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

Sanibel Sunsets and Seashells

Posted by on May 5, 2015 in Ribbed Cantharus, Sunsets | 11 comments

sunset over sanibel sea shells

The sunsets this week have been abshellutely breathtaking!

Sanibel sunset shells at Blind Pass

The shelling hasn’t been so bad either.

orange and yellow seashells

I ran into my friend Liddy at Blind Pass on the beach shelling the other night.

Liddy with Sanibel seashell

Omigosh- She picked up the prettiest little orange RIBBED CANTHARUS.

orange ribbed cantharus

Clark’s faves were an ALPHABET CONE and a FLORIDA CONE.

alphabet and florida cone sanibel

Riley from Cape Coral was happy watching a live LIGHTNING WHELK. I love to see beach curiosity.

Boy with a seashell on Sanibel island
Night after night over the past week, we’ve seen the sun setting over beautiful shells on the beach.

Beach combing at Sunset on Sanibel Island Florida

You bet your bottom DOLLAR, I’ll be out there again this week to see another exshellent sunset.

Sand dollar in the Sanibel sunset

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Precious Little Vulcan Lions Paw

Posted by on Jun 19, 2013 in Cormorant, Lion's Paw, Tinted Cantharus | 25 comments

tiny lions paw sanibel palm

It’s True! It really is the small things in life that are most precious. This is such a sweet little LIONS PAW! But I actually think this one might be called “The Trekkie Paw”… or “The Vulcan Paw”. He’s got a Vulcan Salute for all of you Spock Star Trek fans out there. LOL

interior lions paw lizbeth

My friend Lizbeth found this awesome gem while taking a long walk off West Gulf Drive. I know it looks similar to the KITTENS PAW, but this is clearly defined by that shoulder piece (Spock’s thumb). Good eye, Lizbeth!

lizbeth lions paw

Last evening by the Sanibel pier, I saw Ron from Atlanta snorkeling for quite a while…

snorkel sanibel lighthouse beach

When he finally came out of the water, he showed me this gorgeous live LIGHTNING WHELK he found then he placed back in the water. He also had that big yellow shell bag filled with FIGHTING CONCHS, COCKLES and a few emPty WHELKS.

ron atlanta snorkel sanibel

Lori and Katelyn from Alabama were going for the minis.

lori katelyn lighthouse beach sanibel

Most of these were found just at the water’s edge. I havent seen one of the TINTED CANTHARUS shells in a while so it was fun to see that. It’s the one in her hand that almost has a purplish tint to it. And I wish I had gotten a better shot of the huge WENTLETRAP they found. It’s hiding behind that cute pink-nosed LACE MUREX. The one just above the juvie LIGHTNING WHELK is a nice TOP SHELL.

miniature shells wentletrap cantharus

I always get the CORMORANT and the ANHINGA birds mixed up. They look so much alike! My friend Susan told me this one was the CORMORANT because he has the hook on the end of his beak. The ANHINGAS have the long straight beak. Okay, and I said “he” but I have no idea if this is a male or female but I’m sure there is a way to tell by the plumage. I’m much better at shell ID than bird ID…. but I’m going to try to remember… this one is the CORMORANT!

cormorant bird sanibel pier

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Every Day Is A Gift

Posted by on Apr 19, 2013 in Coquina, Tinted Cantharus, Turban, Wentletrap | 38 comments

beach combing southwest florida

Yes, I am a fanatic sheller and beachcomber… but some days I want to visit the sea to find calmness and peace.

Sanibel stoop shelling april

The beach reminds me that life’s treasures aren’t always obvious. At times I have to stop for a minute or two and focus on everything that is surrounding me. Then take another minute or two to refocus from the large obvious objects, to the smaller items that I may not have noticed.

looking for seashells florida

There is so much there and so much more to enjoy. That’s when I am happiest.

seashells on sanibel beach april

 By the look on Kelly’s face, she found a little happiness too.

kelly beach comber sanibel

Kelly (Colorado) picked up a TINTED CANTHARUS, WENTLETRAP and golden CHESTNUT TURBAN near Gulfside City Park.

tinted cantharus wentletrap turban

I don’t see the TINTED CANTHARUS often so here is a look at the aperture side of the shell…

tinted cantharus aperture

It also makes me so happy to find someone else that only collects one little shell to make them all warm and fuzzy (although we didnt need much help with getting warm… it was in the mid 80s. Nice!). I was happy to meet Susan from Naples…

susan sun bather sanibel

She was thrilled to find this beautiful little COQUINA. She told me she loves butterflies and showed me her butterfly notebook which matched her sweet little COQUINA. That’s all she needed to make her day of shelling complete. One COQUINA. Every day should be that simple.

coquina butterfly notebook

With all of the beautiful shells strung along the beach, Caryn from Michigan was quite amazed by the SPONGES, EGG CASINGS,  and even the BONES (leftover bait from the crab traps that fell out) that were scattered on the beach. Ah! Somebody else that loves that BEACH BLING like I do!

caryn mi beach bling sanibel

And I met other beachcombers that found a few treasures but just as happy to be on the beach with the fresh air and sunshine. Here is Bernadette from Quebec City, Gertie from Arizona and Angela from Melbourne, FL (with the iLS shell ID card!)…

bernadette ca gertie az angela

Ahhhh. Yes. I found my not-so-obvious treasures in seeing the happy faces of others enjoying what Mother Nature does best… reminding us that every day is a gift.

sanibel stoop girls seashells

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Similar Small Sanibel Seashells

