I first met Susan (NY) on this gigantic shell pile a couple of weeks ago about a mile east of Bowman’s Beach. If you have ever read some of the comments here, you might recognize the commenter “Susan H”. That’s her! She loves everything about seashells. She loves to collect, study, research, admire and talk about shells. IMHO (in my humble opinion) she’s a Seashell Brainiac. She even donates her time to share her knowledge of gastropods and bivalves to make Wikipedia what it is now. She’s a Wikipedian with over 60,000 edits! The amazing thing was, is that she offered to sort and organize my bivalves. I thought to myself “Oh, Honey, you have no idea what you just got yourself into!”
You might know that I’ve only recently acquired the taste for collecting bivalves other than ANGEL WINGS and a select few. So just this past year when I saw a bivalve that I never noticed before, I’d pick it up and throw it in the “bivalve jar” and lump them all together. Before I knew it, I had lots of those jars but no time to sort them or to find out what I had. Susan persuaded me to bring those jars over to her cottage at Blue Dolphin to sort and identify anything I had questions about.
She told me to bring paper, scissors, ziplock bags and a pencil to organize and ID. She cut the paper in little squares then got to work quickly sorting. She also had told me to bring my new bivalve book (her fave too) Seashells of Southern Florida by Paula Mikkelsen & Rudiger Bieler that I showed you in yesterday’s post – the gift from MurexKen and MurexAlice!.
Now this is where the story gets really COOL…. Susan told me that she has been a volunteer at the American Museum of Natural History in New York since 2000. During the time when Paula Mikkelsen (one of the authors of my new bivalve book) was still at the Museum, she worked directly for her for about 9 months, and sorted shells for her. She met Rudiger (the other author) on his visits to the Museum working with Paula. Susan is actually listed (with her last name misspelled as “Hewett” instead of “Hewitt”) in the acknowledgements section of that book on page 410. To me, that’s so cool- I was having a ball!!!
Most of the bivalves I had in the jars were ROUGH SCALLOPS, CALICO SCALLOPS, BUTTERCUP LUCINES, COMMON JINGLES and the other shells you saw in the second photo. I was so happy when I heard her voice get a little excited when she found something other than the common shells. “Oh look, here’s a BEAUTIFUL CRASSATELLA!”
She didn’t mind at all this BROAD PAPER COCKLE had a chip in it. She was still excited to see it.
I don’t pick up many broken shells any more but when I find shells that I don’t normally see on the beaches of Sanibel, I’m so glad that now I pick them up. This is a CANCELLATE SEMELE…
This one isn’t very attractive but now I know it’s an ATLANTIC SEMELE…
Clark always laughs at me when I pick up a shell like this CHALKY BUTTERCUP LUCINE. It’s just big and white and not very pretty but I thought it looked like a gigantic BUTTERCUP that lost its yellow inside. I was sort of right…it’s the same family! Susan said the same thing “Oh look! A CHALKY BUTTERCUP! I found one of these the other day too!”. LOL Really? Someone else who gets excited about a CHALKY BUTTERCUP?
I have more identifications to show you but I have to wait until after Christmas. I couldn’t wait to share some it and to introduce you to Susan. It was like another fabulous Christmas present to have a “pro” like her help sort and identify my jumbled shells while we laughed and giggled. Thank you so much Susan!!
Happy, Happy Holidays to all of you!!
PS- I can’t tell you how many times I have linked a post to WIKIPEDIA to provide more information about a certain subject. I looked back on several of them, and sure enough, Susan had done some editing on the information (her user name is Invertzoo). After learning how many volunteers it takes to make that sight possible, I made a donation. If you ever find Wikipedia useful and want to make a donation or add content that you know about, you can click on this logo…
How fun! I have a shell topiary I made with all white shells and a lot of them are chalky buttercups, and it’s beautiful. IMHO, all shells are beautiful, no matter what color. :)
How exciting! I am really jealous –as usual!
What a fun way to spend the day!! You just never know what a random meeting on Sanibel is going to blossom in to.
What a great story!! I loved it! I’ve just recently signed up for your updates because I am making my first to Sanibel in January and a friend in Lakeland sent me your website. I have to say I am definitely not a shell guru and have no idea what you are talking about when it comes to shells (they all look the same to me right now), but I so look forward to your updates and find myself so intrigued. I never knew there were so many shells! Thanks for this great blog and website.
