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

Shellectric Seashells

Posted by on Mar 2, 2015 in Bittersweet Clam, Cabrit's Murex, Flat Zigzag Scallop, Freak Shells, Giant Bittersweet, Murex, Rough scallop, Scallop, Seashells | 25 comments

seashells found on Captiva Island Florida

It doesn’t get any better than seeing a huge pile of shells wash up on the beach within one day. I was shellucky enough to see it happen at Blind Pass Captiva and to get the video of it I showed you on my last post. It was Shellectric!

shells pile up southwest florida

Talk about “shellucky” – local sheller Susan from Pine Island found a CABRITS MUREX!

Susan from Pine Island FL shells Captiva


Captiva Cabrits Murex

These are just a few other fab shells she found as well…

Shells found on Captiva Island in February

Lolly was there with her homemade shell belt collecting all sorts of goodies.

Lolly with shells and shelling belt

She found all sorts of shells like HORSE CONCHS, WHELKS, MUREXES and FLAT ZIG ZAGS and GIANT BITTERSWEETS…

flat zig zag scallop found on Captiva

Large giant bittersweet shell

After seeing my “CANDY” (my little HORSIES in the first photo) and Lolly’s as well, an orange HORSE CONCH is all Patti from MN was wishing to find. Moments later… voila! Patti whooped it up when she found her own sweet “CANDY”. Yay!

Patti from MN visits Captiva shells

Babs from St Augustine was there to see all the shellnanagans and to find her own treasures.

Babs St Augustine visits Captiva shells

Its always fun to see what makes different people happy when they find something unusual. I was thrilled when Babs showed me this awesome ROUGH SCALLOP that had obviously been damaged in its lifetime but survived the predatory incident (IMHO- I’m thinking that’s prob what happened).

freak rough scallop shell repaired from damage

See? At one time, this mollusk knew it had more life to live and repaired its damage to see more days. I love those type shells! This even looks like it tried to manage the shape of a heart.

freak predatory attack mollusk survival

This shell pile event doesn’t happen every day so when I’m there to witness it, I try to breathe it all in and enjoy every single moment.

orange rough scallop shell on the beach

I didn’t make it back yesterday so I have no idea if it’s all still there. Let me know if you found any treasures at Blind Pass over the weekend.

beautiful seashells on shells

Join me on a Shelling Adventure! CLICK HERE for more info.

pam rambo shelling trips

PS- I was at Gulfside City Park Beach over the weekend and its still loaded with shells and bling too. :)

Oh and I hope to see y’all at the 2015 78th Annual Sanibel Shell Festival at the Sanibel Community House this weekend March 5,6, and 7!2015 78th Sanibel Shell Festival

UPDATE 3-3-15: I stopped by Blind Pass Captiva …. the shell pile is completely picked over and filled with sand. Amazing. The top picture had new shells in this post washing in and the lower picture was 3 days later.  The power of Mother Nature…

Blind Pass beach difference in 3 days


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Different Scallop Shells Of SouthWest Florida

Posted by on Aug 11, 2014 in Beach Poems, Calico, Flat Zigzag Scallop, Rough scallop, Scallop, ZigZag Scallop Right Valve | 28 comments

calico rough bay zigzag flat lions paw scallops

Can you tell the difference between a CALICO SCALLOP, ROUGH SCALLOP, BAY SCALLOP (top row), ZIGZAG SCALLOP (the FLAT valve and deep valve) and a LION’S PAW (bottom row)? I searched through our collection to find similar sizes and color examples of each species so that you can see the differences in shapes with the exterior (above) and the interior (below). But Ack! I didn’t mean to but I switched the ZIGZAG valves in the next photo so that now the FLAT side is in the middle and the inflated side is on the second row left. Sorry- silly me!

sw florida scallop interiors

It’s so hard to show every angle but here is a way to see how different they are and how deep the valves are. On the top row right in the next photo, you can see how much flatter the BAY SCALLOP is from the CALICO (left) and the ROUGH SCALLOP (middle) and also how deep the ribs are in the LIONS PAW. I’ve written about both valves of the ZIGZAG SCALLOP before  (CLICK HERE) but not about how the valve looks beside the other SCALLOPS. Denise Kisko (my buddy in the New York Times article!) asked me how to identify the second side of the FLAT ZIGZAG. In the next photo look at the shell in first row on the left, see the big shadow under the “nose” of that SCALLOP? It doesn’t sit flat on the table because it is so inflated and the sides spread out so much. That’s the second half of the ZIGZAG bivalve shell that fits with the FLAT side (middle shell).

