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

Buckets Of Seashells On Sanibel From Tropical Storm Debby

Posted by on Jun 27, 2012 in Alphabet Cone, Angel Wing, Cone, Fighting Conch, Horse Conch, Junonia, Lightning Whelk, Summer, Sunray Venus, Tropical Storm Debby, True tulip, Tulip, Uncategorized, Whelk | 63 comments

tropical storm debby seashells

 The seashell aftermath on Sanibel left by Tropical Storm Debby was a sight to shellebrate. Seriously… buckets of shells lined the beach surrounding the Sanibel Lighthouse.

shell buckets

Not only were there buckets overflowing with shells, there were shell bags upon shell bags lining the shoreline.

Taylor shell bag

taylor seashell bags

shell bag with angel wings

 Okay, hold on….take a breath before I show you this next photo of the beach next to the Sanibel fishing pier.  There were PEN SHELLS, FIGHTING CONCHS, LIGHTNING WHELKS, BANDED and TRUE TULIPS, HORSE CONCHS and a gazillion MILLIPEDE STARFISH. You ready?

sanibel seashell beach

 Taylor from New York was one of the lucky shellers that found this gorgeous TRUE TULIP and lots of really nice size LIGHTNING WHELKS (4th pic from the top).

Taylor NY true tulip

I couldn’t believe it when Taylor’s mom showed me an ANGELWING  PAIR. Yes! I said “PAIR”! They found it right there near the pier. Awesome!

angelwing pair lighthouse sanibel

 I can’t tell you how much fun it was to meet Jesse from Ormond Beach, FL. He was catching fish AND catching shells!

jesse seashells cones

 He had buckets of shells but these were a few of his best finds of the morning… 2 awesome ALPHABET CONES, a deep orange TRUE TULIP and I hope you can tell how unusually orange his LIGHTNING WHELK is.

jesse seashells sanibel pier

 Jesse was shelling with his beautiful family who all found unbelievable treasures- Chris, Jamie, Jordyn, Patty, Jeese and Jake.

beach family jesse

 Eddie from Orlando, FL had lots of seashell loot as well…

eddie orlando to sanibel beach

 He found this stunning SUNRAY VENUS along with LIGHTNING WHELKS and collected ATLANTIC GIANT COCKLES as well.

sunray venus, whelks sanibel

There were seashells everywhere!  Sarah Elizabeth found this beautiful LIGHTNING WHELK in high tide line among the tree roots…

sarah elizabeth alabama whelk sanibel

 Ilicia (GA) wasn’t just collecting shells, she had her eye on the BEACH BLING as well. She found this very cool vertebrae from some kind of marine animal.

ilicia GA sanibel bone

 Here’s a closer look in case you might know which marine animal it came from. Cool, huh?

fish vertebrae found sanibel

And Ilicia found a piece of a SEA TURTLE SHELL …

sea turtle shell shard

 I told you she was collecting shell too, right? Yep, she found a SCOTCH BONNET…

scotch bonnet ilicia SANIBEL

 I found Michael from Melbourne, Florida plopped down at the water’s edge filling his bag with ANGELWINGS and SANIBEL SIX shells.

michael melbourne florida seashells sanibel

 After Tropical Storm Debby churned the Gulf Of Mexico for 4 days, Cara from Georgia couldn’t have been happier to have been on Sanibel to reap the shelling rewards of Mother Nature.

cara ga seashell bucket

As she was hauling her buckets of seashell gold, she told me she had found a beat up JUNONIA. I had to see it. Even though it’s a little rough around the edges, it’s still a beautiful keeper- Congrats! Oh, and btw, I gotta get me some of that cute nail polish too!

cara old junonia sanibel

 My shelling buddy Jane found a nice HORSIE CONCH and a LIGHTNING WHELK…

jane whelk horsie

 Wanna see my best finds? There were gazillions of LIGHTNING WHELKS everywhere and oodles of LIVE HORSE CONCHS but I finally found a huge empty HORSIE and a pretty good size WHELK. Oh yay a, baby! It was sure worth the wait. Thanks Debby!

