The Sanibel Lighthouse beach has been a long time favorite place of ours to search for the mini shells. The evening was cool and breezy so to take a nice walk from the gulf side to the fishing pier over the weekend was delightful. Our beloved little WENTLETRAPS were scattered along the mid tide line along with a a few adorable little DUSKY CONES. Of the 5 we found, the last one we picked up I believe (the one on the far left by the cutie little pink COQUINA half) is an ALBINO DUSKY. It doesn’t look beach worn and there’s not a speck of color in it. Hmmmmm. Score!
Clark and I are now on the mend from fighting that awful cold/flu/”crud” that zapped us both from every ounce of energy and zombified our brains for a number of days- yuk! Taking a short walk on the beach was just what the doctor ordered- ahhhh we both feel much better. For us, getting outside in the sunshine is always the best medicine and searching for shells on the beach is the perfect follow up therapy.
We’ve been enjoying walking along the shore at Sanibel’s Bowmans Beach this summer since we’ve had our best luck finding shells no matter which direction we comb the beach. Clark had an eye for the cutie mini shells this time. As soon as he found that little DUSKY CONE (on the tips of the horsies/candy/candy corn/mac n cheese…. errrr… those juvie HORSE CONCHS) I remembered that on one of my latest shelling adventure cruises I tried to show how one can tell the difference between those and the ALPHABETS and FLORIDA CONES.
So let me try to show the difference of the shells to you too. Here is a handful of the DUSKY CONES to show you how big they are and the different colors and patterns. Also, check out that each one of them has spiral ribs along the body of the shell. If you run your thumb over the shell, it won’t be smooth, you will feel all of the the little ridges.
Here’s the difference between a random ALPHABET CONE, FLORIDA CONE and the DUSKY that I pulled from our collection of Sanibel shells to see the different patterns and the normal adult size of each.
In this view, you can really see those ribs on the DUSKY compared to the other two that are mostly smooth. Cool, huh?
So next time you find a small little cone shell, look a little closer to see which one you’ve found. Maybe it will be a DUSKY CONE like Deseray found years ago that I showed in my post Rainbow Of Miniature Shells that we compared to her sweet little ALPHIE.
UPDATE: Ive had a few people ask about the difference between the Duskys, Stearns and Jasper Cones. I used to call some of them Jasper Cones but I was corrected a few years ago (can’t remember who told me- MurexKen maybe?) that the Shell Museum says that Jaspers and Stearns aren’t found in our area- only Dusky Cones. So I guess Ive gotta go with with that too unless they add them to the list. Im def no scientist ;0
We went for a boat ride around the islands of Sanibel, Captiva and North Captiva on Saturday. Clark was so jealous he wasn’t able to go out on our iLoveShelling Captiva Cruises last week, and it’s been months on our boat so he was bound and determined to get out and about on the water. Of course we had to stop at plenty of beaches to look for shells.
We found a few! Of course I was thaaa-rilled to find this beautiful wormie and a couple of perfect medium sized SAND DOLLARS.
But. My favorite find of the weekend was this lemon yellow ROUGH SCALLOP. Yummy find!
We spent a good part of the day watching the wildlife and fell in love with several ROSEATE SPOONBILL birds feasting on tiny fish or crabs in the low tide pools…
We found a few more shells but these are our faves. I know, I know… Yes, those are DEPRESSED SLIPPER SHELLS in our faves pile but we saw so many, I feel like they were speaking to me. And when I bent down to pick up a SAND DOLLAR or WORM SHELL or that cute little DUSKY CONE, I couldn’t help but pick up a pretty JINGLE or two as well. JINGLES make me happy- I dont know why- they just do. It was such a wonderful day to be out on the water and out with my honey. He makes me happy too.
i Love Florida! Whoever made this wonderful seashell sign made out of ARKS, must love it too because after a couple of days of rain (to water the plants) and continued wind this week, it has turned into spectacular weather on the beach with shells starting to roll in on the east end of Sanibel near Lighthouse Beach.
You know I love peeking in shell buckets so I figure you do too, right? Marybeth (from RI… but too shy for the camera) had such a beautiful collection of mini shells in her pink bucket separated by her larger shells in her bigger blue bucket. I think my faves would be the DUSKY CONE and WENTLETRAP in the pink bucket and the NUTMEG in the blue bucket.
Ronetta from Indiana forgot to bring her shell bucket along on her beach walk so she cradled all of her faves in the palm of her hand…
Since she didn’t have much room, she collected some mighty fine primo shells. I know you spotted that candy but I hope you can see how gorgeous that SHARKS EYE is with the bright blue center. We call that a “Paul Newman’s Eye”!
I also met Julie with her mom Pat from St Louis.
They had only been on the beach 5 minutes when Julie found this perfect PAPER FIG with such fabulous color…
I found a few goodies too but I stopped in my tracks to see this BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER…
I’m still trying to learn the different breeding plumage since most bird species change colors with their breeding seasons.
This BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER is dressed in its “Adult Breeding” plumage with the black belly. I’m not even sure I would recognize this bird in “Adult Non-Breeding” plumage since it doesnt even have the black belly. Really… if you can believe it… there is a BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER without a black belly. Hmmm…. shell identification is so much easier!
You can see where we found most of the best shells and the birds by this next photo. You can see the lighthouse way in the background at the furthest point which is about a 15 minute walk.
