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Collecting seashells on the beaches of Sanibel, Captiva and the world

Beach Bling Babes

Posted by on Feb 15, 2013 in Blue Crab, Broad Paper Cockle, Crabs, Egg Casing, Lace Murex, Leopard, Skate Egg Case, Stone Crab, whelk egg casing | 19 comments

lace murex juvenile

Now who in their right shelling mind could not think that this little baby LACE MUREX shell is not THE cutest thing that ever washed up at the Sanibel Lighthouse Beach? heehee What a cutie petutie!

I even found smaller baby shells in some of the LIGHTNING WHELK EGG CASES that have been washing up this week…

lightning welk egg chain

Most of the disks were empty but some of them still had tiny dried shells in them…

egg sac whelk

One was torn open so we could see the teeny tiny babies. They only look like grains of sand at this point… or honestly they remind of those little bits when eat corn on the cob. Errrr, Okay, I cant really explain that well so let’s move on and get back to the point… they are tiny LIGHTNING WHELKS!

baby whelks in case

I got to share these little WHELK EGG CHAINS with a couple of gals that came to visit us from Virginia Beach. Kathleen was a good friend of Clark’s over 40 years ago and they haven’t seen each other since. What a hoot to meet Kathleen and her friend Jan and to hear about “the old days” and to catch up on all of our mutual friends while walking the beach…. and to find out they both love shelling!!!

jan clark kathleen

Today, I ran into Roma with a shell bag full of BLING!

roma shell bag

I peeked at her “Bling Bag” and saw all of this…

seashells bling crab bag

Holy Crab! She loves BEACH BLING as much as I do! She was collecting all of these different CRAB claws and shells for her daughter who makes jewelry out of them. There is a HERMIT CRAB CLAW, STONE CRAB CLAWS, BLUE CRAB CLAWS and some LEOPARD BOX CRAB shells. Ha! Love it!

crabs southwest florida

I found one more piece of cool BEACH BLING.. a MERMAID PURSE! Okay, it’s a SKATE EGG CASE but it sure is more fun to think of it as a MERMAID PURSE, right?

skate egg case shark eye

Oh, and I almost forgot to show you my fave shell today… A BROAD PAPER COCKLE. The colors on this sweetie are awwwwwesoooome…

color broad paper cockle

PS- Shellers Unite! There are still a few spots left on the iLoveShelling cruise to Cayo Costa this Sunday the 17th from 9am to noon. Come join me and lots of other spectacsheller folks that love shelling! Call Captiva Cruises to book your shelling spot at 239-472-5300.

For more iLoveShelling Cruise dates and info on the Shellabaloo click on the next image…

iLoveShelling ShellingAdventures

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Beach Bling Is A Wonderful Thing

Posted by on Apr 26, 2012 in Bones, Dosinia, Egg Casing, Flame Box Crab, Horse Conch, Lighthouse, Middle Gulf Drive, Pen Shell, Purple Sea Urchin, Sea Cucumber, Sea Whip, Skate Egg Case, Stone Crab, Turban | 27 comments

beach bling flotsam sanibel gulf

If you want to learn the types of seashells, sea life, vegetation and what the different kinds of mollusk egg cases look like and live in the Gulf Of Mexico, you’ve got your chance this week. It all washed up on the beach on the East end of Sanibel.

beach bling flotsam

You can see it for miles. So many mollusk egg casings and PEN SHELLS galore!

mollusk egg cases Sanibel Florida

MERMAID PURSES! Well, they are really SKATE EGG CASES…

mermaid purse skate egg

HORSE CONCH EGG CASINGS (I shot this with the Nikon J1)…

horse conch mollusk egg case


mollusk egg casings beach

Lots of CRABS too. This one is a STONE CRAB…

stone crab sanibel florida

My friend Jane called me and said she found a dead crab shell on the beach that had a NAUTILUS  shell pattern. She has found a NAUTILUS before so she would know! Wanna see? CLICK HERE . So I went to see this crab…and it does have that pattern! It’s a FLAME BOX CRAB…

box crab jane

I also saw lots of SEA WHIPS. This was the first time I’ve ever found a WHITE SEA WHIP…

white sea whip

We normally just find the purple SEA WHIPS but when I went to see Jane’s FLAME BOX CRAB she showed me this bright yellow WHIP she picked up as well.

purple yellow sea whip

There were oodles of PURPLE SEA URCHINS also ( J1)…

purple sea urchin on seashells

I always get questions about the bones on the beach. They are from the bait in the crab traps… not random dead carcasses. LOL

beach bone flotsam

I also get a lot of questions about this guy on the left. It’s a SEA CUCUMBER…

sea cucumber sanibel

Don’t worry, I saw lots of shells too. Mainly, the double DOSINIAS.

