Wild Sanibel continues to be thriving with live creatures showing up in high definition color this week like oodles of these live COQUINAS near Lighthouse Beach.
After a few days of west winds, bunches of Beach Bling washed ashore near the Sanibel fishing pier earlier this week.
We’ve been seeing hundreds of live LINED STARFISH and beautiful purple SEA WHIPS in the water.
There are so many 9 armed MILLIPEDE STARFISH as well…
This was one of the biggest live TRUE TULIPS I’ve seen in a while at low tide. Gorgeous and healthy.
Now this guy was a little bit creepy. Lots of folks gathered around to see the bright orange snake slithering around the exposed concrete slabs in the water at the entrance of the Lighthouse. Since I had never seen this snake before on Sanibel, I texted my naturalist and shelling guide buddy Captain Brian Holaway to see if he knew.
Of course he did! He told me it is a non-venomous MANGROVE SALT MARSH SNAKE (Nerodia clarkia compressicauda). Whew- they aren’t poisonous so I took a minute to snap a few more photos and enjoy looking at how handsome he was.
Just last night, Monica from Ocala found a few striking shells along with the brilliant test of a Purple SEA URCHIN.
Another evening this week Clark saw Maria from Monrovia who found a huge empty HORSE CONCH walking in the water at Bowman’s Beach. Congrats Maria!
I have been so consumed with the living wild creatures, I didn’t see many empty shells… but I’m very happy with one perfect PAPER FIG, a purple SEA URCHIN, 2 juvie FIGHTING CONCHS and a PEAR WHELK.
Join me on a Shelling Adventure! For more information and dates CLICK HERE.
PS- I took a video of some of the live creatures to show you but for some reason in the last few months, it takes forever to download them. Now you know why I haven’t done many videos lately! ugh. When it is done, I’ll post it to Youtube- you can find me here…. https://www.youtube.com/user/pamrambo
A STARFISH can be tumbled by the sea so roughly to lose an arm or two but can pull himself back together by re-growing those broken limbs. They can also endure tidal changes that leave them stranded on the beach with little water at low tide. They are survivors! I watched oodles of these survivor SEA STARS use their TUBE FEET to scoot around the tidal pools and upright themselves after a wave turned them upside down. They even use those TUBE FEET for feeding and breathing so even though they might not look like they are alive, if they are anywhere near the water they have a chance to survive. (OMG That PELICAN photobombed my STARFISH picture! LOL)
I was so amazed by the movement of a couple of these very frisky critters, I took a little video to share the awesomeness. Enjoy the YouTubeFeet video- heehee. [youtube]http://youtu.be/dIUDrS5U3oc[/youtube]
PS- Along with the new cruise schedule I mentioned on my last post, don’t forget we are still on schedule for our super fun get-together on Captiva Cruises.
We have an iLoveShelling boat cruise for shelling on Cayo Costa this Friday June 6, 2014 at 1 pm. Join us!
If the Sanibel SEA LIFE could have talked last evening at low tide, they probably would have been chatting it up about how lovely the evening was and how healthy they were feeling…. just like us.
This LINED STARFISH was raisin’ the roof!
The live LETTERED OLIVES were doin’ the locomotion…
The live AUGERS were gettin’ jiggy with it…
This live BABY’S EAR was jivin’ and slimin’…
The live FIGHTING CONCHS were putting’ up their dukes…
There were hundreds of HERMIT CRABS running around claiming the best shells for their residences.
We even saw quite a few SHARK’S EYE EGG COLLARS brimming with little tiny eggs…
We even saw lots of ONION SEA ANEMONES flowering in the tidal pools…
Hmmmm….I wonder why they call it an “ONION” SEA ANEMONE … heehee
The colors of the night were amazing! This clump of SEA SPONGE was the most brilliant color purple…
A little higher on the beach, I saw that Leah from Georgia found a honey hole of wonderful minis which included lots of WENTLETRAPS.
Leah and her husband Matt were vacationing on Sanibel to celebrate Matt’s 40th birthday.
Finding a few beautiful shells to take home was just icing on the cake. Happy Birthday Matt!
The weather was perfect, the beach was teeming with live creatures and each breath of fresh, salty air made exploring the tidal pools heaven on earth.
This says it all…. 2012 is a gorgeous year on Sanibel. Sanibel’s Lighthouse Beach was no exception yesterday where I met Melissa using PEN SHELLS to make this “sign of the times” (heehee). Her kids Ricki and Mack made perfect models to show off her seashell art.
The beach and parking lots have made a full recovery from Tropical Storm Debby last month. Even the STARFISH are recovering! Days after TS Debby, we saw hundreds of live STARFISH washed up on the beach with most of their arms broken off. See how resilient they are? This one had 4 out of 5 arms broken off (I’m sure from the storm) and all 4 are growing back now trying to match that original long arm on the right of my hand. Cool, huh?
I also saw a live SEA HARE (or SEA SLUG)! It’s always a treat to see these graceful creatures swimming along our shoreline.
I have video of a larger one 2 years ago which shows the purple ink shooting out (CLICK HERE), but this SEA SLUG is much smaller and has little green “horns”. Here’s another quick vid taken in knee deep water near the Sanibel pier.
PS- Oh, and don’t mind that AHH-OOO-GAA noise at the end. One of my best buddies was calling me on my cell phone… that’s her ring tone. It makes me laugh every time! LOL
Walking out on the beach before sunrise is a special feeling. It has an extra special feeling when it is a very low tide of -1.0 AND it’s Christmas weekend.
I thought my eyes hadn’t focused when I took this next photo of Clark. Whatever happened to it (too early in the morning?)… I’m so glad! It came out like a beautiful impressionist painting…
As the sun was rising near the Sanibel lighthouse, the sky turned golden…
We saw lots of live shells and washed up sea life like this poor LINED STARFISH that took a beating but wouldn’t give up despite losing all of its arms. It survived al of the elements and started growing each of its arms back. What a survivor!
And you thought all SEA PORK was ugly, right? Well look again! This one looks just like an orange with its bright orange peel.
My best find was this rich in color nice sized TRUE TULIP…
Clark had the find of the day with this WAY cool tiny shell I have never identified before. It’s a COFFEE BEAN TRIVIA…
We both tried to rub off those brown smudges…HA! Silly us, those brown spots are part of the shell! That would be like trying to rub off the spots off a JUNONIA or SCOTCH BONNET. Silly!
Hmmmm…. whaddaya think? Look like coffee beans to you?
Or…. go little mini HERMIT CRABS! I caught a speedy LINED STARFISH on video at the lighthouse beach last week at low tide making use of the hundreds of legs he has. Do you think Mr. SEA STAR was running after these mini HERMIT CRABS to have a nice little appetizer? They are carnivores so I could have interrupted dinner time- oops!