After seeing so many empty shells at Blind Pass at the beginning of the weekend, we wanted to see what Tarpon Bay Rd Beach access looked like with the extreme low tide. This beach looked so different and we saw so many live shells like in the first photo with the live FIGHTING CONCHS every where. We also saw this LIGHTNING WHELK making a meal out of this ATLANTIC GIANT COCKLE. He had his body (the black part) completely inside the COCKLE shell eating the meat for dinner. Wild.
This COCKLE SHELL was on the losing side of this fight as well since an APPLE MUREX was making COCKLE soup out of this guy…
I also saw several SEA CUCUMBERS stranded on the low tide sand bars…which I dug a little trench for this guy since he seemed still so healthy.
I was so thrilled by seeing all of the living creatures (oodles of live OLIVES as well), I pretty much came home without any shells. I say “pretty much”… because I had Super Sheller Clark with me. I may have come home empty handed but Clark found an excellent HORSE CONCH while I was tracing the trail of something I thought was a live BABY’S EAR. I wanted to get it on video so I starting shooting (I edited it so you dont have to watch the boring part where I find nothing…then nothing…then nothing) and while I was shooting I heard Clark call my name…. [youtube]http://youtu.be/YwjxunphnK4[/youtube]
We havent even had time to clean it up but it is a beauty. I’m also tickled to have one this size because normally you find them when they are really tiny or see them big adults not the teenager size. Hmmmm… wonder why? Then he found another one!
It was a beautiful weekend with the evenings spent on the beach for low tide and meeting such wonderful families like Rob and Melanie from Melbourne, FL with their two daughters Allison and Lexie. What’s not to love!
If you want to learn the types of seashells, sea life, vegetation and what the different kinds of mollusk egg cases look like and live in the Gulf Of Mexico, you’ve got your chance this week. It all washed up on the beach on the East end of Sanibel.
You can see it for miles. So many mollusk egg casings and PEN SHELLS galore!
MERMAID PURSES! Well, they are really SKATE EGG CASES…
HORSE CONCH EGG CASINGS (I shot this with the Nikon J1)…
WHELK EGG CHAINS…
Lots of CRABS too. This one is a STONE CRAB…
My friend Jane called me and said she found a dead crab shell on the beach that had a NAUTILUS shell pattern. She has found a NAUTILUS before so she would know! Wanna see? CLICK HERE . So I went to see this crab…and it does have that pattern! It’s a FLAME BOX CRAB…
I also saw lots of SEA WHIPS. This was the first time I’ve ever found a WHITE SEA WHIP…
We normally just find the purple SEA WHIPS but when I went to see Jane’s FLAME BOX CRAB she showed me this bright yellow WHIP she picked up as well.
There were oodles of PURPLE SEA URCHINS also ( J1)…
I always get questions about the bones on the beach. They are from the bait in the crab traps… not random dead carcasses. LOL
I also get a lot of questions about this guy on the left. It’s a SEA CUCUMBER…
Don’t worry, I saw lots of shells too. Mainly, the double DOSINIAS.
Cyber Sheller Alert! This next photo is really big so you can do a little shelling and blinging…
Looking through all this BEACH BLING, there are little treasures that look like this so you have to look closely…
Some goodies were still washing in at the shoreline as well…
The big find was by Seth (FL)! He found this huge HORSE CONCH on the sand bar near Donax Rd. Here he is with Erin and Reese…
See? BEACH BLING is a wonderful thing… (J1)
PS- Some of you know I’ve been testing a new Nikon J1 camera. It isn’t very spontaneous but when I do catch a nicer shot than with my spontaneous, trusty, easy, clear Panasonic DMC…. I’ve noted it.
Ten minutes. This is how long it took to find these little minis in the surf line by Fulger Street yesterday evening. Yes, I have an advantage, Super Sheller Clark was with me ….but still, it’s a nice little assortment. There is a beautiful sand bar visible at low tide that collects miniatures shells and lots of the big FIGHTING CONCHS, WHELKS and basically the Sanibel Six right in between the bars.
Here’s a video to show you exactly where we were, what to look for and how to pick them out…[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hGBRYTs_krk[/youtube]
We found other goodies too yesterday …..
No, I didn’t find these three lovelies all together like this but I found all three in the shallow water half way buried within…oh, maybe 20 yards of each other. Then a walked along to find these….
