And then this happened this weekend… I found this spectacsheller empty HORSE CONCH! I was walking along with my friend Alicia and then… Boom- Shellalaka! I saw part of that bright color shell half buried in the sand.. then galloped towards it and lassoed me a Horsie – Yeehaw. I reined this big bad boy filled with sand and saw it had such a nice lip and this amazing orange yellow color… and… without too many barnacles. Yup, it was bareback! Giddy Up, Horsie!
And Alicia found so many awesome shells too. She and GAIL were especially happy to both find perfect ALPHABET CONES.
We’ve had so many storms, the beach at Gulfside City Park on Sanibel Island is littered with shells of all sorts. Most of the shells were still alive on the beach at low tide which exposed so many creatures we normally don’t get to see. This is a rare time when Mother Nature decides to clean house and let us see what she’s hiding on the floor and under the carpet of the Gulf Of Mexico.
These were a few of the empty shells I found wedged in-between the ARK shells and the live MOLLUSKS.
I’m not exaggerating…. there were thousands of shells. It was overwhelming to even know where to begin to identify all of them so I just enjoyed taking in the view.
After a while, I spotted a few empty shells that were laying right on top.
And still… oodles of SEA URCHINS.
Local shellers Melody and Vickie were as thrilled and curious as I was to just see the awesome sight of the exposed beach filled with live creatures.
They couldn’t get over how gorgeous and perfect the PAPER FIGS and SEA URCHINS were. They are both so delicate.
I’m telling you, it was shocking to see that bright orange creature with so many live HORSE CONCHS exposed. The wild wild west of Florida.
These unbridled HORSES were digging back in to the sand saddling up along side and feasting on other MOLLUSKS while waiting for the tide to cover them up again and take them back to the stable. Most of those BANDED TULIPS were alive and riding horseback but can you spot the sand filled WHELK in between the PEN shell and one of those BANDED TULIPS?
Many people ask if this happens every day… No it doesn’t. Yes, our area on Sanibel and other SW Florida beaches have shells every day but these huge shells just don’t wash up at your feet every day. It’s the circle of life so it’s fun to see live creatures in their natural habitat and to be overwhelmed by Mother Nature. It’s a special occurrence just like fisherman fish for “the big one” or birders trying to spot flocks of ROSEATE SPOONBILLS or looking for DOLPHIN jumping out of the water. All of this happens on special days and mine was this weekend. Shellzam, y’all!
Shells, shells and more shells rolled in the week after the storms hit SW Florida this week. Folks who didn’t mind getting their toes wet at the surf’s edge for a couple of hours were rewarded with some a-maaaazing gifts from the sea. Annie, Lucy, Heidi and Doug who were visiting Sanibel from Ohio all found some cool shells… and look at that huge empty HORSE CONCH Lucy (in the red sweatshirt) found- it was Shellectric!
It was like playing Duck, Duck, Goose… picking up shells and looking to see if they were occupied- Live, Live… Empty!
The shell game…
It was almost too overwhelming to look at the beach with all the beautiful colors peeking out of the sand when the waves receded. Which way do I go?
LIGHTNING WHELKS… it was like a people were tripping over them. haha (Ok- I’m sort of exaggerating… errrr.. sorta)
But Im not exaggerating about this…. Chris and his wife Karen from Vermont found a JUNONIA at Blind Pass- Shellzam!
Patti from NY was overjoyed to find her own big WHELK at lighthouse beach. Boom- Shellalaka!
Then I saw her one hour later and… she found another one. haha Ooo Shell-la-la!
You can see Clark in the background scooping up shells I showed you earlier this week while families all around him found their own amazing treasures.
Rudy from MN was finding WHELKS too- he was around the same spot as Clark and there were plenty to go around for everybody. Happiness.
This says it all! The day was so spectacsheller, Kathy was doing the happy dance and shouting to the palm tree tops. Isn’t she the cutest thing?
But hold on… I never even got to show you the crazy FOSSIL SHELLS that local shellers Pam and Cheryl found near the Sanibel fishing pier…
Seriously, isn’t this crazy?
