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

Seashells, Sea Stars to Sleepy Crabs At Gulfside this Week

Posted by on Feb 27, 2017 in Egg Casing, Horse Conch Egg case, Lightning Whelk Egg Chain, Sleepy Sponge Crab (Dromia personate) | 9 comments

millipede seastar sanibel nine leg starfish

In nature, it’s impossible to predict when you might see a MILLIPEDE SEASTAR or find a large pile of shells in the same place you may have seen it a week ago… or yesterday for that matter.

shells-at-gulfisde-city-park-beach-sanibel-

Because of winds and tides, the Gulf of Mexico is always moving. Winds from the east then west then north then south…  the gulf is constantly swirling. Because of this continuous moving life force of waves in Southwest Florida, we get a fascinating view to watch our beaches constantly shift… leaving sand, sea life and/or their empty shells in different places every day. Just like this beautiful beach bling village I saw at Gulfside City Park beach on Sanibel Island this week, it won’t be there for long- wind and rain could wash this away at any moment. But I enjoyed every minute looking at this shellmazing piece of beach art.

We discover new treasures every day on the beach.

 

But it’s not every day when we will see a live HORSE CONCH and its egg casing…

horse conch with egg case on the beach-1

Or see a LIGHTNING WHELK and its EGG CASING.

lightning whelk egg case on Sanibel Florida-1

Even more unusual, I found this SLEEPY SPONGE CRAB (I believe its a Dromia personate) tucked inside a SEA PORK (TUNICATE) this week at Gulfside. Adorbs! This is exactly why a beach comber is called back to the beach over and over and over again. We learn something new every day!

Dromia personata sponge crab Sanibel Florida- 1

I took a short little video to show you how cute he looked in his little SEA PORK house. I haven’t been doing many videos lately because I can’t figure out why they are so blurry- ugh. So I tried again and … oh boy….. it’s blurry still- grrrrrrr- but I’m going to go ahead and show it cause he’s such a cutie shellootie!

 

But wait y’all! Don’t forget the 80th Annual Sanibel Shell Festival is this week Thursday, Friday and Saturday – March 2, 3, 4 2017. And guess who will be there?!!! I will be at the festival every day with…..

Shell Love Bug!

shell love bug vw seashell car

Come visit us!

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Sanibel Wildlife Tango For Mango Madness

Posted by on Aug 13, 2015 in Beautiful Crassatella, Brown-Tip Mangelia, Coyote, Horseshoe Crab, Raccoon, Sunsets | 19 comments

Lucky Sanibel Horseshoe crab in the sunset0815

Last night’s mango sky brought out a mango tinted HORSESHOE CRAB along with several different mango colored seashells as well. Check out this BEAUTIFUL CRASSATELLA (9 o’clock) Clark found last night at Bowman’s beach.

beautiful crassatella with gorgeous shells-1

Near the east end of Sanibel the night before, I found lots of sweet mini shells. WENTLETRAPS filled the inside of a mango colored COCKLE SHELL  and BUTTON SHELLS, BUBBLES, mango tinted MUREXES, DRILLS and CONCHS filled the cup of a DOSINIA. I can’t even believe I saw the tiniest of 2 DOVE shells, a RICE OLIVE and a new find for me…. a BROWN-TIP MANGELIA (Kurtziella atrostyla).

Lucky Sanibel Horseshoe crab in the sunset0815-1

I looked through my loose change to take a photo of a coin to show just how tiny this shell was and I found a wheat penny- perfect! How in the world did I ever see this little magnificent shell? So happy I did! And yes, it has little “mango” accents (instead of boring brown) on it too.

Brown tip mangelia kurtziella atrostyla conidae family

Okay… what is all this mango stuff about, you ask? I’ve been sorta obsessed with our MANGO TREE this year. It has loads of juicy delicious mangoes hanging from every branch but we try to wait until they are fairly ripe before we pick them. But…. every morning we find half eaten mangoes on the ground. Grrrrr. Some critter was making a mess of our luscious fruit and I wanted to know exactly what critter was feasting on them. I had an idea the animal but I bought I critter cam to see for sure. hahaha I know- a little crazy but it worked! In this next photo, you can see in the far left that this evil cute little RACCOON was up on his hind legs about to pick that mango. Shooooo!