A few other finds along the way…..
I call this the “sea cucumber sandwich”. Ha! I found this SEA CUCUMBER inside a double DOSINIA. A cuke in a blanket!
The CALICO SCALLOPS are so colorful!
Michelle and Aggie (MI) were collecting DOSINIAS, COCKLES and FIGHTING CONCHS.
Michelle found a few empty ATLANTIC GIANT COCKLES with both sides together.
Aggie was especially happy she found this little sweet PEAR WHELK.
Shallow water wonderland.
Kings crown conch
I’ve had a little dry spell finding mid size shells lately but today…. The shells are back! Yippee! We had nice southwest winds the past few days and now the shells at the lighthouse beach on the pier side have started rolling in, baby.
Crucifix shell near the pier
I knew it was gonna be a good day today since I found a CRUCIFIX SHELL (which is really not a shell- click HERE or on the name for more info). It’s a good luck charm!
Beautiful True Tulip
It’s a great day when you find a KINGS CROWN and a red TRUE TULIP!
Sunray venus clam
I saw quite a few pairs of SUNRAY VINUS CLAMS that were still together. Lucky again!
This gorgeous LIGHTNING WHELK rolled up on the beach just waiting to be picked up by a lucky sheller.
Jim, James, Katie and Connie (MI)
This was a lucky shelling family enjoying gulf treasures washing up with every handful. They were having a blast! And me too!
Jim and Connie's fabulous finds
Check out those beauties. Okay, I know you didn’t miss that butterscotch yellow TRUE TULIP sittin’ pretty in the middle of all those other shellicious shells, did you?
James with a sea cucumber
In with the shells, came live SEA CUCUMBERS, STARFISH and a few SEA URCHINS. James was a good sheller and gently returned this live sea critter to the water to help it survive. What a cutie!
My shells from today
I’m sure you can identify most of these shells but I’m especially tickled by the bright orange CHESTNUT TURBAN and the little candy HORSE CONCH. There is another shell I’m also pretty tickled with but it’s broken. It is the second one down on the right side…….it’s a CARRIER SHELL! I didn’t get a good shot of it so maybe I’ll show you tomorrow if I can get a good picture. Don’t know all the other names all of the shells above? Try looking at my SEASHELL IDENTIFICATION page. Good luck ….. Tag! You’re it! I’ve now passed my good luck from finding that CRUCIFIX SHELL today on to you. Have fun.
I can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings.
Beach sponges and stuff
This is what I love to see on the beach! Lots of SEA SPONGES, PARCHMENT WORM CASES, SEA PORK, and PEN SHELLS. Why? Because it means there will be great shelling in the next few days!
Double Jingle Shell in pen shell
See that JINGLE SHELL on this PEN SHELL? This jingle has both sides and is attached to the Pen shell….. and this isn’t even the most exciting part of this whole picture. I’ve never noticed a 2 sided jingle until MurexKen showed me. Yes! You read that correctly! Clark and I met MurexKen and MurexAlice (celebrating their 33rd wedding anniversary) on the beach and he showed this jingle to me.
MurexKen showing the Jingle shell
For those of you who don’t “know” MK, he is a seashell identification wizard and educates us on the scientific gastropod and bivalve names with his comments on my posts. That may have been the first time I’ve written “gastropod” and “bivalve” in the same sentence…. huh? He’s rubbing off!
Paper-thin jingle shell side view of both sides (my fingers)
Clark had to break out the big shelling backhoe and found this TUBE WORM.
Tube worm in Clark's backhoe
I thought this was a PARCHMENT WORM but I think it’s a different MARINE WORM.
Sea Cucumber Sanibel
Clark also found this SEA CUCUMBER in his backhoe. This guy was still alive so we put him back after I snapped this photo. Lots of fun stuff off Middle Gulf Drive near Gulf Side City Park!
Allen and Julianna (San Francisco)
Julianna has been collecting shells all over the world so she and Allen were happy to finally be in Sanibel.
Renee, Carol, Kathleen and Julie (Connecticut)
A great shelling Girls’ Trip! These gals take a girls trip the same time their husbands get together and do a guys trip at another destination. How fun for all of them!
Pen shell pile
OK- I’ve got to get to bed so I can be up for the early morning low tide. I hope to have lots of goodies to show you…. or maybe just one… I’m not giving up on that JUNONIA!