Archive for Conch

Oct
06

Not A Day Late And A Sand Dollar Short

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shells on the beach at Sanibel Island October 2014

There were lots of shells on the beach and “Bling” at Gulfside City Park to comb through this morning… Yay!  Since we had some nice winds from the Gulf Of Mexico this past week, the beach is littered with lots of white clam shells and there are some nice colorful treasures in there too like these WHELKS, CONCHS, MUREXES and purple SEA WHIPS.

shells with a sea whip

Along with finding some beautiful shells today, you might just see mounds of SEA SQUIRTS too. The winds pushed these TUNICATES (to learn more CLICK HERE) up on the beaches along with plenty of seashells. The birds were loving it! They had a feast at this SEA SQUIRT salad bar…

birds eating sea squirts on sanibel beach

Even if you combed through the SEA SQUIRTS, there are hidden gems like this double SUNRAY VENUS…

double sunray venus clam shell in sea squirts

Look how this double SPINY JEWELBOX is camouflaged in the SEA SQUIRTS…

double jewel box shell in sea squirts

I placed a few of the beauties I found on top of a cool SEA SPONGE but unfortunately I covered most of it with shells… oops!

horse conchs with shells

Gwen from Texas was thrilled to find a few goodies on the beach to fill her shell bag.

shell collector on Sanibel

As always, its such a pleasure to run into Smitty on the beach to hear about his latest finds. He told me he found a huge empty HORSE CONCH, a SCOTCH BONNET and so many other great finds yesterday. Yep… yesterday. We missed it! Thats ok, I am so content with my finds this morning and it tickled me so much to see him and all of his shelling paraphernalia- he’s Smitty The Shelling Machine.

FYI- Clark’s been wanting a collapsable picker upper shelling tool for traveling (in Smitty’s right hand) so if I find one, I’ll let you know how Clark likes it too. That little blue scoop is great but its just a weeee too long for a travel bag and the last one broke when we took off the basket.

Smitty with shelling paraphernalia

Last night as I was surfing through the iLoveShelling Facebook age, I saw Arthur Lyon’s photo he posted. Wow! Those are some awesome shells. He said “Cool front pushed a ton of shells onto the beaches today…”. He said he found these near Gulfside City Park so of course thats why I was there this morning. I didn’t see Arthur but I did see his cousins and they told me how crazy the shelling was yesterday. Nice haul!

arthur lyons shell photo

So while Arthur and Smitty were scooping up SCOTCH BONNETS, HORSE CONCHS, FIGS and TULIPS I went to Blind Pass to find thousands of SEA SQUIRTS without the huge shell lines like GULFSIDE CITY PARK had. hahaaha Thats ok- I still found some treasures.

sea squirts tunicates on beach at Blind Pass Captiva

I don’t feel like I was a day late because if I had been there yesterday, I may not have been there this morning to find those sweet baby HORSE CONCHS I showed in the photos above. I looooove those Candy Corns. They are my fave Happy Candy and remind me that we are so very fortunate to be able to comb these beautiful beaches to find so many gifts from the sea every day.

Sanibel shells and beach combers at sunrise

 Let’s go shelling together! This is a perfect week for an iLoveShelling trip to Big Hickory Island.

Join me on Wednesday October 8, 2014 at 8:30am on a spectacsheller shelling adventure! Call 239-765-7272 or CLICK HERE

shelling adventures trips by pam

Dont forget about booking for January 5-8 Shellabaloo- Tickets are selling fast!

shellabaloo January 2015

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Jun
16

Full Moon Rises, Shelling Tide Lowers

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shells found at Blind Pass Captiva June

During the low tide evenings this past week, we didn’t find gobs of shells on Sanibel or Captiva but we found the best empty beauties in the Blind Pass channel in between Sanibel and Captiva. With the full moon causing extreme tides, the water rushes through the pass so quickly at the lowest tide (ankle deep) I like to just wait for the shells to roll by my feet by near the jetty rocks. If you want to see a video from last year that shows how they roll by CLICK HERE

sea shells found in the channel at Blind Pass Captiva Island

We also hit the low tide at the Lighthouse Beach…

low tide shelling sanibel

This was my favorite night last week because I met Michayla from Pensacola with lots of beautiful shells in her shell bag…

Michayla from Pensacola finds sea shells on Sanibel Island Florida

I also met Paige and her mom Nikkie from Kentucky. It’s always so much fun to meet new friends that love shelling as much as I do!

