Archive for Paper Fig
i Love Florida! Whoever made this wonderful seashell sign made out of ARKS, must love it too because after a couple of days of rain (to water the plants) and continued wind this week, it has turned into spectacular weather on the beach with shells starting to roll in on the east end of Sanibel near Lighthouse Beach.
You know I love peeking in shell buckets so I figure you do too, right? Marybeth (from RI… but too shy for the camera) had such a beautiful collection of mini shells in her pink bucket separated by her larger shells in her bigger blue bucket. I think my faves would be the DUSKY CONE and WENTLETRAP in the pink bucket and the NUTMEG in the blue bucket.
Ronetta from Indiana forgot to bring her shell bucket along on her beach walk so she cradled all of her faves in the palm of her hand…
Since she didn’t have much room, she collected some mighty fine primo shells. I know you spotted that candy but I hope you can see how gorgeous that SHARKS EYE is with the bright blue center. We call that a “Paul Newman’s Eye”!
I also met Julie with her mom Pat from St Louis.
They had only been on the beach 5 minutes when Julie found this perfect PAPER FIG with such fabulous color…
I found a few goodies too but I stopped in my tracks to see this BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER…
I’m still trying to learn the different breeding plumage since most bird species change colors with their breeding seasons.
This BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER is dressed in its “Adult Breeding” plumage with the black belly. I’m not even sure I would recognize this bird in “Adult Non-Breeding” plumage since it doesnt even have the black belly. Really… if you can believe it… there is a BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER without a black belly. Hmmm…. shell identification is so much easier!
You can see where we found most of the best shells and the birds by this next photo. You can see the lighthouse way in the background at the furthest point which is about a 15 minute walk.
Remember I showed a picture of the erosion at Tarpon Rd Beach Access on my last post ? Well it is already built back up as of yesterday evening… and there are shells on the beach! Yep, it can happen that fast, folks. AND…. There should be even more shells showing up soon because right now as I write this Sunday morning, we have experiencing 20mph north west winds. That should push more shells on our shores any day now!
I love paper Valentines. Finding a PAPER FIG Valentine on the beach is even better! Okay, I didn’t find these laying on the beach just like this (especially with a red background- heehee) but I found some very cool Beach Bling that I could not identify…
It looked like the gulf had a picnic and the left over corn cobs washed up on the beach. I saw them littered from Middle Gulf Drive to Blind Pass the last two days. They may look like corn cobs but I knew they were mollusk egg cases.
They also look like WHELK egg casing coils that have been chopped every couple of inches. So which shell laid these eggs?
Dr Jose Leal of the Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum identified these as ATLANTIC FIG SNAIL eggs. Oh Cool! PAPER FIGS! Thanks Dr. Leal!
I loooove to notice different things that wash up on the beaches…. so this tickled me to learn what one more mollusk egg casing looked like.
But wait! While I was inspecting one of the PAPER FIG EGG CASES, I saw something else in between the individual egg “disks”…. more eggs! Another mollusk laid eggs on the FIG egg case. Wow!
The PAPER FIG egg casings were very sandy but you can see the orangish rows containing little babies from another shell. I have no idea which shell laid these eggs but if you know, please share!
There were so many empty FIG shells lying on the beach too. Annette S. had commented on my last post about how many she found as well. There were oodles of them!
I had to add this photo again of a live PAPER FIG from a previous post…
This photo fascinates me to see how far this guy is out of the shell…
This is the mollusk peaking out of the aperture. And notice, these guys don’t have OPERCULUMS…
The shells are so fragile, most often they are found broken on the beach but when they are empty and whole, Clark can’t help but pick them up. This is one of his fave shells to collect so here’s a PAPER FIG Valentine for my honey and all of you other PAPER FIG lovers out there!
Donnie wasn’t kidding when he commented “Bring it!” for the wanna-be shelling competition in my January 1st post. He went right out to Blind Pass Captiva and scooped up his first perfect little LION’S PAW this morning! Score! You win today Donnie- Congrats!
He must have snagged all the ALPHIES too because when I got there, I didn’t see a single piece of one in the whole big shell pile. He did miss this very cool piece of a DEER COWRIE though…
Christy (TN) found some beautiful WHELKS and started to fill her bag with other goodies too…
I saw lots of the Sanibel Six (minus the CONE) but mostly I loved this delicate FIG laying right on top of the pile untouched…
I always love to see people sharing their treasures. I caught Carolyn and Les (Fort Myers) admiring the shells together they just found.
I walked over to the Sanibel side to find hundreds of dead MULLET fish laying on the beach. Ugh. A casualty of Red Tide. Yuck.
I’ve heard that red tide has been really bad around the Sanibel lighthouse so I’ve stayed clear of the east end beaches the last week. I get that irritating cough when I breath it so it’s not worth it to me any more (I used to tough it out since “they” say it can’t hurt you). But it looks like it’s hit Captiva now too but I didn’t feel that tickle in my chest- whew.
I think this may be why Clark and I have found those big shells lately too. Could be from the red tide….. but don’t quote me on that. I’m only speculating since it’s not every day you find 3 (!) huuuuge shells like that in one day. I also found this cool skull…
When I found this, I thought it looked so cool and looked like a bird skull. Like an OSPREY or something but it’s not. It is some sort of fish.
