Great Beach combing! We had such a fun weekend on Sanibel with Lee and Susan finding perfectly dried MILLIPEDE SEA STARS (aka NINE-ARMED SEA STARS) at Gulfside City Park beach…
There are still so many STARFISH, FIGHTING CONCHS and other bling on the beach left over from the storms I showed you from my video last week (CLICK HERE). Now there are STARFISH in the high wrack lines that are dried out and shells without any critters in them. It was like the perfect storm with variable conditions to make all this happen… it is mating season for FIGHTING CONCHS and HORSE CONCHS (so they were already out in masses in the shallow waters), we had days (actually weeks) of unseasonably high winds, high rough water (which washed all of those shells up high on the beach), crazy cold unseasonable temperatures (live creatures feel lethargic), then the receding gulf water after the storms calmed, then coupled with extreme low tides… this is how many of these shells were stranded high on the beach.
Looking through some of them, we all found abshellutley gorgeous empty fighting conchs with bright purple apertures. They are a-mazing and seriously, they have this color opening!!!
We also ran over to Blind Pass Captiva and found a few goodies like some “Candy”…
Oooooh, and look at Clark’s nice sized candy.
Tom and Janet from NY (too shy for pics ;)) cleaned up with a bucket full of beauties on the new sand bar on the pass side of the jetty rocks.
If you remember, we visited Lee and Susan a couple of time when they lived in Guantanamo Bay, Cubaand found some amazing shells. Over the weekend, Lee was asked to be a speaker to share his shell collecting experiences in that part of Cuba at the 2016 Florida United Malacologists meeting at the Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum while they were here visiting. He did such a great job!
Since Guantanamo Bay isn’t a place that most people get to visit, he described their shelling days of “life on the rock” with a fabulous slide presentation and brought examples of the shells they found in GTMO. He made it fun for us to go to our first “FUM” meeting.
Thank you Colin, Rodger and Dr Leal (pictured with us) for organizing the event and for encouraging us to come.
So after seeing Lee’s presentation and reminiscing about our visits to GTMO, I had to look at my blog posts again to take a trip down memory lane. It’s still so unbelievable we got to go there (thanks again Lee and Susan) you’ve got to check out our trips again too – just CLICK HERE . I really laughed out loud looking at one of my videos from the trip- I kept calling them “rocks” haha … it was actually a beach full of CORAL chunks but I guess I was so overwhelmed it all just felt like I was picking through a huge pile of rocks. Do you think I was a little excited???
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.
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 Debbylast 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?