Paige and Nikkie from Kentucky visit Sanibel collecting seashells

And lookie who else was shelling at Lighthouse Beach… our good friends Susan and Lee from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. They definitely love shelling as much as Clark and I do.

Susan and Lee from GTMO visit Sanibel Island Florida

It’s always so much fun to see the live creatures at ow tide like FIGHTING CONCHS…

Live fighting conch seashell on Sanibel Island Florida

I’m not absolutely positive, but I believe that this is a SEA HARE EGG STRING. Seriously, it was this color… almost turquoise!

sea hare Eudisoma hepaticum egg string

We are very used to seeing SEA PORK at low tide but this SEA LIVER looks a little different because it’s flatter and a little slimier. They are dark purple when still alive then turn whitish when they die so I’m assuming part of this colony on the right has already died off and the left side is still hanging on. Of course after I took this photo, I returned this colonial tunicate to the tidal pool where I found it.

sea liver Eudisoma hepaticum

So while we were shelling Lighthouse and Blind Pass… Gary, Jane, Anna, Claire and Ella from Arkansas were shelling near Tarpon Beach when they hit  a VERY sweet honey hole. Gary said ” Just at the shelf line we found a PEN SHELL bed. After about 2 hours of digging we had 8 large horse conchs – our best shell hunt ever!”  I’m sure this will be a day in their lives they will never ever forget. Shellzam!

Gary Jane Anna Claire and Ella from Arkansas find 8 horse conchs

I love summer evenings walking the beach when the sun doesn’t set until way after 8pm then the full moon rises to brighten the sky and pull at the sea.

Sanibel full moon over Gulf of Mexico

full moon over palm trees

Jun
14

The Chimney Clam Beach Sweep

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Stimpson chimney clam Rocellaria stimpsonii drills hole into florida fighting conch

Aha! Another mystery solved. This is the little bugger that makes some of the holes in our seashells… a tiny little STIMPSON CHIMNEY CLAM. Remember the heart I found carved in this PONDEROUS ARK (from King Neptune)? Well, there must have been two STIMPSON CHIMNEY CLAMS drilling into this shell to make that design or there was one mighty CLAM on a mission from the heart.

drilled heart in seashell

Either way you “cut” it, this is one little destructive dude of a STIMPSON CHIMNEY CLAM (Rocellaria stimpsonii) 

Stimpson chimney clam Rocellaria stimpsonii

I was absolutely thrilled to see both valves of this CLAM together (I know, go ahead and say it LooLoo… I’m a real shell geek LOL)…

Stimpson chimney clam side view Rocellaria stimpsonii

So we can have a better understanding of why some shells look like this…

holes in seashells made by stimpson chimney clam

In my post What Makes The Different Holes In Seashells? , I wrote…

 … these bigger holes most likely were drilled by a STIMPSON CHIMNEY CLAM. Oh, What? You’ve never heard of a STIMPSON CHIMNEY CLAM before? LOL Well, neither had I before I got so curious about what made that heart shape and found out that two separate drilled incidences by these clams are the most likely culprit. When I find a STIMPSON CHIMNEY CLAM, you will be the first one to know about it and I will post a photo. “

Well I didn’t find one but MurexKen did! He found this FLORIDA FIGHTING CONCH with both valves of the STIMPSON CHIMNEY CLAM still remaining in the crevice it carved out when it was still alive. This CLAM doesn’t bore into shells and coral to eat as a food source- it’s a Suspension Feeder so it captures food particles from the water somewhat like a filter feeder. It bores holes into shells and coral to use as a place to live… like a cozy little nest.

Stimpson chimney clam Rocellaria stimpsonii with florida fighting conch

Great find MurexKen! Thanks so much for sharing this with me so we can all learn such cool stuff about the the mysteries of our oceans. Now that I know what this shell looks like, I can’t wait to find one of my own (along with the GOLD-BANDED CONEof course). So catch ya later alligator, out to the beach for a CHIMNEY sweep!

Stimpson chimney clam shell Rocellaria stimpsonii makes hole in florida fighting conch

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