I have been looooving my long walks on the Sanibel beaches this week with warm, sunny days. Yesterday at the Lighthouse Beach, I enjoyed finding WENTLETRAPS and other sweet minis on the Gulf Of Mexico side instead of on the pier side where they used to be.
It feels so good to find the minis again.
Jim from Buffalo, NY found four times the WENTLETRAPS I found but I was most jealous of this crazy big WENTLE. Wow! Thats a whopping wentle to wet your whistle!
A few days ago I walked Blind Pass beach on the Sanibel side and met Deb from Minnesota…
She had such a beautiful variety of shells she mostly found at the water’s edge. Very nice BANDED TULIPS, FIGHTING CONCHS, LIGHTNING WHELKS, SCALLOPS and of course that sweet candy in the middle- a juvie HORSE CONCH.
Lokks like I’ve got some catching you up to do because I got lost in time looking through all of those PEN SHELLS, BEACH BLING and researching those DOSINIAS earlier this week. I also went to Tarpon Beach a couple of days ago and found this big shell pile.
Just a short walk from that big shell pile there are still nice low tide pools with fun stuff to explore too. This one is only about 50 yards in front of the entrance (on the left) to the public beach access.
To show you how many shell and wrack lines there are at Tarpon Beach, I tried (its a little blurry- sorry!) to take a photo of me holding a WENTLETRAP in one of the high tide lines so you could see how far I was from that shell pile and the water. There are so many fun areas to search.
Every beach I’ve been to in the past few days, has been so much fun to explore. If I didn’t find the bigger shells like Deb, I started to search for my fave minis. But then… finding shells is just icing on the cake sometimes. Sometimes I just want to feel the sunshine on my skin and breath in the sea. So I hope you can CyberSink your toes on this sandy, shelly beach and enjoy the blue skies, sunshine and warm weather to enjoy it with me. Sending sunshine and cybershells.
PS- I’m thrilled I’ve gotten some feedback and some of y’all are enjoying my “the differences between shells” posts. I have lots of different little minis in the top photos of my Lighthouse finds so until I can get to photographing the DRILLS and such, check out these posts … Similar Small Sanibel Seashells and… Seashells Open Your Eyes. That will help you identify most of these shells along with the SPARSE DOVE that’s in this post… I Spy Seashells And Beach Bling. Dont forget, you can always go to my SEASHELL IDENTIFICATION page… CLICK HERE.
After the rain stopped and the warm sunshine filled our weekend, the Sanibel Lighthouse beach was very popular for watching wonderful wildlife like this huge live HORSE CONCH Bijou is showing us in the first photo (with fresh sunscreen protecting that sweet little face!). Bill from Michigan found a different one moments later…
Three young girls look like mermaids calling the dolphins to tell them secrets…
Bruce from Eugene, Oregon was crouching in the sand filling up his University of Oregon cup with hundreds of shells…
Look at his collection of COQUINAS!
Allison from NC found everything from WENTLETRAPS to LEOPARD CRAB shells but wanted to find a pair of ANGEL WINGS to give to friend but couldn’t find them. So instead, she was collecting COQUINAS since they were like colorful wings.
Not one minute after she told me about the ANGEL WINGS, I looked down to find a pair of tiny ANGEL WINGS practically at our feet. What are the chances! We placed the wings inside one of her double DOSINIAS to keep them in her bag for safe traveling until she got back to her room. Best Wishes Allison!
Shelling worlds tend to come together and when they do, Sue and Ken tend to be there. Ken was busy collecting the miniature shells as well…
He found lots of other shells but he showed me these WENTLETRAPS, a SHARP RIBBED DRILL and a GULF OYSTER DRILL. I realized I don’t have the GULF OYSTER DRILL on my SEASHELL IDENTIFICATION page! This week, I’m going to work on getting that up to date, my friends.
You may not think the beach looks pretty in the next photo because it looks a little “dirty” at the surf line… but to me, that looks like a gold mine! That’s where all of the mini shells are hiding.
This is just a small assortment of what Clark found the beginning of the weekend. I haven’t had time to sort out our finds yet so I’ll try to get those posted soon too.
Just in case you were worried about what happened to those large live HORSE CONCHS…. after I took a photo of Bijou’s HORSE CONCH, she immediately walked it out in the water as far as she could and gently placed it back in the GULF OF MEXICO (without her mom Deanna having to tell her).
And Bill did the same thing. From all of us, Thank you for being good stewards of the sea.
Oh, and…. Join us for our iLoveShelling shelling adventure to Cayo Costa Island next Saturday! Click on the next image for more info…
Can you tell that these are four different shells? The difference between these seashells is very slight.
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.
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)…
From left to right… MAUVE-MOUTH DRILL, RIBBED CANTHARUS, GULF OYSTER DRILL and a PITTED MUREX. Here are the apertures…
I showed the MAUVE-MOUTH DRILL (and it’s eggs) in my January 24 post …
but now you can see how similar it is to the RIBBED CANTHARUS…
and the GULF OYSTER DRILL…
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…
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!
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
RIBBED CANTHARUS, APPLE MUREX, MAUVE-MOUTH DRILL, broken RIBBED CANTHARUS (I’m sure).
This is how our weekend started off on Friday. A calm, coral sky at sunset with a few shells scattered along the beach.
Gulf Oyster Drill
This is the cute little shell in foreground of the first photo. Cute, huh? It’s called a GULF OYSTER DRILL and this is what the aperture looks like…..
Gulf Oyster Drill Aperture
We are starting to see lots of live COQUINAS right at the surf’s edge getting washed up then quickly digging themselves back into the sand.
There were a few Sanibel Stoopers enjoying the warm evening and the semi low tide pools off Middle Gulf Drive.
