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.
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…
Or see a LIGHTNING WHELK and its EGG CASING.
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!
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…..
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.
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).
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.
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!
Then his little RACCOON bff joined in on a little tango for the mango madness smorgasbord.
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?
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!)
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!
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!
Karen and Mark (New Jersey) discovered some of those shell pockets too.
They were happy to find some empty shell treasures of their own.
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…
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.
The GULF OF MEXICO is alive with beautiful sea creatures living close to shore like these MOLLUSKS, CRABS and this cutie SEA STAR too…
And to top it all off there was a shellsational sunset to end a great day.
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.
It’s been such a month on the islands of spotting great wildlife. Everywhere 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.
Melissa, Juliana, Becky and Garrett from Colorado walked around those tree roots to find some nice empty shells as well.
They found a bag full of double SUNRAY VENUS CLAMS…
Sisters Teresa and Elaine from Pensacola, FL found some keepers on the Gulf side of the island.
Elaine collected oodles of different color JINGLES to use for a picture frame craft project.
D.J. from Avon Park, Florida found empty LETTERED OLIVES and an ANGEL WING wading knee high in the water.
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.
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!
And the DOLPHINS weren’t the only wildlife coming up to say “Hi” to us… meet Casper The Friendly GHOST CRAB.
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.
He even ran into a shelling net like he wanted to play. hahaha What a character!
Even though the wildlife was exceptional, it was a wonderful day to meet exceptional people like Vicki and Bill from Arizona.
… 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.
… 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!
… And to see Bill, Michelle, Alyson and Anthony from Illinois.
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!
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.
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.
You won’t want to miss the upcoming shelling cruises! Check out the new dates CLICK HERE
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.
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.
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 …
Tania and Nicholas were filling up their buckets with DOSINIAS to take back to Miami for a school craft project. Fun!
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!