilyn!!!! OMG Do you remember her? I met Marilyn last year because she helped me rescue Sandy The Sanderling! What are the chances?

i Love Shelling unites Sheller

In the midst of all this, I saw Karen from Kansas with an iLoveShelling tee on so I had to call her over to say “hi”. So before I knew it, we had a whole group of iLoveShelling-ers standing there all together! From left to right- Andrea (Pompano, FL), me, SS (shelling sister with her tee!) Karen, little Holly, Donnie, Allysa (with the Sanderling in her hands!), Ken, Super Sheller Clark and Mother Earth Marilyn who cannot take her eye off that Sanderling ;). I would have loved to stay and talk to this fabulous crowd but we had to get ….. errrr… “Andy” The Sanderling to CROW asap.

crow rehabilitation of wildlife sanibel

The doctor at CROW said his wings were not broken. She said it was it was probably neurological issues caused by RED TIDE. Yikes! She said there is no medication for this but keeping him warm with fluids will be the best way to nurse him back to health to release him. She didn’t see why he wouldn’t make a full recovery. Thank you again CROW! But the big Thank You goes to you, Alyssa, for rescuing this handsome little creature, Andy the Sanderling.

alyssa with andy the sanderling

Categories : Seashells
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Rare Sighting! Mauve-Mouth Drill Egg Case

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mauve-mouth drill egg case

This is so wild. Attached to a SUNRAY VENUS CLAM, were fresh egg cases that these MAUVE-MOUTH DRILLS just produced!

Calotrophon ostrearum egg case mauve mouth drill

MurexKen found this fascinating nest just after MurexAlice had shown me those cute little MORTON’S EGG COCKLES on yesterdays post (hmmm- the “egg” theme continues, huh?). I was tickled that he called me over to show me this egg case that I’ve never seen before. The babies look like little pods of pollen sitting in a beautiful flower. Mk and MA are quite a pair for finding the unexpected!

live mauve-mouth drill egg case

I’m not quite sure, but I think the shell on the left was still laying some eggs. I hated to disturb them so after taking a few photos, we returned the mollusks and eggs to the water to make sure they produce healthy babies.

sunray venus with mauve-mouth drill egg case

You can see this one’s aperture with just a bit of the “mauve” showing around his body.

live mauve-mouth drill

Oh wait…. just in case you can’t remember what a MAUVE-MOUTH DRILL looks like when you find them empty on the beach, here are a few pictures to refresh your memory…

mauve mouth drill

Now you’ll see why they call it “mauve-mouth”. They have a mauve or purple in the aperture when they are alive or freshly dead.

Mauve mouth drill aperture

Out of all these shells in our collection at home, I could only find one that had a mauve mouth.

mauve-mouth drills Calotrophon ostrearum

I don’t find MAUVE-MOUTH DRILLS that often so to see live ones that are laying eggs was really pretty exceptional. I’m not sure if this would be considered scientifically  ”rare” to see this out beach combing, but it was rare for me. Great finds MK and MA!

mauve-mouth drills



Sunny Side Up Egg Cockles

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Mortons Yellow Egg Cockle

This is no yoke….. errr… I mean joke! The inside of this MORTON’S YELLOW EGG COCKLE is really this yellow! And some of the exterior patterns are just as pretty.

exterior mortons yellow egg cockle

We found quite a few of these on some of the sandy mud flats at Cayo Costa.

interiors of mortons yellow egg cockles florida

There is such a variety of patterns on the interiors and exteriors of these cutie little shells.

morton yellow egg cockle seashells Sanibel

Yep, I said “little” shells. Wanna see how little they are?

Laevicardium mortoni mortons egg cockle size

I would have completely missed these little guys if it hadn’t been for MurexAlice pointing these beauties out to me. I felt so lucky to be able to beach comb with her since she showed me another cutie little shell I would have missed. This is the FLORIDA LYONSIA

Florida lyonsia Lyonsia floridana

It is so delicate and paper thin I thought I would break the valves apart before I got home to photograph it. But… Yes! It made it home with both valves still attached. I rinsed the shells off but those little grains of sand seem to be attached so I let them be.

interior Lyonsia floridana lyonsia

I’m not sure if you can see the iridescent shimmer to it, but it reminds me of a tiny little ANGEL WING with a pearlized finish.

size of Lyonsia floridana florida lyonsia seashell

Okay, let me back up a bit before I forget to show you this….I mentioned the MORTON’S YELLOW EGG COCKLE in previous post “I’m Telling On Some Tellins” and it reminded me of an orchid plant. I got a comment from Jackie saying that it was the Oncidium orchid that it looks like. Yes, that’s it! I found a photo from Wikipedia that will show you why it these shells remind me of an orchid. Do you see why now?

Oncidium-altissimum orchid

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shelling sunglasses

 Seriously, you’ve got to wear sunglasses when you’re on the beach. This is how many pairs of sunglasses I have because I keep a pair close at hand at all times……except yesterday. I did not take one pair of these sunglasses when I went to the beach. Not one pair. I forgot them. Not good. I’m just now recovering from a very long painful headache that kept me up all night long. So, PLEASE … ALWAYS protect your eyes!  Drug stores, grocery stores and big box stores now sell the cheap (even polarized!) ones that are fantastic. Okay? I’ll be back to normal self soon and I’ll show you my cool finds.

pam sunglasses

Categories : Sanibel
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As Our Beach Paths Cross

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miyuki biking sanibel

My high school friend Miyuki came to visit (!) so I had a blast showing her around the island on bikes, gabbing and giggling about old times. We hadn’t seen each other in probably 15 years so I wanted the whole day to be an adventure. So, of course, we had to start the day by getting to the beach…. at dawn…. with our lighted caps.

miyuki head lamp shelling

 This was her first big find of the morning… a perfect ALPHABET CONE!

miyuki alphabet cone

 The she picked up a beautiful CALICO SCALLOP and said “This is my favorite shell of the trip because it seems sooooo Sanibel”. Awwww, so sweet, huh?

miyuki favorite shell

Miyuki has always been a photographer. In all of the years I’ve known her, she has always had a camera in her hand so I was so happy to see she hasn’t changed one bit. She always tries to capture beautiful moments in time.

Miyuki taking photograph sanibel

 I caught her switching from her 35 millimeter to her iPhone to share the moment immediately with her family back in Virginia. Don’t you love technology these days?

Miyuki iphone sanibel sunrise

You know how it is after you get home from a trip. Everything is crazy trying to catch up with life and family. So I haven’t received any of her photos yet of this sunrise and her shell collection (I’ll add a link when I get them) ….. but this is my photo of those gorgeous sun beams shining through the clouds that morning…

sanibel sunrise reflection

 I’m so thankful that our lives have crossed the same path again…

Miyuki on sanibel boardwalk beach access

As adults, we get in the groove of our own lives and don’t often get to see our oldest friends. It’s always a treat to take a step back and remember our young selves and how many laughs we shared.

sanibel beach morning sun rays

Glad you got to meet her! Take a look at some of Miyuki’s work at

miyuki on boat

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