horse conch sanibel ts debby


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Bunch Of Bling At Bunche Beach

Posted by on Jun 14, 2012 in American Oystercatcher, Angel Wing, King's Crown, Kings Crown egg case, Minor Jackknife Clam, Rose Tellin, Shark's Eye, Sunray Venus | 52 comments

Lizbeth angel wings

Me and my blog buddy Lizbeth sloshed around the sand flats at Bunche Beach yesterday looking for ANGEL WINGS. She found about 30 single valves earlier in the week so she wanted to go back to try to find a pair.

angel wings bunche

We found a few more single valves but nope… no pairs like MurexKen and MurexAlice found in November 2010. I think any day you can find one ANGEL WING is a good day but I know she will find a pair some day. She is determined! Did you notice that sweet little ROSE PETAL TELLIN in the photo too? Well, we found quite a few of those too. Here’s my stash…

rose petal tellins bunche

We also found a few MINOR JACKKNIFE CLAMS…

minor jackknife clam

minor jackknife clam

We found more TELLINS too. These look like orange  ROSE PETAL TELLINS (they are the same size) but they also could be CONSTRICTED MACOMA TELLINS. I’ve got a few feelers out there to see if anybody can correctly identify them. So hang on…

telling look like dreamsicle

I know that just looks like “goo” on the inside but it’s really the color of the shell. It looks like it was stained, right? I hope to know soon what they are other than what I’ve been calling them… Dreamsicle Tellins.

UPDATE 6/16: Okay, got a positive identification from Dr Jose Leal from the Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum…. it IS a ROSE PETAL TELLIN. Thanks Doc! (but I still think I might call it a Dreamsicle Rose Petal Tellin)

orange tellin seashell

There were also oodles of SUNRAY VENUS CLAMS…

sunray venus buried

Lizbeth found this gorgeous SHARK EYE! Okay, I’ve always called any shell that looks like this a “SHARK’S EYE” but this is actually a FALSE SHARK EYE…

false shark eye

Look at the side view…

false shark eye side

It’s actually a different shell that the ones we find with a rounded top. Susan H showed me this difference last year then commented on a previous post

“Hey Pam. As you probably noticed, that shark’s eye is the “other” species, the high-spired more southerly one that has a much more restricted range, Neverita delessertiana, rather than the low-spired regular shark’s eye which occurs from Massachusetts south, Neverita duplicata. Cool.”

You know I don’t like to get too technical so I took a photo with the two different species side by side so you can see the difference. The one on the right is a Neverita duplicate (SHARK EYE) and the one on the left is a Neverita delessertiana (I’ve see it called a FALSE SHARK EYE). See the difference? I think we should just call the one on the left a SHARK’S POPEYE. LOL

difference Neverita duplicata delessertiana

And how I loved seeing this next creature! It’s a live KINGS CROWN laying eggs! Go Momma! Make more babies!

kings crown laying eggs

Look at the brilliant orange beak on this bird. It’s an AMERICAN OYSTERCATCHER…

American Oystercatcher Fort Myers Florida

I had a wonderful day hanging out with Lizbeth- the girl had my sides splitting ROTFL (I know, I’m not much for those acronyms but they really do explain it sometimes) while we hunted for her WINGS. Good luck in finding your pair!

Bunche Beach Fort Myers Florida

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Captiva Cruises Boat To Cayo Costa

Posted by on Apr 13, 2012 in Albino Cockle, Albino Shells, Atlantic Giant, Baby's Ear, Bryozoa, Cancellate Semele, Captiva Cruises, Cayo Costa, Cloudy Periwinkle, Coral, Day Trips From Sanibel Island Florida & More, Dolphin, False Angel Wing, Jingle, Leopard, Mussel, Periwinkles, Purplish Semele, Semele, Southern Ribbed Mussul, Sunray Venus, Yellow Prickly Cockle | 17 comments

cayo costa south west florida

Another Spring Break adventure! On Wednesday, Lori, Hayley, Culter and I went to the secluded island of Cayo Costa to relax and enjoy another gorgeous day on the islands.captiva cruises sign

