Archive for Birds
The weather outside is delightful. Our Sanibel Island mornings have been cool and crisp with the afternoons in the 80s- perfect holiday weather to share with peeps visiting from Boston like cutie little sheller Raquel with her dad Jeff, mom Jackie and brother Adam.
They showed me their favorite shells they found near Gulfside City Park beach then named each one since they just learned the shell names from talking with other shellers on the beach.
This is how the beach brings people to together… I had met sweet Beverly (Maine) and her daughter Carolyn (Boston) just a few minutes before meeting Raquel’s family… which they had been ones to share some of the shell names with them. It’s such a close and wonderful shelling community!
Then I saw Carol from Sanibel Seashells shop walking with a group of birders on the beach with binoculars, books and a clip board in hand. They were volunteering for the Sanibel edition of the National Audubon Society’s Christmas Bird Count. Bravo! They had already counted lots of birds in their count circle but leading the count in numbers were SANDERLINGS, LAUGHING GULLS, WILLETS and RING BILLED GULLS. So cool.
I stood with them a few minutes as they counted a few adorable little SNOWY PLOVERS then we turned to the gulf to see a SURF SCOTER sitting at the edge of the water. How odd! We rarely see SURF SCOTERS on Sanibel and there I was with a bunch of birders to see an uncommon sight … and then to realize it was injured.
One of the Bird Count volunteers Katharine (Vermont) quickly ran over to secure the SCOTER then rushed it to CROW (Clinic for Rehabilitation Of Wildlife). Great job Katharine!
Which reminds me… I found out that the SANDWICH TERN that we rescued on our Captiva Cruises shelling trip had been released. Yay! I’ll keep my fingers crossed for MS. SCOTER too.
The day seemed so serendipitous which is why I love this next photo. Here’s birder Katharine rescuing the SCOTER with a volunteer bird counter holding a bird handbook. Then there’s Jackie from Boston witnessing the rescue who learned shell IDs from Beverly along with her daughter Carolyn… from Boston (in the far background). Shellendipity!
Oh and PS- Guess who is getting in the holiday spirit… my fave shelling captain Brian Holaway. He decorated his boat with SEASHELLS and STARFISH lights for the Captiva Boat Parade. So cute!
The Holaway Holiday boat…
I’m in the spirit too so I’m off to make my SAND DOLLAR cookies for Christmas. Remember these? Everybody loves these cookies and they are so easy. (CLICK HERE for my post on the SAND DOLLAR cookies… but just in case you might no know, any time you see that I’ve highlighted and bolded words in my posts- I have linked to another page for more information – happy linking!)
We found WHELKS, BABYS EARS, WORMIES, CONCHS and lots of SEA URCHINS on our iLoveShelling cruise to Cayo Costa … but Jeff (from VA) got a head start of everybody else. He started shelling on the low tide mud flat beside the dock at Mccarthy’s Marina before our Captiva Cruises boat even left for the island! He spotted something on the bar then came up with 2 LIGHTNING WHELKS and a PEAR WHELK. Love it!
We arrived on Cayo costa to grey, overcast skies…
But the sun started peaking out just in time to shine on the shells. Amy from Kansas City quickly found 2 SUNRAY VENUS clams with both sides still attached. It was a SUNRAY VENUS kinda day!
Trish and Bill (FL) were having the same luck with FIGHTING CONCHS on the bayside where the boat anchored.
As I walked around to the Gulf side of the island, I saw Elizabeth and her Gramma Linda (Nebraska) working the high tide wrack line where all of the miniatures were hiding.
Elizabeth said she saw a BUBBLE SHELL so then started to focus on finding a WENTLETRAP. Yes! She found one along with a whole host of other sweet minis like this FALSE ANGEL WING, teeny tiny juvie CHESTNUT TURBAN, CERITHS, WHELKS, CONCHS and even tiny dried SEA URCHINS.
Sarah from Fort Lauderdale found a few nice chunks of COQUINA LIMESTONE to use as display for the different shells she found on her trip.
Sasha and Brooks (IL) found a few treasures to fill their shell bucket but I was thrilled for Sasha that she found a beautiful FLORIDA CONE.
I was tickled to see Becky and Wade on the cruise! They are amazing shellers who love everything about the beach and end up sharing most of their shells since they have so many. They are always a delight.
They couldn’t resist keeping the gorgeous double SUNRAY VENUSES. I don’t blame them… look at those colors!
There were some very cool WORM SHELLS that Ellen and Chad (Ohio) found but they found SUNRAY VENUSES as well and the one Ellen is holding up has an incredible color pattern- the color was as magenta as her jacket!
Jeff and Lisa found even more treasures to add to Jeff’s finds at the marina dock and they were also happy to receive $25 gift certificates from Sealife By Congress.
Yes, once again everybody on the iLoveShelling cruise received a $25 gift certificate to trade for a sterling silver charm or to use for anything else in their store. Thank you Sealife By Congress!
It was really fun to see Candace and Ken (MO) again (Candace helped me solve the Texas Longhorn mystery!) in her cutie tee shirt and she had strung a SUNRAY VENUS on a necklace with a silver charm similar to my DOSINIA necklace. Warm and fuzzies, I tell ya.
But hold on, we didn’t just find shells… Sisters Cissy (Asheville, NC), Debbie (Chapel Hill, NC) and Karen (Charleston, SC) had great luck finding shells (the top photo with the BABYS EARS) but they also saw an injured bird that needed rescuing. Carolina Sisters to the rescue!
They hurried back to the boat to tell Captain Skip who grabbed a towel then hurried to the beach to find it. He found a SANDWICH TERN unable to fly because of an injured wing so he gently gathered the bird in the towel to keep her secure then headed back to the boat to call CROW (Clinic for the Rehabilitation Of Wildlife).
As soon as we got back to the dock, CROW volunteers Jaclyn and Ryan were waiting with a carrier to get Miss SANDWICH TERN safely to the clinic for medical help and treated ASAP. I called today to see how she was – she’s gaining weight and healing her wing but she still needs a few more days to recover. Get well quickly, Miss BLT! heehee
Here are the awesome rescuers…
See? Shelling is ALWAYS an adventure. You should join us on one of these exshellent shelling trips with so many other fabshellous shellers. I just announced new dates through May 2015… CLICK HERE for the new dates and more info…
Like many other shellers, my first memories of shelling were being mesmerized with the colors of COQUINAS. “Butterfly” shells. I can get lost for hours in a small stretch of beach sorting through pink, yellow, red, orange, purple and striped COQUINAS. This is exactly what happened last night at Sanibel’s Gulfside City Park. Something happens to the rest of the world. I’m not sure where it goes but it disappears when I see these little beauties as I wonder how each one can look like they’ve been hand painted by thousands of different artists.
The only thing that can snap me out of my world of seashell wonder is another extraordinary event… like an OSPREY plopping down his dinner feast on the same stretch of beach.
It’s not often an OSPREY will get so close to us on the beach with his meal but I think this fish was about to wiggle its way out of the grips of this hungry predator. I’m assuming Mr Osprey had to land his catch on the beach to get a better grip so he wouldn’t lose this tasty dinner. Whatever the reason, Clark and I were thrilled to see this OSPREY show and I figured you might want to see it too! Enjoy the quick OSPREY show…