Shelling sisters Andrean and Karen from OK had the same instincts I did throughout the week because I ran in to them at just about every stop- they hit the same beaches at the same time. We should have just car pooled together hahaha. They even found the “FOSSIL PIT”.
The last time this road got washed away by a storm, the City Of Sanibel brought loads of dirt with shells mixed in from the FOSSIL pits in Florida so thats why these unbelievable shells rolled out. That OLIVE in Andrean’s hand was still shiny- Wow. And… the shell just to the right of it I believe is a Mitra lineolata which was a common shell 5 million years ago but is now extinct. Cheryl had one in her hand in the other photo too. Blows the mind, right?
I hope to do a whole post just on FOSSIL shells you can find around the islands (to see a previous post on FOSSILS CLICK HERE ) but I still have much to catch up on (it was a busy week…. my birthday week- heehee). We also had an awesome time on our iLoveShelling Adventure yesterday so I’ll show you what we found there on my next post.
I know lots of you up north are dealing with some terrible weather and preparing for scary storms this weekend so we are sending love and warm wishes to you. Please be safe!
Oh and PS- The BROWN PELICAN we took to CROW (on my last post CLICK HERE) is still being cared for at the clinic. He still has a splint on his fractured right leg but they say he is making a nice recovery. Yahoo!
You get that magical feeling when you see a STAR wash up on the beach next to your toes, don’t you? We always feel so lucky to be able to touch them, to pick them up and to return them safely to the sea … never feeling afraid they will bite like so many other sea creatures. They seem happy, peaceful and a little whimsical for some reason so we always feel a little giddy to catch a glimpse of them. So since they seem so magical, I’m gonna make a wish whenever we see a SEA STAR from now on.
All along the east end of Sanibel this morning, we saw lots of other healthy live creatures as well… like this beautiful PEAR WHELK.
Earlier this week at Blind Pass Sanibel, I found a few strings of shells lining the beach…
I found a few hidden treasures tucked in between the loads of ARK shells…
I found a few other treasures too…
Sue and Molly from Indiana were so much fun to talk to and happy as clams to be stooping for shells in the cooler weather.
Sue’s fave find was a beautiful GAUDY NATICA, while Molly was thrilled she found a little MOON shell too… a juvie SHARKS EYE and a verrrrrry cool BRYOZOAN COLONY that looks like a cross between a SPONGE and CORAL.
I also met other shellers traveling from Indiana to Sanibel…. Debbra and Steven.
We found lots of little mini shells along the beach at the water’s edge and some nice LETTERED OLIVES as we waded in the water shin deep.
My fave finds today? Seeing the live creatures were a highlight of the day and I found many cutie colorful SCALLOP SHELLS (and a sweet double SUNRAY VENUS) to make me even happier.
Join me on an iLoveShelling Beach Combing Adventure… CLICK HERE for more info
A wonderful, warm walk in a WENTLETRAP wonderland.
Watch this wideo – errrrr – vvvvideo (heehee) of my morning’s walk near the Sanibel fishing pier today….
Oh CONE all ye faithful. With the hustle and bustle of holidays upon us, I managed to take a few breaks to breathe in the calmness of Sanibel and get the beach. My best find this week was this ALPHABET CONE. Joyful and Triumphant!
I found one spot this week that shells were piled a mile high… under the Blind Pass bridge on the Sanibel side. I didn’t find many WHELKS, OLIVES or the other Sanibel Six shells but there were ARKS, KITTENS PAWS, SCALLOPS and SLIPPERS galore.
Clark and I even got up at the crack of dawn over the weekend to see the glorious sunrise.
We only found a few tiny WHELKS…
But the SAND DOLLARS … on my! They were every where at Gulfside City Park. There were so many this past summer on the beach and they are still there. Wow!
Soooooo many beautiful SAND DOLLARS.
Walking in the water ankle deep, we could see glimpses of these beautiful treasures. Holiday gifts from the sea!
Join me on a Beachcombing Adventure! CLICK HERE for dates and info…