Anybody know what kind of fish skull this is? It sort of has that CRUCIFIX SHELL look about it but definitely not the same.
Any way, there are lots of shells still coming in from this windy cold front and hopefully the red tide will go away in the next few days so I can enjoy the beach like I did with my girlfriends Jane, Sandy and Mary…
Donnie Benton found his first JUNONIA! He sooooo deserves it. He was at the lighthouse beach at 4 a.m. at low tide searching for ALPHABET CONES (his faves) when he saw those beautiful spots half buried in the sand. Congrats Donnie! I know it’s such a high.
I first heard of Donnie when his 5 year old daughter Alyssa found a JUNONIA and a SCOTCH BONNET within a few months of each other. I met Donnie (Ft Myers) in September and quickly realized that he was …. well…. he is obsessed about shelling. I showed you some of his finds last week from Blind Pass while I was at the golf cart parade. They were good but now he has the golden treasure.
He was the first one on the beach for the low, low tides (negative .5) on Friday and Saturday and these are just some of the shells he found. He even picks up trash (the sunglasses and goggles)…
Here’s another shot of the Big J, some of his ALPHIES and a few more…
We were on the beach at sunrise when we saw Donnie and found some goodies too but this was the coolest. It’s a live PAPER FIG with the mollusk wrapped around its shell.
I couldn’t help but pick it up to look at the other side…Wow!
Oops! I forgot to show you this! Some of you noticed the odd round “thingie” in the photo above of Donnie’s haul. We think it’s a vertebrae from some very large animal/fish/mammal. Whatever it is, it’s very cool.
Congrats again Donnie!!!!!
I’ve got good news and bad news. The good news is that I’m catching you up on the good shelling from the week and if you are coming to visit, there are still shells at Blind Pass (Sanibel and Captiva), minis at the lighthouse and just west of the lighthouse we’ve been finding lots of other shells that I’ll show you.
Brianne and her mom Kelly (AZ) were at the lighthouse beach finding SCALLOPS, WHELKS and CONCHS but the most unusual find for Kelly was part of a CRUCIFIX SHELL. It brings good luck!
They also found some beautiful PAPER FIGS in the low tide pools…
You’ve got to do The Sanibel Stoop to be able to spot good ones in the tidal pools.
The Stoopin found her this one….a double SUNRAY VENUS!
Brianne was finally able to find and hold a live STARFISH for a minute or two to admire it before she safely put it back in the water.
After talking to Liz and Sergio (central FL) while they were admiring a live SAND DOLLAR , Liz told me she was a record holder for the largest ALBINO LIGHTNING WHELK and received a Best In Show award at a Florida shell show. She found it at Lover’s Key about 10 years ago. Dang it! I forgot to write down how big it was so maybe she’ll comment and let us know.
As we were walking west from the lighthouse the tidal pool got wider and wider for us to see live creatures and empty shells as well. This is Katie from Houston without a shell bag but making due by lining her treasures on her arm like a shelf…
To catch you up on Captiva’s Blind Pass, I stopped there on Thursday to find…. ahhhhh- such beautiful calm, aqua water with a pile of shells by the jetty.
Sharon (Orlando, FL) was having a great time replenishing her shell collection since she just used most of her shells….. this is so sweet….. to decorate for her wedding last week. She is on her honeymoon!
She was happy as a clam finding ….well finding CLAMS…and SCALLOPS….and CONCHS….and this COLORFUL MOON SHELL.
With all this happiness, I don’t even want to give you the bad news. It’s just that my little Smittie the Kitty is sick again so that’s why I haven’t been keeping up with getting out all the shelling news too timely. I think she’s going to be okay now… oh it’s too much info to go into …but she’ll be a RadioCat next month- and that’s some good news!
Brilliant reds, oranges, yellows and purples have painted the shoreline of Sanibel this weekend with sponges, seaweed and SEA URCHINS. If you’ve seen my last posts, you’ve seen that there have been thousands of SEA URCHINS washed up on our beaches.
Most of the SEA URCHINS have already lost their spines which exposes the shell called a test. When they dry in the sun for a short time, they turn a gorgeous color purple. They are all beginning to look like this…
Did you know that a SEA URCHIN caused human fertility research to begin in 1875? Sounds crazy, huh? It’s true. This past summer, I found this fact when I was designing my notecard line Write From The Beach and painted a SEA URCHIN. I started digging for information to put with my illustration to add a little twist using FunFacts. I found out that German biologist Oskar Hertwig was able to witness the fertilization of SEA URCHIN eggs for the very first time in history. This revelation on any egg fertilization was due to the transparency of these eggs. An “aha moment” as Oprah would say. (click on the bolded link for whole story)
There are also lots of PAPER FIG shells on the beach now too.
This was the first FIG shell that I’ve ever seen with the original animal still in it. FIGS don’t have an operculum (trap door) so it was hard to tell if he was still alive or not but I put him back in the water just in case. This is one of Clark’s faves so he found a few empty ones to bring home.
Just in case you didn’t know what an OPERCULUM was… it’s that brown oval-ish trap door or lid in the opening of the shell that seals itself inside its shell. It looks like this…
This is what it looks like when it is still being useful to it’s owner….