Cyber Sheller Alert! This next photo is really big so you can do a little shelling and blinging…

dosinia sea shells sanibel cybershell

Looking through all this BEACH BLING, there are little treasures that look like this so you have to look closely…

turban horse conch shells

Some goodies were still washing in at the shoreline as well…

scattered shells south florida

The big find was by Seth (FL)! He found this huge HORSE CONCH on the sand bar near Donax Rd. Here he is with Erin and Reese…Erin Seth Reese

See? BEACH BLING is a wonderful thing… (J1)

beach bling flotsam jetsam

PS- Some of you know I’ve been testing a new Nikon J1 camera. It isn’t very spontaneous but when I do catch a nicer shot than with my spontaneous, trusty, easy, clear Panasonic DMC…. I’ve noted it.




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Sanibel Seashell Egg Casings

Posted by on May 18, 2011 in Alphabet Cone, Cone, Horse Conch Egg Casing, Sanibel, Skate Egg Case, Starfish, whelk egg casing | 19 comments

Sanibel beach path

It makes me so happy when Sanibel low tides are in the evenings. It’s my favorite time of day to walk the beach so low tide is such a bonus.

Alphabet cone sky

Finding this ALPHABET CONE was a double bonus! I found it right before dusk on the ledge of this little tidal pool near Donax Street beach access….

aqua sky reflection

There were lots of PEN SHELLS, COCKLES, DOSINIAS and live seashells.

pen shells cockles

I met a first time sheller with all of these (unknowingly) live STARFISH in her bucket. She couldn’t believe she they were still alive since they felt stiff but was very happy to now know to put all SEA STARS back unless they are completely dry. We put them back in the water where they did a little happy dance and started crawling away.

Sanibel sea stars

There were so many EGG CASINGS strung all along the shore line.

egg casings on Sanibel


Tulip Shell egg casing sky

Tulip shell egg case


whelk egg case

I even found a SKATE EGG CASE….

Sanibel skate egg case

An ANGEL WING! Clark found it completely in tact floating in the surf.

Clark angel wing

Jim (MO) found an old, pitted LIGHTNING WHELK full of character.

Jim whelk Sanibel  beach

Sharon (GA) was collecting sea debris of SPONGES, a CRAB SHELL and a SEA URCHIN but she didn’t have a shell bag. She only had her aqua blue flip flops to carry them on. The perfect back drop!

spongy shoe

Talk about a perfect back drop….. My Shelling Sistahs Linda, Anna and Jean in their cute tees with the full moon! This was monday night at the lighthouse where we were still finding lots of minis but not many bigger shells.

Shell tee shirts

I was mesmerized by shellcrafter Jean’s orange bucket swinging against the reflection in the sand of the blue and pink splashed sky.

shells by the seashore

We went to the lighthouse again tonight but I haven’t loaded my photos yet but I gotta tell you, we found some nice shells. Double SUNRAY VENUS CLAMS, PAPER FIGS, CONCHS and much more…. photos and a video to come!

Sanibel shell scoop beach

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Shelling And Birding With Bonnie

Posted by on Feb 11, 2011 in Common Tern, Gulf Side City Beach (Algier's), Laughing Gull, Ring-Billed Gull, Royal Tern, Ruddy Turnstone, Sanibel, Skate Egg Case | 19 comments

Bonnie with skate egg case

Bonnie with skate egg case

When I have a question about birds, I ask my friend Bonnie….. a birder. When we have traveled together, I have seen her (on many occasions) quickly digging binoculars out of her handbag to try to identify a bird in flight. I love that! A couple of years ago on Cape Cod, we both watched a bird doing something funny and I said “Look at the funny sea gull!”. That’s when I learned that there is NOT one bird that has the name of “Sea Gull”. Weird, huh? So she is my go-to-girl when I have a question about a bird.

Ring-billed Gull

Ring-billed Gull

This is not a “Sea Gull” it’s a Ring-billed Gull. I know this now because Bonnie met me on the beach at Gulf Side City Park to teach me about birding. We made a deal …. if I would teach her a little about shelling, she would teach me a little about birding. What a deal!!

