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

Living Like The Sanibel Shellbillies

Posted by on Aug 21, 2014 in Bones, Murex, Owl, Screech Owl | 32 comments

sea turtle hypoplastron bone

I found this odd looking “thing” on the beach a while ago so I brought it home to do some research on it since it was so dang interesting. Sometimes I’m like Shelly May Clampett bringing home parts of “critters” that get washed up on the beach. Hmmmm…. “Hey Paw, which critter ya think this here thang belonged to? Ya think maybe a moose antler? Or some kinda critter lost a hand?” Shelly May may have never thought it looked like an alien’s Jazz Hands but I do! LOL After searching lots of websites without success, I found the answer in my trusty Living Beaches of Georgia and the Carolinas book and learned it was a piece of a SEA TURTLE shell. It’s part of the lower shell called the HYPOPLASTRON.

sea turtle hypoplastron bone other side

Two weeks ago, my friend Susan from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba had found a bone similar to this one and asked me if I knew what it was. Yes! A SEA TURTLE BONE! I wanted to show her a photo of mine but I couldn’t find it. Omigosh, where is it? Oh lawd, my SHELLABORATORY still looks like a SHELLNADO hit it. Every time I start organizing our stacks of shells, something else comes along so it stays a crazy mess.  Seriously, we look like the Clampetts (CLAMpetts heehee) on the Sanibel Shellbillies. Ack! So back to organizing…

organizing sea shells and beach bling

Honestly, it’s like discovering fun things all over again going through these containers and boxes… and then…. I found my SEA TURTLE BONE! Yay! This time, I wanted to find a home for it so I wouldn’t “lose” it again. I’ve been saving glass containers for years to one day organize our shells and bling so I’m making good use of them now. Every SEA TURTLE BONE we find now will go into the large jar on the right. All other bones from bait, fish bones and bird bones will be separated in other jars so that it will be easy and fun to do another post to identify some of the things you might find on the beach other than shells. beach found turtle, bird, fish and bait bones

I can’t wait until my Shellaboratory is finally organized so at least we won’t be total Sanibel Shellbillies and I can easily find the things I want to share and post about.containers for seashells

… Like these MUREX shells I’m sorting out. I have 9 different species to separate so once I have a chance to photograph the individuals, I’ll have another “the difference between shells” post. I love those!

Muricidae Murex shells of Southwest Florida

On a personal note without shells involved, it was a sad day to find out our wonderful palm tree that became an amazing bird condo for WOODPECKERS and SCREECH OWLS with have to be taken down. There’s no way to save it due to disease and it’s become unsafe with any high winds since it’s completely hollow now. We are so bummed! Clark, Dustie, PuppyCat and I have witnessed many nests, babies and families come and go in the tree from our side porch view so we’ve grown to love seeing them every day. We hope to find someone who will build a replacement for our same WOODPECKERS and OWLS for us before next spring so please let me know if you have suggestions. The Sanibel Shellbillies don’t want to lose our critters!

rotted palm tree bird house

screech owl our tree

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The Jewels Of The Jetty

Posted by on Apr 29, 2013 in Alphabet Cone, Blind Pass, Flat Zigzag Scallop, Owl, Sand Dollar, Screech Owl | 30 comments

finding buckets of shells

All along the jetty rocks at Captiva’s Blind Pass, there are still bucketfuls of shell jewels to be found at low tide. It was so much fun seeing Michelle of Buckingham, Florida wading and working the water to pluck out so many beautiful gems. She found a shellacious ALPHABET CONE and too many other perfect shells to count! I also saw Steve and Karen (MI) with their grandsons Noah and Josh from Lakeland, FL with a tons of shells ready to pack up in the car after a great afternoon shelling. It was really good to see you guys again and seeing you had another successful day at Blind Pass.

grandparents seashells florida

Mark had lots of great luck finding shells with his snorkel gear! He and his mom Brenda were so cute enjoying everything there was to enjoy about looking for shells. They get it! It’s a treasure hunt! If the shells aren’t on the beach, you’ve got to get in the water to look for them.

mother son seashell hunters

Then I met the rest of the family and fell in love with every one of them. Here’s (clockwise) Brenda, Mark (Mark Senior … but lets just call him BigMark), Mark, Conner, Renee, and Aiden. See? Happiness.

Family beach seashells

And they had major success! This is just a few of their jetty jewels…

captiva island seashells april

Over the weekend, Clark and I hit just about every beach and had success at each one but only brought few home (there’s only so many shells one can find room for!). This FLAT SCALLOP Clark found is our favorite shell that made the cut. I actually think this one is the prettiest one we have in all of our collection. I didn’t get a chance to take a close up but it is rich purple with a detailed line then light purple on the bottom.

Clark purple flat

Everybody always asks me where they can find SAND DOLLARS but like all shelling, it’s timing, tides, currents and just being darn lucky. Our friend Mary was lucky at the Sanibel Causeway Beach where she found this SAND DOLLAR. Wow! I had no idea SAND DOLLARS were there. Something surprising every day.

mary sand dollar cone

Okay, one more surprise. At dusk last night at the Lighthouse Beach…. we saw a SCREECH OWL! He was in the parking lot right next to the beach path. Can you see him?

Sanibel screech owl lighthouse beach

Hmmmm. Where’s your sticker or hang tag, dude?

sanibel handicap screech owl

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