the difference between scallops


This is how it looks when both valves are together when it is alive…


zigzag scallop pair

Here is a photo of a common CALICO SCALLOP, the deep side of the ZIGZAG SCALLOP (the other side of a FLAT) and a common ROUGH SCALLOP. Can you see that the middle shell is more “fanned” and the hinge area seems a bit smaller too.

the difference between calico zigzag and rough scallops

Now you can really tell the difference by looking at the interior…

interior difference between calico zigzag rough scallops

When I was looking at all of our SCALLOPS, I noticed how similar the CALICO SCALLOPS and BAY SCALLOPS look alike too. There are a few different ways to tell them apart but for me, this is the best angle to look at them. Now they look different, right?

calico and atlantic bay scallop difference

So I hope this will help you just a little bit more to tell the different SCALLOPS of Southwest Florida apart. Top left to right…. CALICO SCALLOP, ROUGH SCALLOP, BAY SCALLOP. Bottom left to right… FLAT side of ZIGZAG SCALLOP (which I normally just call a “FLAT”, ZIGZAG SCALLOP (the deep right valve), LION’S PAW.calico rough bay zigzag flat lions paw scallops

When Denise asked me how to identify the “other side of the FLAT”, her friend Penny Lang Yelverton posted a poem on the iLoveShelling Facebook page that she and Denise wrote while together on Sanibel. She said…

Great month on Sanibel with my friend Denise Sheldon Kisko (NYT). We wrote new lyrics to the song My Favorite Things while waiting for a storm to pass at Gulf Side.

Sand dollars, starfish and conchs of all kinds.
Kitten paws, scallops are some common finds.
Sunglasses, sunscreen and lip balm galore,
Keep you from burning so you can shell more.

Lions paws, tulips, junonia’s so fine.
Worm shells and murex are also good finds.
Blind Pass and Bowmans and Gulf Side seashore,
These are the beaches we shellers adore!

When the rain comes,
When the waves crash,
We don’t even mind.
We’ll keep on shelling for our favorite finds.
We must be out of……
Our minds.

Happy shelling!”

I love this! Thank you Penny and Denise! You inspired me and made it fun to start sorting my SCALLOPS.

sorting florida scallops

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Eggshellent Easter Scallops

Posted by on Apr 19, 2014 in Blind Pass Video, Calico, Rough scallop, Scallop, Scallop Video | 24 comments

Easter Eggshellent Scallop Shells

On Sanibel, the Easter Bunny doesn’t dye colorful egg shells… our Bunny brings colorful SCALLOP SHELLS that want to wish you an eggshellent Easter!

Just an FYI- I took the video during last week’s shell pile at Blind Pass Captiva.

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Positively Perfect Paradise

Posted by on Nov 1, 2013 in Alphabet Cone, Black-bellied Plover, Lined Tree Snail, Rough scallop | 10 comments

sanibel melon rough scallop

Nothing starts the holiday season better than finding a positively perfect pumpkin ROUGH SCALLOP. Ooooh… I loooove to find ROUGH SCALLOPS with the “wings” still in tact and especially in a solid color…like pumpkin.

rough scallop melon color

 The pumpkin SCALLOP wasn’t the only thing to make the day positively perfect, I saw my friends “The Carolina Girls” on the beach at Island Inn. Remember these cutie pies? They were part of the first Shellabaloo at the Island Inn last January. We had so much fun at the Shellabaloo, they wanted to come back! Here are the nicest (and craziest!) gals you’ll ever want to meet- Helen, Carol, Jackie, Karen and Kathy…

carolina girls shell sanibel florida

Karen found this awesome ALPHABET CONE… to go with the other 2 she found as well. Wow!

alphabet cone karen sanibel

Here are some of their favorite finds of the late afternoon low tide shelling

favorite shells from sanibel

The Carolina Girls brought a newbie sheller (Carol) with them this time and it seems she caught on to this shelling thing pretty quickly. They told her what to look for and she quickly pulled out an ALPHABET CONE and said “is this a good one?” Ha! They couldn’t believe it! Carol went right out and bought a shadowbox to frame for her newly found Sanibel shell. Here’s Carol with her trophy and Karen with her own ALPHABET CONE (in addition to the others!) and a KINGS CROWN.

carol karen i love shelling sanibel

Carol also found these beautiful LINED TREE SNAILS (land snails) near the pathway to the beach at Island Inn. I don’t see these very often- they are so pretty!