Posted by on Feb 6, 2012 in Cantharus, Gulf Oyster Drill, Mauve-Mouth Drill, Pitted Murex, Ribbed Cantharus, Seashells | 17 comments

mauve mouth, gulf oyster drill, cantharus, pitted murex

Can you tell that these are four different shells? The difference between these seashells is very slight.

small shells Sanibel lighthouse

I found a few cutie little shells at the lighthouse that looked very similar but when I turned them over to look at the apertures to correctly identify them, I found little HERMIT CRABS in each one.

small seashell apertures hermit crabs

 After I took the pictures, I put the shells back in the water where I found them then got inspired to head home to sift through my collection of unsorted shells. I had so many of these smaller shells lumped together so it was time to make sure I had the right identity on each one. Okay, so let’s go back and look at the shells I found in my collection at home that were so similar (but not exactly the same kind I found on the beach)…

mauve mouth, gulf oyster drill, cantharus, pitted murex

From left to right… MAUVE-MOUTH DRILL, RIBBED CANTHARUS, GULF OYSTER DRILL and a PITTED MUREX.  Here are the apertures…

aperture mauve mouth drill cantharus murex

I showed the MAUVE-MOUTH DRILL (and it’s eggs) in my January 24 post …

mauve-mouth drills Calotrophon ostrearum

but now you can see how similar it is to the RIBBED CANTHARUS

Ribbed Cantharus shells


gulf oyster drills

 I’ve only showed a GULF OYSTER DRILL once before, which is strange because  they are somewhat common to find on Sanibel. So here’s a closeup…

Gulf Oyster Drill

gulf oyster drill aperture

 The PITTED MUREX is bit smaller (and not as common… for me any way) than the others but it’s still a bear to identify without “cheaters” on. And it is so similar too!

pitted murex

pitted murex aperture

So now we can sift through our collections and finally identify the differences between these four shells now that we can see them side by side. Uhhhh….. I hate to tell you this…. but…. unfortunately, there a few more that look similar to these as well. For instance, …like that photo of my palm with the HERMIT CRAB shells? That top shell more to the left of the photo…. that’s a juvie APPLE MUREX! Doesn’t it look like the rest of the shells? And the shell on the far right side of my palm has a broken base so it’s harder to identify (and I didn’t get a great photo of it) but I’m sure it was a RIBBED CANTHARUS too. And y’all thought Seashell Identification was easy, didn’t you? heehee

small seashell apertures hermit crabs


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Seashell Jewelry ….. For One Day

Posted by on Jul 18, 2011 in Cantharus, Jewelry, Ribbed Cantharus, Sanibel, Tinted Cantharus | 15 comments

puerto Rico sharlene dove earings

I always love to see what other people do with the shells they find combing the beaches. Sharlene found these DOVE SHELLS on a beach near her home in Puerto Rico and she decided to make them into earrings. They look great…but then I think she could make SEA PORK look good too, right? She also made a simple but very cool necklace out of an AUGER. I might have to borrow your idea, Sharlene.

Sharlene shell necklace

But then I’ve said that before, haven’t I? After seeing Kathy’s Junonia Necklace (my post last year) and other inspirations like Sharlene’s necklace, I’m reminded that I was going to make a great necklace too out of my shells but this is as far as I got. I bought waxed linen to thread some shells to hang from my fabulous necklace to be. It’s still sitting….. waiting…..

Waxed linen spool

That’s okay. One day. But until then, I want to show you a few other finds from my weekend. There were a lot of live shells in the water around Middle Gulf Drive but there were a few good empty smaller shells like the ones Mark and Rene from Miami found…

Miami Mark Rene seashells

This is a beautiful RIBBED CANTHARUS Mark found along with a BANDED TULIP, OLIVES, a NUTMEG and a CONCH.

Mark hand shells

Right after I ooooed at that orange CANTHARUS (I consider that “candy” too), I found a TINTED CANTHARUS…..

tinted cantharus Sanibel beach

Since it was a full moon on Friday with negative low tides, I thought we’d have a little better shelling this weekend along the middle beaches of Sanibel. Maybe I should have gone to Blind Pass but we had rain and thunder on and off all weekend so the minute I hear thunder…. I know there’s lightning somewhere. Yikes! That’s when I stay off the beach!

Sanibel stooper

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Zippy Mini Seashells Video

Posted by on Mar 26, 2011 in Cantharus, Conch, Cownose Rays, Horse Conch, Periwinkles, Ribbed Cantharus, Sanibel, Tusk Shell, Zippy Mini Seashells video | 15 comments

Miniature seashells aqua

Miniature seashells

These are just a few little minis that we found along the beach in the tidal pools at low tide on Sanibel. Obviously they are empty without their original inhabitants. Sometimes after the mollusk dies and leaves the shell empty, another creature takes up residency…. HERMIT CRABS! Check out this short video of these little mini shells inhabited by tiny crazy hermit crabs zipping here and there.

They are so cute, aren’t they? I just love seeing that little WENTLETRAP running around! heehee Here are a few more we found that didn’t have any live creatures inside them that we were able to bring home. Please remember, do not take any shell with a live animal inside it. It’s not fair to kill them and it’s against the law here in Lee County.

Orange Ribbed  Cantharus

Orange Ribbed Cantharus

Tusk shells aqua

Tusk shells

tusk shell on aqua

Single tusk shell

baby horse conch shells

Baby horse conch shells....Candies!

Periwinkle seashell

Periwinkle seashell

While Clark and I were walking along the surf line looking for minis, we had a fella that swam along us for quite some time…

Cownose ray in surf

Cownose ray in surf

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