It’s wild how many colors and patterns of COQUINA shells my friend Celeste and I found last week on Sanibel.
Combing the beach to look for beautiful treasures is the best place in the world to catch up with a dear friend like Celeste- especially finding COQUINAS as colorful as she is.
Oh yes, she is very colorful, wild and very talented. She was one of my first friends I met when we moved to Sanibel and she has kept me laughing ever since. She makes clay art that is as colorful as any COQUINA and she makes sealife for most of her pieces. I just have to show off one of her pieces to you… it has SEAHORSES, FISH, OCTOPUSES and even STINGRAYS. You can see some of her other sealife inspired pieces at ABohemeLife.com .
There was a lot of other wildlife happening on Sanibel this past week (other than hanging out with Celeste- heehee). DOLPHINS were racing up and down near the Sanibel pier.
I also had another dear friend and wild woman in town… Lizbeth. All in one day on Sanibel, she and her family witnessed SCCF (Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation) count LOGGERHEAD SEA TURTLE nest eggs (photo by Lizbeth)…
And… They they witnessed a rescued of two baby LOGGERHEAD SEA TURTLES (photo by Lizbeth)…
And then… she and her sister saw a BOBCAT cross a beach path (photo by Lizbeth) …
Then they saw a mother LOGGERHEAD SEA TURTLE laying eggs on the beach… and I got to see this one too! This photo is very dark and slightly pink because you can only have a red filtered light on the beach in SEA TURTLE nesting season (May through September) on Sanibel. We wanted to be very careful and respectful while in the presence of this incredible creature in a moment like this. It’s a memory I will never forget. So cool!
During daylight hours, SCCF marked the nest and reminded us of the full circle of SEA TURTLE EGGS of the weeks events.
Then the rain started. It has been raining and raining for days and it’s hardly stopped. I should record the crickets, frogs and croaking alligators that are loving it. My back yard is filled with water so our yard shells look like they’ve gone back to the ocean… covered with water. It’s actually a beautiful sight with everything so green and lush with the symphony of nature in the background. It’s been a wild week.
Baby BOBCATS! What a SPECTACULAR sighting on Sanibel island! Actually, seeing the mama BOBCAT was incredible enough but to see three kittens tagging along after her made my heart sing! She was already teaching her children the ropes of living on Sanibel by taking her three kittens out for a stroll around my friend’s back yard.
Watching the mother through a closed screened window, we were able to see her gather her kittens from under the house. She has obviously been living in this same area for a while and trusts my friends since she decided to make her den under their deck of the pool.
They are so stinkin adorable! She looked up at the window a couple of times after an uncontrolled high pitched squeak came out of my mouth. “OOAAHH!” I just wanted to squeal in delight every single minute while seeing these sweet little faces!
Get ready for warm and fuzzies, y’all….
Then she took them on a short walk through the woods to teach them where they will live when they get older.
This one is the mischievous one. I can already tell this one is going to be the one that drives the Mamma nuts with worry. Ha!
Believe it or not, she laid down in the shady brush just behind the house where we witnessed her nursing the babies. How did I get so lucky to see this? I have never been happier in my life living on this island where we can see the wonders of Mother Nature at her best and her fascinating wildlife. Thank you MN and to my friends that let me crowd the only window in the house to witness such a beautiful event. Oh But Wait!!!!
I have a video of the babies!!! SpeCATular! Meow. [youtube]http://youtu.be/Psv0gIY3SPc[/youtube]
My Top 10 Most Fave Posts Of 2011!
Happy New Year’s Eve! It’s been an amazing year on the beach so I thought I’d look back on all of my favorite posts of 2011. I realized not all of my favorite days were completely about seashells. Some of my favorite days of 2011 have been about the wildlife I’ve experienced because of my
obsession (ha!) passion for shelling. So I’m starting with #10 then counting down to my number ONE favorite post. I bet you guess what that will be- heehee. Click on each title or photo to read each post…
Tips To Decorate Your Home with Seashells
Seashells Swarm The Shell Fair
Sorting Seashells For The Holidays
Bobcat On North Captiva Beach
Top 10 Reasons Why I Love The Beach
Road Trip For Seashells In The Florida Keys
Splish Splash Sanibel Dolphins Having a Blast
An Octopus Hatching Babies Video
Roseate Spoonbills By Sanibel Causeway Video
#1 Favorite !!!!! (Of Course, right?!!!)