I had problems getting out our own boat  (Clark was busy at work so he couldn’t help) so we decided to take the easy route and hop on the Captiva Cruises shelling boat Play Time for the afternoon trip.

play time captiva boat

Low and behold, guess who our captain was… my buddy Captain Brian Holaway! It was a nice surprise!

captain brian

After securing the boat on the south tip of Cayo Costa, Capt Brian walked over to our shelling spot to join us for a few minutes and immediately picked up an ALBINO YELLOW PRICKLY COCKLE. Wow, can he spot those albinos! Remember he won a red ribbon for his ALBINO WHELK at the Sanibel Shell Show this year? Amazing!

albino cockle

 I didn’t find an albino but I quickly found a handful of my own fave honeys.

angel wings baby ears

BABY’S EARS and FALSE ANGEL WINGS (they look like cute little juvie ANGEL WINGS)…

babys ears false angel wings

 Lots of beauteous JINGLES…

jingle seashells


cloudy periwinkle

cloudy periwikles

 I also found a PURPLISH SEMELE (left) and a CANCELLATE SEMELE (right). I’m not sure why I don’t find more of these on Sanibel but I have better luck finding them on Cayo Costa, North Captiva and in Marco. hmmmm

purplish and cancellate semele

I had thought at one time that this BRYOZOAN COLONY was a type of CORAL but as you can see side by side… it’s not a piece of CORAL like the branch on the right. I found both of these past the tree roots on the Gulf side of the beach. (click HERE for more info on Bryozoan Colony)

bryozoa coral difference

Okay, this one might not be your taste but I thought this SOUTHERN RIBBED MUSSEL was just so pretty for some reason. One day, when I get a fancy camera to show you the nice details up close and personal, I promise…I’ll be able to capture more of the beauty in some of these obscure seashells.

southern ribbd mussel

 After combing, sunning and shelling this gorgeous beach, Hayley, Cutler and Lori (VA) headed back to the boat with me after one more climb on the BLACK MANGROVE tree roots.

hayley cutler lori cayo costa

On the boat ride back, I couldn’t help but see how excited Margie, Kristi and Mike (California) were about their seashell loot!

margie kristi mike california

 They found oodles of ATLANTIC GIANT COCKLES…

shells cayo costa south florida

 Quite a few humongus SUNRAY VENUS CLAMS…

sunray venus cayo costa

 And a really big LEOPARD CRAB shell.

leopard crab cayo costa

 It was a perfect day on the water with calm aqua seas, warm temps in the 80s and DOLPHINS surrounding the boat.

dolphin captiva cruises boat

And to top if off, it was great being with good friends and having lots of seashell souvenirs to bring home to remember the day.

seashells cayo costa


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The Sanibel Captiva Shell Report

Posted by on May 21, 2011 in Blind Pass, Blue Heron, Crucifix Shell, Paper Fig, Sanibel, Sunray Venus | 29 comments

Sanibel Great Blue Heron Bird

Captiva Great Blue Heron

I’ve got good news and bad news. The good news is that I’m catching you up on the good shelling from the week and if you are coming to visit, there are still shells at Blind Pass (Sanibel and Captiva), minis at the lighthouse and just west of the lighthouse we’ve been finding lots of other shells that I’ll show you.

Brianne Kelly shell collecting

Brianne and Kelly shell collecting

Brianne and her mom Kelly (AZ) were at the lighthouse  beach finding SCALLOPS, WHELKS and CONCHS but the most unusual find for Kelly was part of a CRUCIFIX SHELL. It brings good luck!

crucifix shell half

Kelly's crucifix shell

They also found some beautiful PAPER FIGS in the low tide pools…

Paper fig Sanibel shell

Paper fig

You’ve got to do The Sanibel Stoop to be able to spot good ones in the tidal pools.

Sanibel Stoop at dusk

Sanibel Stoop at dusk

The Stoopin found her this one….a double SUNRAY VENUS!

