Sunny blue skies, aqua water and warm breezes have filled our beach days in Southwest Florida this week- it’s been absolutely gorgeous!
But last week, we had some dark skies, rain and a cool (60s) weather front from the west move through to bring some unusual shells. Susan from Wisconsin found what looked to be an AMERICAN STAR-SHELL at Lighthouse Beach. That is a common shell in Caribbean waters but not often on Sanibel or Captiva. UPDATE: MurexKen notified me that this is most likely a MACULATED TOP SHELL which is from IndoPacific region…. NOT an AMERICAN STAR-SHELL. Oops!
Check out my post from our Road Trip To The Florida Keys to see our AMERICAN STAR-SHELLS we found there to compare this…
Then compare it to the MACULATED TOP SHELL at http://www.gastropods.com/4/Shell_244.shtml . Yes, he’s absolutely right- it’s not a shell that is found in our area… it’s what I call a “Wedding Shell”. Folks who decorate for weddings and parties on our beaches buy bags of shells (which originate in the Philippines or other IndoPacific areas) then spread them on the beach for decoration. Then they get washed out by the tide or thrown in and the shell gets washed up again to have a collector like Susan pick it up. I will do a post on these “Wedding Shells” very soon- I promise since this happens way too often. Thank you MurexKen for pointing it out to me!
Okay- lets get back to the beach….
I saw the Shellucky Luckett Ladies again at the beach last week too when that cold front came through. Cuties!
Martha (far right in the Shellucky Luckett Ladies photo) found this amazing LIONS PAW! Shellzam! See? Thats why they are called “Shellucky”!
When the sun came out and the weather warmed up, I headed to Captiva to do my favorite type of beach combing and experience the art of shelling…. SMELL the salt in the air, FEEL the sand between your toes, LISTEN to Beach Sounds by Mother Nature, LOOK at the seascapes and seashells, and RELAX.
On my journey, I saw this…
Such a gift. Thank you Mother Nature for this beautiful ZIG ZAG FLAT SCALLOP!
But even better, I found a STRAWBERRY COCKLE! I know it doesn’t look like much and these are more common in the Caribbean as well, but they just aren’t common here so it’s always a happy day to find one (I think this makes only 4 in our collection from Sanibel or Captiva.
This is exactly how I found this sweet SAND DOLLAR.
I love calm days after a “storm” of busy days to slow stroll along the beach to see it lined with shellions of treasures like KITTENS PAWS, DARK CERITHS, CHESTNUT TURBANS, PAINTED EGG COCKLES and LADY-IN-WAITING CLAMS like these.
I had a craving for a STRAWBERRY at Sunday brunch time yesterday so I was unbelievably excited to feast my eyes on a shellicious treat… a DOVE STRAWBERRY COCKLE.
I just wrote that post Frazzled By A Gaggle Of Cockles last week and realized we didn’t have the STRAWBERRY COCKLE in our shell collection so I’ve been searching high and low all week. While visiting with a friend on West Gulf Drive, we walked the beach to find mostly bivalves scattered along the beach so I didn’t even bother looking for the SANIBEL SIX. Thats when I noticed just about every other variety of our COCKLES were exposed at the low tide.
My mouth started watering thinking about finding a STRAWBERRY. It looks so familiar I just couldn’t believe this shell was so elusive. So I looked beyond the PRICKLY, the PAINTED and the GIANT COCKLES… then half buried in the rich, creamy sand I picked out my very own STRAWBERRY COCKLE.
I felt like I found a JUNONIA! … errrrr… Okay, maybe not that excited, but just as excited as maybe a SCOTCH BONNET. Yea, that’s it… like a SCOTCH BONNET.
Have I seen them before and just never gave it a thought to pick it up? Hmmm. I dunno. I know, I know. It’s not like it’s the most gorgeous shell on Sanibel but don’t you ever wonder what you are missing when you have your eyes only set on finding one particular shell day after day? Who knows what else we are missing!
I think life is like a box of chocolate covered STRAWBERRIES, you just never know what you are missing until you’re happy finding something unusual instead of what everybody else is looking for.
LOL Enough of my “life” theories! We all know it’s fun to be competitive and find the biggest and best shell that everybody else is looking for. LOL It’s just fun to learn about and find yet another seashell on our beaches… especially when it looks like a strawberry.