It’s crazy the masses of stranded FIGHTING CONCHS and HORSE CONCHS I showed you over 2 weeks ago (CLICK HERE) are still on the beach at Gulfside City Park.
Blind Pass Captiva has come and gone with shells a few times in the last weeks so each day is a surprise to what we find. The best thing I’ve found there recently is 10 year old Ryan from New Jersey. This kid has learned so much about shells, he could name every shell on the beach. It was so much fun to see that he was just as obsessed with all shells and bling… hmmmmm… I think I see a future Malacologist in the making. ;)
He’s pretty darn good at finding awesome shells too.
It was a special trip to Sanibel for Ryan and his grandma Hilarie – he was teaching her about shells. There’s something else interesting about this next photo too… this beach is on the inside of jetty rocks at Blind Pass Captiva- that beach is back! Over the years the sand shifts back and forth- opening and closing the pass. It’s amazing to watch the power Mother Nature has to build a beach or take away a beach within a matter of days. (CLICK HERE and HERE to see other Blind Pass changes)
I took a quick little video of the shells at Gulfside again to share with you… Honestly, it kind of makes my head spin to see all of them so its hard to focus on looking at anything else.
I just have to focus on a few other sweet treasures… and remember at times less is more.
Even though Hurricane Joaquin has been churning in the Caribbean hundreds of miles from Sanibel and Captiva the last few days, those north and west winds have effected our beaches and churned our gulf coast as well.
This weekend Clark and I combed the beaches (through intermittent rain without lightning) finding some cool broken brick/concrete chunks with turquoise paint (maybe an old floor?), lots of incredible “sun beam” SCALLOPS and other assorted shells and bling getting tossed up by the rough surf on the beaches closer to Captiva.
Clark found lots of dreamy creamsicle shelliciousness at Bowman’s Beach.
The gulf was much calmer near Gulfside Beach which made for a beautiful sunset to show off Ray’s perfect little juvie SAND DOLLAR.
Although Ray (from Nantucket) is visiting Sanibel for a fishing trip, he found his first SAND DOLLAR (he called it a sand nickel – heehee) along with some other shells. He noticed it was still a little dark so he knew to search for any signs of life by looking for any “fur” or cilia anywhere on the body. He asked me to check it out to make sure as well…. yep, he was right- no fur. It’s a keeper!
At Lighthouse Beach, the wind was kicking up and the shells were starting to roll in…. but you had to fast to snag them or the waves would take them right back out as fast as they came in. Dale and Wayne (Jacksonville, FL) were lucky enough to catch a few good ones but Dale said this ALPHABET CONE was the best of their collection. Awesome!
Just like this weekend, each SW Florida beach this week will probably be changing by the hour. That’s why we love to be out there and it keeps us coming back, right?
After five days, the mound of shells that built up at Blind Pass Captiva last week is still producing exshellent finds.
There was a QUEEN HELMET found this morning!
Donna and Ray from North Carolina were sifting through this shelltastic pile this morning…
when Donna found that cutie little QUEEN HELMET, a SCOTCH BONNET, 2 ALPHABET CONES (a perfect one minutes after I snapped this photo), LETTERED OLIVES, APPLE MUREXES, CERITHS, AUGERS, CHESTNUT TURBANS, FIGHTING CONCHS and gorgeous CALICO SCALLOPS.
Matt and Monika from Ohio found a spot on shell mountain to dig out some gold too.
It was the first time visiting Sanibel and Captiva for Wenjin from New Jersey… she was in shell heaven!
Its the perfect paradise ending to 2014 with 80 degree sunny weather and seashells piled a mile high. Heaven on earth.
I took a random CYBERSHELLING shot on the top of the pile when I first got there. I hope you find a few goodies! (Warning: If you like KITTENS PAWS, you might want to take a big breath before you click on this next photo. heehee)
Can you tell the difference between a CALICO SCALLOP, ROUGH SCALLOP, BAY SCALLOP (top row), ZIGZAG SCALLOP (the FLAT valve and deep valve) and a LION’S PAW (bottom row)? I searched through our collection to find similar sizes and color examples of each species so that you can see the differences in shapes with the exterior (above) and the interior (below). But Ack! I didn’t mean to but I switched the ZIGZAG valves in the next photo so that now the FLAT side is in the middle and the inflated side is on the second row left. Sorry- silly me!
It’s so hard to show every angle but here is a way to see how different they are and how deep the valves are. On the top row right in the next photo, you can see how much flatter the BAY SCALLOP is from the CALICO (left) and the ROUGH SCALLOP (middle) and also how deep the ribs are in the LIONS PAW. I’ve written about both valves of the ZIGZAG SCALLOP before (CLICK HERE) but not about how the valve looks beside the other SCALLOPS. Denise Kisko (my buddy in the New York Times article!) asked me how to identify the second side of the FLAT ZIGZAG. In the next photo look at the shell in first row on the left, see the big shadow under the “nose” of that SCALLOP? It doesn’t sit flat on the table because it is so inflated and the sides spread out so much. That’s the second half of the ZIGZAG bivalve shell that fits with the FLAT side (middle shell).
This is how it looks when both valves are together when it is alive…
Here is a photo of a common CALICO SCALLOP, the deep side of the ZIGZAG SCALLOP (the other side of a FLAT) and a common ROUGH SCALLOP. Can you see that the middle shell is more “fanned” and the hinge area seems a bit smaller too.
Now you can really tell the difference by looking at the interior…
When I was looking at all of our SCALLOPS, I noticed how similar the CALICO SCALLOPS and BAY SCALLOPS look alike too. There are a few different ways to tell them apart but for me, this is the best angle to look at them. Now they look different, right?
So I hope this will help you just a little bit more to tell the different SCALLOPS of Southwest Florida apart. Top left to right…. CALICO SCALLOP, ROUGH SCALLOP, BAY SCALLOP. Bottom left to right… FLAT side of ZIGZAG SCALLOP (which I normally just call a “FLAT”, ZIGZAG SCALLOP (the deep right valve), LION’S PAW.
When Denise asked me how to identify the “other side of the FLAT”, her friend Penny Lang Yelverton posted a poem on the iLoveShelling Facebook page that she and Denise wrote while together on Sanibel. She said…
“Great month on Sanibel with my friend Denise Sheldon Kisko (NYT). We wrote new lyrics to the song My Favorite Things while waiting for a storm to pass at Gulf Side.
Sand dollars, starfish and conchs of all kinds. Kitten paws, scallops are some common finds. Sunglasses, sunscreen and lip balm galore,
Keep you from burning so you can shell more.
Lions paws, tulips, junonia’s so fine. Worm shells and murex are also good finds. Blind Pass and Bowmans and Gulf Side seashore, These are the beaches we shellers adore!
When the rain comes, When the waves crash, We don’t even mind. We’ll keep on shelling for our favorite finds. We must be out of…… Our minds.
I love this! Thank you Penny and Denise! You inspired me and made it fun to start sorting my SCALLOPS.