Sunray Venus clam shell Kelly

Kelly's Sunray Venus

Brianne was finally able to find and hold a live STARFISH for a minute or two to admire it before she safely put it back in the water.

star fish gazing

Brianne starfish gazing

After talking to Liz and Sergio (central FL) while they were admiring a live SAND DOLLAR , Liz told me she was a record holder for the largest ALBINO LIGHTNING WHELK and received a Best In Show award at a Florida shell show. She found it at Lover’s Key about 10 years ago. Dang it! I forgot to write down how big it was so maybe she’ll comment and let us know.

sand dollar Sanibel Island

Liz and Sergio (FL)

As we were walking west from the lighthouse the tidal pool got wider and wider for us to see live creatures and empty shells as well. This is Katie from Houston without a shell bag but making due by lining her treasures on her arm like a shelf…

Katie arm shells Sanibel

Katie (TX)

Katie's Sanibel shells

Katie's shells

This area (around the Seaside Inn) was about where I found the live SHARK’S EYE I showed a video of yesterday. If you didn’t see the video, it’s a cool one you don’t want to miss so CLICK HERE.

Tidal pool Sanibel Island

Tidal pool Sanibel Island

To catch you up on Captiva’s Blind Pass, I stopped there on Thursday to find…. ahhhhh- such beautiful calm, aqua water with a pile of shells by the jetty.

Captiva aqua water shells

Captiva aqua water

Sharon (Orlando, FL) was having a great time replenishing her shell collection since she just used most of her shells….. this is so sweet….. to decorate for her wedding last week. She is on her honeymoon!

Sharon Sanibel shell bucket

Sharon (FL)

She was happy as a clam finding ….well finding CLAMS…and SCALLOPS….and CONCHS….and this COLORFUL MOON SHELL.

Colorful moon shell aqua

Colorful moon shell

With all this happiness, I don’t even want to give you the bad news. It’s just that my little Smittie the Kitty is sick again so that’s why I haven’t been keeping up with getting out all the shelling news too timely. I think she’s going to be okay now… oh it’s too much info to go into …but she’ll be a RadioCat next month- and that’s some good news!

Smittie the kitty with shells

Smittie the pretty kitty

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My Family Visits The Island

Posted by on Apr 18, 2011 in Alternate Tellin, Blind Pass, Bubble shell, Button, Cockle, Cowrie, Deer Cowrie, Junonia, Sanibel, Scotch Bonnet, Shell Scoops, Sunray Venus, Tellin, Wentletrap | 20 comments

finding seashells

It couldn’t have been a more perfect weekend. The sun was shining, temps in the 80s, low humidity, shells in the surf….. and the very best part….. my family came to visit!!!

my family shelling

Greg and Tee!

My brother and I grew up spending our summers on the beach at Sandbridge in Virginia Beach and vacationing on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. The beach is in our blood so it’s a good thing we both found spouses that have that sand running through their blood too. My sister-in-law (the best a sister could ask for!) is all about the beach too so the first thing after the whole gang got here …..  we hit the beach.

Sanibel squat

Becky finding minis

Our friend Becky (and part of the family) was the first one to find out how glorious the miniature shell finds can be.

seashells handful

She found oodles of WENTLETRAPS, BUTTONS and BUBBLES scattered all along the Lighthouse beach on Saturday.

My Men shelling

Clark and Greg in the shelling zone scooping up the mini shells.

miniature seashell pile virtual shelling

This was exactly how one pile from their scooper looked after Clark or Greg dumped it on the beach for us to sift through. Go ahead, click on the photo above for some virtual shelling! How many WENTLETRAPS did you find?

I see seashells

My cutie niece Kelly spying some seashells too. I miss her already.

Virtual miniature shelling

This was a mixed bag of minis after getting rinsed at home . Click on that photo too- you’ll love this virtual shelling too!

seashells sailboats

On Sunday we started the day on the Captiva side at Blind Pass and Becky was thrilled with sittin’ and siftin’ in the shell pile by the jetty.