I was so touched that Matt (OH) was collecting shells to make jewelry for his girlfriend. What a guy!
We got a chance to stop by Sanibel side of Blind Pass this weekend too but instead of shelling the sand bar, we walked the beach down to the bayou where I spotted this GREAT BLUE HERON in flight.
We were surprised to see so many shell piles!
There were lots of FIGHTING CONCHS and WHELKS but I didn’t see any SAND DOLLARS until I met Stephanie from Ft Myers. She found about 6 SAND DOLLARS in her shell bag.
I havent had the chance to clean up the 14 inch HORSE CONCH Clark found this weekend (he’s still beaming) but tomorrow I’ll get that cleaned up and take a few photos then show the rest of the photos of our fabulous boating day.
surf shells sanibel
We looked towards the pass and saw the rain coming. Head for the hills!
Hope you had a wonderful Memorial Day weekend as we honored the memories of our fallen U.S. service men and women.
The other day, shelling sistah Tricia G asked me if I’ve ever found a MARGINELLA on Sanibel since I don’t have one listed on the SEASHELL IDENTIFICATION page. I’ve found them before but, come to think about it, I sure haven’t found one in a long time. So last night, we headed for the lighthouse because I was on the hunt for that sneaky MARGINELLA. To double my chances, I reminded Super Sheller Clark that I wanted to find one to add to the I.D. page so I told him to be on the lookout too.
Yippee! I found one!….. er…..well…. Clark found it. He was scooping at the surf line when all the sudden I hear him laugh. “Look what I found”.
Marginellas and a broken dove
Then he found another one! And then yes, I found that little one on the right. Whew- I wasn’t completely out-shelled. Keep in mind, the biggest one is just shy of 1/2 inch and they sort of look like a BUBBLE if the aperture side is down so they aren’t easy to find. I found the broken one on the left too so I added it to the photo since I thought it was the same shell.
Marginella and Dove? aperture
Dang it! That shell on the left really doesn’t even look like a MARGINELLA at all since it has those teeth on the lip. I couldn’t even see those teeth until I took the picture and looked at it on the computer. In the last few years I can’t even look at my phone or a menu without holding them as far as my arms will extend. You know what I mean? Ha! Geez. Oh well, I’ve been fortunate so far with my eyes so I shouldn’t complain….. it’s just weird…. I’m just sayin. ;) Alright, back to the shell…. I think the broken shell on the far left is a DOVE shell just by what’s left of it but I could be wrong (I gotta get back to trusting my own eyes again- yikes!). It’s not like I can where “readers” on the beach…. maybe? ….. nahhhh.
Brown banded wentletrap
I didn’t need glasses to spot this BROWN-BAND WENTLETRAP though. Love that color running through it!
Brown banded wentletrap aperture
Nancy from Seashell Wreaths by Nancy reminded me that the name WENTLETRAP is derived from a Dutch word meaning spiral staircase.
We were on the mini shell hunt so we ran across lots of the BUBBLE shells…. appropriately named as well….
We found lots of AUGERS which again, look like their name…
So how about SHARP-RIB DRILL? That flat rib or blade off the sides is pretty sharp, huh?
Now this is getting funny! I didn’t plan on dissecting common names of shells tonight but it’s kind of fun, right? So let’s look at the KEYHOLE LIMPET…..
….and the BUTTON shell….
This CONE shell certainly looks like an ice cream cone….
But I’m not sure that this RICE OLIVE shell looks like an olive but it sure looks like rice…
Picture this next shell on top of Barbie’s doll head… yep, it’s a TURBAN. Again, I just thought this shell was pretty and knobby. I didn’t realize it had a hole in it and the barnacles attached…the eyes are going! Oh well, it’s still pretty.
We had our eyes (failing or not) focused on finding a special miniature shell by looking for the particular pattern of a MARGINELLA and we found it. We shell this beach on the east end of Sanibel regularly but we’ve probably walked right by hundreds of them just because we have been focused on other patterns of shells that we see on a regular basis. i Love Shelling. I really do because it opens my eyes to see beautiful things that I normally would never appreciate.
Our Sanibel lighthouse shells last night
Sanibel pier sunset
Top row- Pear whelk, Drill, Dwarf olive, Bubble (above), Keyhole Limpet, Tusk, Wentletrap. Bottom row- Auger, Coquina, Murex, Fighting conch
Shelling is just like life…. look beyond the obvious and you will find something beautiful and extraordinary. I always feel a calmness come over me when I search for the mini shells. When I begin to focus on all the different wash lines of the beach, I feel myself zone everything else out.
Wentletrap in tidal pool
One weedy wash line leads me to another line of sticks, broken shells and what looks like mulch. See that little WENTLETRAP among all that “mulch”? I tried to keep that bubbly foam in the photo so you could tell how it was in about 2 inches of water.
Tidal pools at sunset
I come out of the shelling zone every once in a while to soak in how beautiful this time of day is here on the beach at the lighthouse. Calming.
Tusk shell in sand
Then I go into the shelling zone again and remember to look for TUSK shells too. Can you even spot the TUSK shell?
Tusk shell on my finger
I didn’t actually mean to focus on the sand instead of my finger but I’m kinda glad you got to see how big (or I should say how “little”) the TUSK shell is AND to see what the area looked like where I found it.
Sanibel lighthouse miniature shells
These are some of the same shells as the first picture but there’s also a CANTHARUS (top left with barnacles on it), 2 KITTENS PAWS, BARNACLES, a BABY’S EAR (broken), a TURBAN and 2 CROSS BARRED VENUS clams.
“Sometimes the treasures we take from the beach are the friends we meet there~” quote by Carla Barone…
Gerry (New Hampshire) with a sea whip
Chris (IL) collecting minis