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

When Shelling Worlds Collide

Posted by on Jan 30, 2012 in Junonia, Lighthouse, Sanderling, Seashells | 44 comments

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 Sandy The Sanderling

Posted by on Jan 29, 2011 in Blind Pass, Captiva, CROW, Pen Shell, Sanderling | 20 comments

Saving a bird

Sandy the Sanderling with Marilyn

I knew there was a problem on Captiva’s new beach at Blind Pass when I walked by this little Sanderling and she didn’t move an inch. I guess most shore birds here know that “other” shellers are friendly folks so you can get pretty close to them before they fly away. This was different. This little girl was standing upright but completely still. I crouched down to see if she was hurt and realized that her beak was trapped in the “jaws” of a live PEN SHELL.

I tried to pry the shell open but I didn’t want to move the bird too much to irritate her bill. I had to get help. Near the parking lot, I found the perfect person….. I’ll just call her Mother Earth Marilyn. She just looked like she was ready for any beach rescue mission with fanny packs, nets, a big, wide, uv protected brimmed hat and the right attitude. She took charge and held Sandy The Sanderling while I tried to pry the shell open. I still couldn’t budge the shell so I recruited another couple of guys… one with a pocket knife and another to pry the shell open. She was released from the grips of that pesky PEN SHELL!

Unfortunately, the tips of her beak were broken off and she was losing lots of blood. We quickly emptied Mother Earth Marilyn’s shell bag and put Sandy The Sanderling safely in her pouch to rush her to CROW (Clinic for the Rehabilitation Of Wildlife).

I just got the latest diagnosis on our little patient at CROW…. Sandy The Sanderling is doing well!!

Sanderling bird


We hope that her beak will heal well enough to feed herself so she can be released back in the wild. Let’s all give good wishes for our new little bird friend and a big thanks to Marilyn for getting her in the caring hands of Dr. McNamara at CROW.

Stiff Pen Shell

The nice cousin of the evil pen shell that chomped on Sandy

PS- After telling this story right after it happened, I was told several times…..”The moral of this story ….. Don’t stick your nose where it doesn’t belong”.

UPDATE:  January 31- Sandy The Sanderling was released back to the wild! With the help of Dr. McNamara at CROW, Sandy’s beak was healing nicely enough for her to eat and manage her life on her own. That a girl!

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