Remember I showed a picture of the erosion at Tarpon Rd Beach Access on my last post ? Well it is already built back up as of yesterday evening… and there are shells on the beach! Yep, it can happen that fast, folks. AND…. There should be even more shells showing up soon because right now as I write this Sunday morning, we have experiencing 20mph north west winds. That should push more shells on our shores any day now!
Having a hard time finding ALPHABET CONES? Refocus your eyes on the miniature shells where the DUSKY CONES hang out. If you are reaaallly lucky, then you’ll find a juvie ALPHABET CONE mixed in with the DUSKYS. In the photo above, you’ll see five cute little DUSKYS on the left then the tiny juvie APHIE on the right end all nestled rainbow style in the palm of Deseray’s hand. She found all of the CONES! I met Deseray’s grandad Fred, her mom Mary Ann and her just west of Lighthouse Beach this weekend. Three generations of shellers…
I could have talked to them for hours about their exquisite mini finds. Deseray has an exceptional eye in finding tiny gems since she has been shelling all of her life and she knew most of their names right away. The only one that stumped us was the TURRID. I thought it was a TURRID but it looks a little different than most we find so I looked back. Yep… most of ours are Pyrgospira tampaensis and I think Deseray’s is the Zonulispira crocata. So let’s just go with the basic iLoveShelling style and just call the really cool shell in between the KING’S CROWN and the LETTERED OLIVE …. a TURRID!
And yes, she also has a little teeny tiny WENTLETRAP on the bottom too. This is just one of many that she found! Here’s are Mary Ann’s mini finds. She had to put an AUGER in her “fave shells” photo since Deseray has always called them “Unicorn Horns”. That is so cute! It DOES look like a Unicorn’s horn!
Did you see those two fabulous little CRAB shells? I love all of the cool stuff they collect! I hope yall can name all of the other minis they collected but if not, look them up on my SEASHELL IDENTIFICATION page. CLICK HERE!
How does Donnie keep finding such incredible shells? On August 20 post, I showed yall all of the incredible shells he found right after Hurricane Isaac passed us by…but now this huge HORSE CONCH too? Wow! Debbie Yuhr said it best… “he should be named The Shellinator!” Bahahaha Perfect!
As you can see, The Shellinator had some competition.
Okay, Beeep Beep (the sound of a truck backing up) before I go any further I have to tell y’all what else happened this past week. My iPhone died. Long story short… I lost all of my voice memo notes. You see, when I meet someone on the beach for the first time, I have to take notes on my iPhone because I am terrible at remembering names. I also have a hard time spelling names so it’s become a crutch to just talk into my phone recorder. So all of my notes were lost when I iPhone died and the guys at the Apple store couldn’t recover them all. Aawk-Waaard! So I’m going to show you some photos of people with only nick names. You have no idea how embarrassed I am so… please, please, please comment on this post if you are one of these people to tell me your real name so I can recover from this mess. Okay, now on with the story of the awesome shelling this week.
The Shellinator had some competition… I saw our friend Mary walking down the beach with a huge HORSE CONCH too! She told me that a German guy gave it to her after she commented on how pretty it was. Yes you read that correctly. The German guy just gave it to her because he said it was too stinky to take it on the plane tomorrow back to Germany. Wow! Here is “The German Guy” (heehee) and Mary with his gift to her…
UPDATE: “The German Guy” has a name now! Glad you had a great time in Florida, Andrew (from Bavaria)! And yes, Mary loves that shell!
“Fort Myers Shelling Mom” and her daughter “I Live In Texas But I Want To Be Back In Florida” were finding shells on the beach, in the water and every where they looked.
Deana and her daughter Valerie (whew, I recovered a few!) found an ALPHABET CONE and their first ANGEL WING.
I saw cutie Shelling Sister Leanne pull this gorgeous dark orange FLORIDA CONE out of the water just a few feet from me.
Shelling Sister Kathy (Oh please tell me I got your name right!) used this strainer to scoop up her goodies.
I love the shell bags! They have a strap for cross shoulder handsfree shelling. These “Strappy Happy Shellers” had plenty of room for all of their treasures.
I saw Shellcrafter Jean collecting minis for her art.
She’s holding two nice DUSKY CONES in her hand but her bucket looks empty….oh no it isn’t. Lots of WENTLEPTRAPS are hiding in that round container inside her cute pink bucket.
Then I visited Blind Pass Captiva again to find our friend Sue (Illinois) with a really cool HORSE CONCH. It’s white with a yellow top!
Then I saw Shelling Sistah Lauren with bags of shells… with her iLoveShelling bag and tee! Adorable!
But Wait! What? One of those bags was filled to the brim with SAND DOLLARS! Yowza! See how grayish they are? They arent completely white but you could tell they all had been dead for a day or so since their “fur” (it’s really their feet which is how they breath) was gone. Score! And she found dried MILLIPEDE STARFISH and everything in between not even to mention a huge chunk of JUNONIA. She said she found them all walking from Bowman’s Beach to Blind Pass. That is quite a hike! She deserves all of these treasures!
As I was about to leave Blind Pass, my friend Diane and her visiting girlfriends (they call themselves “Chicks On The Go”!) Juli, Denise, Marsha, Vicki, Diane and Jackie from St Louis swarmed the beach to instantly find great shells. Let me tell you, these chicks know how to have a good time!
And like most shellers at Blind Pass this week, they found their SANIBEL SIX.
PS- Happy Labor Day… gone shelling.