Sibley bird book

Sibley bird book

She brought her binoculars and her Sibley Field Guide To Birds book to give me my first lesson on shore birds. So when we saw the Ring-billed Gull, she whipped out the Sibley and flipped to this page to show me this……(click it to enlarge)

Sibley Ring-billed Gull page

Sibley Ring-billed Gull

Then we saw a Ruddy Turnstone….

Ruddy Turnstone

Ruddy Turnstone

Then she quickly turned to this page…but notice how many different changes and colors the Ruddy Turnstone goes through as it matures.

Sibley Ruddy Turnstone

Sibley Ruddy Turnstone page

Then we saw a Laughing Gull.  They really sound like they are laughing when they communicate.

Laughing Gull

Laughing Gull (in the middle of this photo)

Here is the Sibley page for Laughing Gull (again, notice the color changes!)…

Sibley Laughing gull

Sibley Laughing gull page

So when we came across the next bird, Bonnie had to use process of elimination to figure out what bird this was. Notice the reddish color of the inside of the beak, the orange legs and the rest of the coloration.

Common Tern

Common Tern

The conclusion was that this is an adult nonbreeding Common Tern that is in a maturing stage to an adult breeding Common Tern. This was so much fun to figure out! You have to look at every detail of beak, legs and color patterns through the binoculars. It’s a puzzle.

Sibley Common Tern page

Sibley Common Tern page

This is one of my favorites to see on the beach. I love that little spiky hair-do ( okay, it’s really called a shaggy crest) . I think it was extra spiky since the fog was so thick and everything got damp so quickly… so it was even cuter.  This is the Royal Tern…

Royal Tern

Royal Tern

Here are the details…

Sibley Royal tern page

Sibley Royal tern page

See? Birding is so similar to shelling. We identify both of them through patterns, colors, destinations, process of elimination ….and both of these beautiful sites are found by just taking a walk along the beach at any given time of day on Sanibel or Captiva. Here are just a few photos of the shells. I really was so much into the birds, I’m not sure I held up my end of the bargain to teach her about shells. Oops! Well, I’ll have another good reason to get together with Bonnie. :)

Lace Murex in the sand

Lace Murex in the sand

Skate Egg case

Skate Egg case

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“Wash” Bucket

Posted by on Mar 12, 2010 in Driftwood, Lighthouse, Sanibel, Sargassum, Skate Egg Case, Urchin | 6 comments

Beach wash bucket

I saw Judy that lives on the east tip of Sanibel by the Lighthouse and she had this bucket filled with a little of everything she had found from the wash line. It was loaded with SPONGES, DRIFTWOOD, URCHINS and EGG CASINGS.  I asked her what she would do with it and said she was going to add this to her garden. It made me wonder….. sculpture?… fertilizer? ….mulch? I need to stop by her house to see what she’s growing in that garden.

Sargassum, Parchment Worms, Sponges, Urchins and Driftwood at the Lighthouse

Dolphin in the surf

I couldn’t believe how close this dolphin was to the shoreline. He was either playing, enjoying a snack or just giving us a show with 3 of his buddies this afternoon.

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Mermaid’s Purse

Posted by on Dec 27, 2009 in Alphabet Cone, Cone, Horseshoe Crab, Lighthouse, Sanibel, Skate Egg Case, Urchin, West Gulf Drive | 1 comment

Lighthouse treasures

Lighthouse treasures

The lighthouse is continuing to bring in what looks like the bottom of the sea. Clark talked to one of our shelling buddies and they found nine ALPHABET CONES yesterday in the surf all along the east end of Sanibel. Holy smokes! Nine?? Wow!! That says it all. If you are in town, you need to get to the Lighthouse.

Skate Egg Case

Skate Egg Case

It’s like you are walking through a Discovery Channel episode on the beach anywhere on the East End. I used to see these SKATE EGG CASES on the beaches of Virginia Beach and the Carolinas after a storm when I was young. I like to call it a Mermaid’s Purse but some call it a Devil’s Purse or a Devil’s Pocketbook.

Don, Elaine, Dave and Betty (Nova Scotia)

Don, Elaine, Dave and Betty (Nova Scotia)

There are lots of URCHINS and HORSESHOE CRABS and some other fun treasures on West Gulf Drive but not the crazy shelling as at the Lighthouse. I’m still so happy that we stopped to check it out because we met these wonderful two couples from Nova Scotia that travel around North America in their RVs every five years.

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