Sanibel Raccoon stealing mangoes 0815-2

Then his little RACCOON bff joined in on a little tango for the mango madness smorgasbord.

2 Sanibel Raccoons eating mangoes 0815

And then…. O.M.G. I caught a COYOTE in my backyard this morning on camera! Wow! There have been COYOTE sightings on Sanibel since 2011 and we’ve seen a few around the islands but I’ve never gotten a photo of them and I sure didn’t know they were roaming around in my backyard at 4:15am. I’ve never heard of a local COYOTE hurting a human but I’m just very happy that my little DustBall and PuppyCat kitties are safe inside and NEVER go outside.

Of course I wanted to name it (not sure if it’s a girl or boy), but I still haven’t come up with a name yet… Wildie Coyote? Tootie Fruitie Coyote? Mango Rambo? LOL Whaddaya think?

Rambo Sanibel Coyote

 

Life on Sanibel… day and night, there’s always something “wild” happening.

Join me on an iLoveShelling Adventure! For more info CLICK HERE  (I’m working on new dates for season- I should have those up soon!)

Pams-shelling-trips-375x150

 

PS- I’m hoping its running much smoother now with most of the kinks worked out for the new site design. I’m not done reorganizing the categories menu yet either, but I’d love feed back if you think the dropdown menu is easier to look through too now. It was a mess- eeeeek- sorry!

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Shellsational Sunsets at Blind Pass Sanibel

Posted by on May 21, 2015 in Brown Spiny Sea star, Hermit crabs, Lightning Whelk, Starfish, Sunsets, Whelk | 15 comments

Conchs clams and scallop shells

As the tide was rushing out of Sanibel’s Blind Pass channel, there were little pockets of semi-buried shells in the sand along the shoreline covered by only 3 inches of water. That’s where the treasures were last night just before sunset. My fave of the evening was that beautiful baby BITTERSWEET in the ARK ing the photo above. Love it!

Sanibel sunset beach finds

Karen and Mark (New Jersey) discovered some of those shell pockets too.

 

Karen and Mark visit Sanibel for shells from New Jersey

They were happy to find some empty shell treasures of their own.

Karens shells found on Sanibel
We all had to be very careful to look inside each shell to make sure there wasn’t a critter living inside of the shell like this teenie tiny HERMIT CRAB I quickly put back in the water after I snapped a photo…

hermit crab inside apple murex Sanibel

This was an even more exciting find… a nice size live healthy LIGHTNING WHELK that I put back in the water exactly how I found it.

Live lightning whelk at Blind Pass Sanibel

The GULF OF MEXICO is alive with beautiful sea creatures living close to shore like these MOLLUSKS, CRABS and this cutie SEA STAR too…

Live starfish stuck on encrusted pen shell Sanibel

And to top it all off there was a shellsational sunset to end a great day.

Sunset with shells at Blind Pass Sanibel

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Adventure In Paradise With Awesome Shellers

Posted by on Jun 8, 2014 in Barnacles, Captiva, Captiva Cruises, Cayo Costa, Cloudy Periwinkle, Day Trips From Sanibel Island Florida & More, Dolphin, Flat Zigzag Scallop, Ghost Crab, Horse Conch, Jingle, Limpet, Periwinkles, Striped false limpet, Sunray Venus | 22 comments

coudy periwinkles hiding in tree knots

The only thing cloudy about our Captiva Cruises iLoveShelling trip to Cayo Costa were the live CLOUDY PERIWINKLES hiding in clusters on the tree roots at the south tip of the island.

cloudy periwinkles cayo costa

 

It’s been such a month on the islands of spotting great wildlifeEverywhere I look, I am still seeing wonderful signs of healthy life… like these STRIPED FALSE LIMPETS and BARNACLES on those same tree roots with the PERIWINKLES.

striped false limpets on fallen tree

Melissa, Juliana, Becky and Garrett from Colorado walked around those tree roots to find some nice empty shells as well.