Junonia inside

Looky what I found! Dang! It’s not a whole JUNONIA but I’ll take it. This was good but it wasn’t even the best “part” of a shell found. Look what Clark found…..

Deer Cowrie piece

A piece of a DEER COWRIE! This seashell isn’t even native to our area but last week I showed another piece that Donnie found on my post last week and a whole one February 15.

Blind Pass seashells

We walked over the bridge to the Sanibel side of Blind Pass and saw lots of new shells washing up. I can’t believe what Clark plucked out of the water near the pilings of the bridge….

Scotch bonnet under bridge

A SCOTCH BONNET! The man is a Super Sheller!

cracked scotch bonnet

Okay, it was cracked on the other side ….but still! Since I found part of a JUNONIA too, all we needed to complete the Elite Three was to find a LION”S PAW. Would the DEER COWRIE count? ;)

Alternate tellin

He also found this ALTERNATE TELLIN and …

Sunray venus BP

This beautiful SUNRAY VENUS.

Two scoops of seashells

Greg tried two scoops of seashells to better his chances. LOL

Sanibel squatter

Tee’s in the shelling zone too.

mom daughter Captiva beach

Becky and her daughter (and Kelly’s best friend) Maddy.  Do they still say “BFF”…or was so last year?

Sanibel seashells

There were plenty of COCKLES, FIGHTING CONCHS, WHELKS, MUREXES and DOSINIAS along with so many other shells to take home with them. Shelling Success for the family!

Sanibel Biking

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Southwest Winds Bring Seashells To Sanibel

Posted by on Mar 30, 2011 in Crucifix Shell, Lightning Whelk, Sanibel, Sea Cucumber, Sunray Venus, True tulip | 15 comments

crown conch sanibel beach

Kings crown conch

I’ve had a little dry spell finding mid size shells lately but today…. The shells are back! Yippee! We had nice southwest winds the past few days and now the shells at the lighthouse beach on the pier side have started rolling in, baby.

Crucifix shell Sanibel beach

Crucifix shell near the pier

I knew it was gonna be a good day today since I found a CRUCIFIX SHELL (which is really not a shell- click HERE or on the name for more info). It’s a good luck charm!

True Tulip seashell lighthouse

Beautiful True Tulip

It’s a great day when you find a KINGS CROWN and a red TRUE TULIP!

Sunray venus clam Sanibel lighthouse

Sunray venus clam

I saw quite a few pairs of SUNRAY VINUS CLAMS that were still together. Lucky again!

Lightning whelk Sanibel lighthouse

Lightning whelk

This gorgeous LIGHTNING WHELK rolled up on the beach just waiting to be picked up by a lucky sheller.

Family on Sanibel beach

Jim, James, Katie and Connie (MI)

This was a lucky shelling family enjoying gulf treasures washing up with every handful. They were having a blast! And me too!

Sanibel seashells strainer

Jim and Connie's fabulous finds

Check out those beauties. Okay, I know you didn’t miss that butterscotch yellow TRUE TULIP sittin’ pretty in the middle of all those other shellicious shells, did you?

Sanibel boy sea cucumber

James with a sea cucumber

In with the shells, came live SEA CUCUMBERS, STARFISH and a few SEA URCHINS. James was a good sheller and gently returned this live sea critter to the water to help it survive. What a cutie!

seashells from sanibel

My shells from today

I’m sure you can identify most of these shells but I’m especially tickled by the bright orange CHESTNUT TURBAN and the little candy HORSE CONCH. There is another shell I’m also pretty tickled with but it’s broken. It is the second one down on the right side…….it’s a CARRIER SHELL! I didn’t get a good shot of it so maybe I’ll show you tomorrow if I can get a good picture. Don’t know all the other names all of the shells above? Try looking at my SEASHELL IDENTIFICATION page. Good luck ….. Tag! You’re it! I’ve now passed my good luck from finding that CRUCIFIX SHELL today on to you. Have fun.

Finding seashells on Sanibel

I can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings.

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