lined tree snail sanibel Drymaeus multilineatus

I saw this BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER running along the shoreline. Errrrr… Hey buddy, did you lose your “black belly”? LOL I found out that adult non-breeding BLACK- BELLIED PLOVERS don’t have a back belly. hmmmm Wouldn’t have been nicer (and more inclusive) if they had name them the “BLACK-BEAKED PLOVER” or something like that? Oh well, you are what you are I guess.

black-bellied plover adult non-breeding sanibel


It was a positively perfect day in paradise finding a pumpkin SCALLOP and hanging with the nicest peeps on the planet- The Carolina Girls.

island inn sanibel sunset

sunset sanibel shell reflection

Don’t miss  Shellabaloo 4 at the Island Inn January 6-9 to make memories for a life time. For more info CLICK HERE

shelling adventures trips by pam

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Blue Sky Boating to Beachcomb

Posted by on Sep 15, 2013 in Depressed Slipper Shell, Dusky Cone, North Captiva, Roseate Spoonbill, Rough scallop, Sand Dollar, Scallop, Worm Shell | 30 comments

boating sw florida captiva blue sky

We went for a boat ride around the islands of Sanibel, Captiva and North Captiva on Saturday.  Clark was so jealous he wasn’t able to go out on our iLoveShelling Captiva Cruises last week, and it’s been months on our boat so he was bound and determined to get out and about on the water. Of course we had to stop at plenty of beaches to look for shells.

sw florida island beach

We found a few! Of course I was thaaa-rilled to find this beautiful wormie and a couple of perfect medium sized SAND DOLLARS.

sand dollars seashells florida gulf coast

But. My favorite find of the weekend was this lemon yellow ROUGH SCALLOP. Yummy find!

lemon yellow rough scallop seashell

We spent a good part of the day watching the wildlife and fell in love with several ROSEATE SPOONBILL birds feasting on tiny fish or crabs in the low tide pools…

roseate spoonbill at low tide west florida

We found a few more shells but these are our faves. I know, I know… Yes, those are DEPRESSED SLIPPER SHELLS in our faves pile but we saw so many, I feel like they were speaking to me. And when I bent down to pick up a SAND DOLLAR or WORM SHELL or that cute little DUSKY CONE, I couldn’t help but pick up a pretty JINGLE or two as well. JINGLES make me happy- I dont know why- they just do. It was such a wonderful day to be out on the water and out with my honey. He makes me happy too.

sand dollars seashells florida gulf coast

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Pam and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Shells

Posted by on Sep 11, 2012 in Albino Lightning Whelk, Albino Shells, Horse Conch, Lightning Whelk, Nutmeg, Rough scallop, True tulip, Tulip, Whelk | 37 comments

true tulip colors

My world has been splashed with so many amazing colors of shells lately! These gorgeous tiny TRUE TULIPS (above) were a combination of both my finds and SS Clark‘s finds over the last few weeks as well as these little HORSE CONCH candies. These are the shell colors we dream about!

Since I just talked about the process I took to clean the big size HORSE CONCHS in my September 5 post, I thought I’d tell you that I only rinsed these shells with fresh water before I photographed them (as well the shells on my last post). None of these shells needed any more cleaning than just a rinse as you will see. I did put mineral oil on the TULIPS  to bring out the color but I didn’t on these HORSE CONCHS because… well… I ran out of time. ;)

horse conch colors

I’ve showed a few colors of the CALICO SCALLOPS (and even named them!) but here are some rich colors of the ROUGH SCALLOP. I just love this lemon yellow one Clark found…

rough scallop colors

Even the NUTMEGS have been rich with color.

nutmeg colors

Not only did we find so many different patterns and colors on LIGHTNING WHELKS, I even found one without color at all… an ALBINO LIGHTNING WHELK! See the white one on the bottom row?

lightning whelk colors

I think this ALBINO LIGHTNING WHELK deserves a close up shot. You can see that it still has a shine to the exterior which would be a sign of an albino. Beach worn white shells have a dull matte finish so you can tell that the sun bleached the color out of them.

albino lightning whelk

Hmmm. This photo makes it look blue. Dang it. It really isnt blueish but since it was so bright white against the blue, the lens got tricked and the white balance went wacky. If I get time, I’ll try to retake it but you can see the true color with all of the other LIGHTNING WHELKS but hopefully you can see, this one is in excellent condition with a nice glossy aperture.

albino lightning whelk ap

Now every where I look I see amazing technicolor I thought were only saved for dreams.

Sanibel bay sunset

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