Melissa juliana becky garrett colorado visit cayo costa for shells

They found a bag full of double SUNRAY VENUS CLAMS…

Sunray Venus shells at Cayo Costa

Sisters Teresa and Elaine from Pensacola, FL found some keepers on the Gulf side of the island.

teresa elaine from pan handle  visit cayo costa

Elaine collected oodles of different color JINGLES to use for a picture frame craft project.

black grey white jingle shells

D.J. from Avon Park, Florida found empty LETTERED OLIVES and an ANGEL WING wading knee high in the water.

D.J. avon park florida olive shells

Oh but wait… How could I forget? I have to tell you about the boat ride over to the island. We had a pod of DOLPHINS come over to say “Hi” to everybody on our boat.

dolphin sight seeing captiva cruises

When they swam closer to the boat, we could see there were 3 mother DOLPHINS… each with babies!  If you look closely at this next photo, you can see the baby hugging up to the mother. So cute!

mother dolphin and baby

And the DOLPHINS weren’t the only wildlife coming up to say “Hi” to us… meet Casper The Friendly GHOST CRAB.

casper the friendly ghost crab hiding in shadow

I have never seen a GHOST CRAB act so friendly! Seriously, “Casper” was not at all afraid of us and actually followed us on the beach. See? He got right in-between Sandy’s feet and hung out there for a few minutes.

ghost crab hiding in shadow

He even ran into a shelling net like he wanted to play. hahaha What a character!

casper the friendly ghost crab hiding in shadow

Even though the wildlife was exceptional, it was a wonderful day to meet exceptional people like Vicki and Bill from Arizona.

vicki bill arizona visit cayo costa for shells

… And Melinda, Katelyn and Justin from Indiana. I especially loved meeting Katelyn since she knew all of the names of her shells but also loved all the wildlife she saw. Casper The Friendly GHOST CRAB didn’t want there to leave.

melinda katelyn justin indiana visit sanibel

… And it was exceptional to see Marie’s beautiful family- Emily, Madison, Steve, Sandy and Ryan from Ohio. But… they were missing one Morgan, they all wanted me to tell you…. you’re next!

marie emily madison steve sandy ryan ohio visit sanibel… And to see Bill, Michelle, Alyson and Anthony from Illinois.

bill michelle alyson anthony illinois visit sanibel

I had met Michelle at Blind Pass Captiva last week when I stopped at the beach to see what the conditions were on the Captiva side by the jetty rocks. As I dug through the “picked over” shell pile, we got to talking and she told me she hadn’t found too many keeper shells but was just happy to be on the island enjoying everything else about the beach. That’s when I uncovered a beautiful FLAT SCALLOP with a tiny hole in the top. I handed it to Michelle and told her it was meant for her. I was soooo touched to see that she was on the cruise with her family AND that she made that FLAT SCALLOP into a gorgeous necklace with a little SEAHORSE charm. OMG I love that she made it into a special treasure to remember a special day we happened to meet.  Shellers rock!

how to make flat scallop shell into necklace

Lindsay had told me about an awesome HORSE CONCH she had found on Sanibel last week so when we got back to the dock at McCarthy’s Marina, she showed it to us. Wow! Lindsay, I’m so happy you showed it to us. That IS awesome and will clean up beautifully with a little elbow grease.

lindsay dodd with empty horse conch

Even though the beach wasn’t piled up with mounds of shells this time, we were treated to a DOLPHIN show with babies, lots of friendly wildlife and most of all – a perfect day in paradise with a boat ride on calm waters full of happy people meeting an amazing community of likeminded shellers. 

iLoveShelling blue toe nail polish

You won’t want to miss the upcoming shelling cruises! Check out the new dates CLICK HERE

shelling adventures trips by pam

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Healthy Living On The Coast Of Sanibel Island

Posted by on May 30, 2014 in Augers, Baby's Ear, Fighting Conch, Hermit crabs, Lettered Olive, Lightning Whelk, Lined Sea Star, live baby ear, low tide, Onion Sea Anemone, Sand Dollar, Sea anemone, Shark's Eye Egg Collar, Sponge, Whelk | 24 comments

Lightning whelk in Sanibel surf

If the Sanibel SEA LIFE could have talked last evening at low tide, they probably would have been chatting it up about how lovely the evening was and how healthy they were feeling…. just like us.

live starfish at sanibel lighthouse beach

This LINED STARFISH was raisin’ the roof!