There’s A New Super Sheller In Town!
These were my favorites, what was your fave iLoveShelling post of 2011?
Photo by Suzi Carroll
A mama ALLIGATOR with her 16 babies was photographed at J. N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge last week by my friend Suzie Carroll. Let me repeat…. this was at Ding Darling NOT anywhere near the beach.
Alligator with babies photo by Suzi Carroll
This really has nothing to do with shelling but I could not help but share this since it was so wild… literally. Thank you Suzi for showing your amazing photos with us! We all love to see babies of any kind but this one is really kinda cute with a little creepiness around the edges.
photo by Suzi Carroll
Do you see the mother giving piggy back rides to the kids? Crazy! That doesn’t seem so cold blooded to me but these reptiles are nothing to mess with. Always stay as far a possible from these creatures and NEVER EVER feed them. Hmmmm, maybe this is why I like to hang out on the beach… no ALLIGATORS!
Alligator babies photo by Suzi Carroll
UPDATE: 11-13-11 We’ve had such interesting comments about these alligators and their habitat- I love it! One of the conversations led to the question of how many of these babies will survive since we all know in nature, all things have predators. I had remembered seeing another cool picture with an alligator that yall might like to see to0. I found it! This photo was taken on September 24 at 9am on the Ding Darling trail camera. Now we know for sure what keeps the alligator population in check……. A BOBCAT eats gator bites for breakfast!
Finding a MILK CONCH on Sanibel is not an every day thing… but Robyn (Toronto) seemed to have luck on her side on her vacation on Sanibel last week because she found a pretty perfect one off West Gulf Drive near White Caps cottages.
It is rare that I hear about MILK CONCHS washing up on Sanibel since they are more common in southeast Florida and the Keys. On our trip to the Florida Keys in June, we saw lots of them. I think Hurricane Irene must have had something to do with stirring up those Caribbean waters to push it up here on the west coast of Florida, don’t you? What a find, Robyn! Congrats!
Remember I told you she had luck on her side? Not only did she find this MILK CONCH, but she saw a BOBCAT just a few steps from her cottage to capture this magnificent animal through her camera lens. That’s rare too!
As this lucky girl would have it, A MANATEE surfaced in the water right in front of us as we were standing on the beach looking at her seashell finds and an OSPREY swooped right over our heads. I wasn’t able to get a photo of the MANATEE or OSPREY but here are some of her other treasures…
… and a few JINGLES and other goodies too.
I’m telling you…. this chick is like a coolness magnet. I think it all has to do with the magic of her beautiful seashell tattoo that says “Beach Girl” in Finnish.
She told me she comes to Sanibel twice a year with her boyfriend Rick so I can not wait until next time to hear about what she finds!
I was stunned as I watched a young, wild bobcat casually stroll along a stretch of beach on North Captiva Island. The scene was so surreal, I couldn’t take my eyes off this beautiful beast. My heart skipped a few beats so I fumbled with my camera. Click, click. Yes! I felt so fortunate to have captured her in two photos.
My good friend Diane and I took her boat out for an island hopping adventure with her trusty dog Callie this weekend. Within 10 minutes of anchoring off North Captiva, Diane saw this gorgeous cat and held well behaved Callie tightly on her leash. We have never had any bobcats attacks so we weren’t afraid she would turn on us but then again, a bobcat is a wild animal. We didn’t want to disturb her in any way to make her feel threatened or nervous so we stayed out of her way so she could go on her merry way to find a nice rat appetizer before her raccoon tartar lunch.
Still in awe over our sighting, we hopped on over to Cayo Costa to see what the south tip had in store for us. Live CLOUDY PERIWINKLES!
I mean llllllots of PERIWINKLES.
Here’s cutie Diane (check out our Cayo Costa Camping adventure last year) and her sweet dog Callie….
Look who we ran in to… or should I say “phooned” in to. Captain Brian! So we (including Callie) had to phoon with Di’s boat.
We may not have found a boat load of shells but we sure had a “wild”, adventurous girls day on the calm gulf waters. Thanks Di!!
PS- You can only get to North Captiva and Cayo Costa by boat. I thought I’d add a map to show you where these islands are in relation to Sanibel. North Cap is marked by the purple circle in the top left corner and Cayo Costa is one island north of North Cap.