Curled live starfish sea star Sanibel Island

The live LETTERED OLIVES were doin’ the locomotion…

live lettered olive shell

The live AUGERS were gettin’ jiggy with it…

live auger shells at low tide Sanibel

This live BABY’S EAR was jivin’ and slimin’…

live babys ear shell

The live FIGHTING CONCHS were putting’ up their dukes…

live fighting conch in sand

There were hundreds of HERMIT CRABS running around claiming the best shells for their residences.

apple murex with hermit crab

We even saw quite a few SHARK’S EYE EGG COLLARS brimming with little tiny eggs…

sharks eye egg collar

We even saw lots of ONION SEA ANEMONES flowering in the tidal pools…

Paranthus rapiformis onion sea anemone

Hmmmm….I wonder why they call it an “ONION” SEA ANEMONE … heehee

Paranthus rapiformis onion sea anemonae CNIDARIA

The colors of the night were amazing! This clump of SEA SPONGE was the most brilliant color purple…

purple sea sponge Sanibel

A little higher on the beach, I saw that Leah from Georgia found a honey hole of wonderful minis which included lots of WENTLETRAPS.

collecting seashells on the seashore of Sanibel Island

Leah and her husband Matt were vacationing on Sanibel to celebrate Matt’s 40th birthday.

Matt Leah from Georgia vacation on Sanibel for shells

Finding a few beautiful shells to take home was just icing on the cake. Happy Birthday Matt!

seashells found on Sanibel Island by Leah

The weather was perfect, the beach was teeming with live creatures and each breath of fresh, salty air made exploring the tidal pools heaven on earth.

Whelk in the surf of Sanibel Island

sand dollar at low tide Sanibel Island

exploring low tide on Sanibel Island

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Baby Hermit Crab Video

Posted by on May 28, 2014 in Hermit Crab Video, Hermit crabs | 23 comments

sanibel hermit crab

HERMIT CRABS are funny! For some reason HERMIT CRABS seem whimsical to me so they make me laugh when I see their little legs start coming out of the opening of the shell then … whip … they’re gone again. They tuck their bodies back inside whatever sort of shell they’ve decided to make their home.

hermit crab in horse conch sanibel lighthouse

They really aren’t “true” crabs since they lack there own external shell which leaves them vulnerable to predators. To protect themselves, they choose an abandoned shell to live in but eventually the HERMIT CARB will outgrow that shell and will have to move out to find another shell to make its home. 

mauve mouth drill Sanibel hermit crab

Clark and I were at Gulfside City Park where we saw all sorts of fun live critters at the evening’s low tide but Clark called me over to see something he scooped up in his shelling backhoe. OMG! A whole nest of little mini shells all occupied by HERMIT CRABS! These were the smallest ones I think I’ve ever seen- so cute! There are all sorts of living creatures in this “seaweed” Clark scooped up so I wish I had checked everything out a little more closely… but we wanted to get them back to sea as soon as possible so we giggled a bit then Clark took them back where he found them. Check out the video I took of these darling little creatures…

Cool, huh? We also saw dozens and dozens of empty DISK DOSINIAS …

disk dosinias on sanibel forida

Tania and Nicholas were filling up their buckets with DOSINIAS to take back to Miami for a school craft project. Fun!

collecting dosinia seashells on Sanibel

Oh wait! I just remembered another video I made for my post Zippy Mini Seashells in 2011 with some other cute little mini shells with HERMIT CRABS in them. Remember this one? Funny!

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