I need more books…lol.
Thanks for sharing.
Having a chance to sort with Susan is like a dream come true. To others it would be like mingling with royalty, attending an opening with a Hollywood star, or playing a pickup game with a professional athlete. Totally awesome.
What a fun story Pam! Thanks for sharing. :-)
Between MK & Susan you are amassing quite the panel of experts. Christmas blessings to you & Clark. xo
Wow I ‘ve chills! That looks like so much fun!!
I have slowly collected several of the paper cockles along Barefoot and the 10 Spot. It took me a minute to figure out what those beautiful multicolored fagile little beauties are! Thank you for verifiying thats what they are! If I ever have a shelling question…this is where I come!
How fun! I’m just so fascinated by all of the different shells too. I love to study and learn about them also. I’ll bet that was a wonderful afternoon. I’m going to have to put the book on my wishlist!!
Merry Christmas! Enjoy this warm weather we are having here in FL. I’ll be headed to the beach for the day up here near Tampa but, as always,would rather be at Sanibel!
I love it when things happen like this:) It is all good. Happy Holidays! Capt. Brian
Nice, I would have liked to have been there. I’m up in the mountains right now, sitting in our shell/Florida room. At the moment there are multiple Bailey’s paper sacks and cardboard boxes filled with shells from southern visits this year. They are already presorted in various baggies and containers, done while on the road. Now they wait. After the holidays are gone and deep winter is here, Tina and I will spend countless evenings sorting, cleaning, making second cuts, organizing and storing, revamping displays and creating a little arts and crafts fun. But the coolest thing of all will be the phenomena of “finding that shell” again while the sorting is going on.
It is so cool you save up for winter “shelling”! Hope you find a few new shells to identify like I did!
Pam – As always your blog entries are just the best! You and Susan must have been mermaid shelling sistas in a previous life – lol! In the spirit of the season of gift giving I just have to tell you Pam your blog is like receiving a present all year long. When checking my email I often skip over the ILS entry to save it for later when I will really be able to enjoy opening it & other days I just tear into it immediately. In return I would like to share this gift from nature with you and any readers too. Go to Google type in “albino hummingbird photo” then click on the one from animal.discovery.com – “Rare Albino Hummingbirds” and then tell me which bi-valve these birds remind you of!!! Our world is so full of natural wonders and dear Pam you are one of them! May you and Clark enjoy a very Merry Christmas and a Happy & Healthy New Year!
Debbie, so sweet you are! And you are right, the hummingbird wings look just like angel wings! So beautiful! Thank you for sharing. Merry Christmas!
Hi Pam and shelling zealots (like me). You were right on about donating to Wikipedia. It is a volunteer effort and an invaluable and reliable resource for all of us. They need the funds to help keep this available to the public. Check them out and give them a buck or two. Happy holidays everyone.
Sue Bunkin from PA.
Thanks to those people who gave a donation to Wikipedia, and to everyone who uses it. Also I wanted to remind everyone that Wikipedia is not only “The free encyclopedia” but it is also “The encyclopedia that ANYONE can edit”. So, if you see that something needs correcting, or a fact needs adding, please go ahead and click on the “edit” button at the top of (every) Wikipedia page and then fix stuff or add something, then hit the save button, and then: thank you for your efforts! Your changes will go live immediately.
Best wishes and Happy Holidays to all!
Thank you for the great info. We just returned to TX from a visit to my hometown, Pensacola, Fl, and have been trying to id some of our treasures. We had a very lucky few days of collecting and appreciate your blog.
Pam, I can’t believe that somehow I missed this post. When we are in Sanibel we always stay at the Blue Dolphin. Seeing you and Susan sitting at the table in the kitchen transported me to the cottages. I’ve spent more hours than I want to admit in cleaning, sorting, and packing shells on those tables (and on the floor, and out back on the built-in ledges, and out front on the deck.) Perhaps I will be lucky enough to meet Susan on one of our future visits.
Hi,I have a sea shell I found at myrtle Beach, I don’t know what it is l look it up can not find nothing on this shells how can I send you a picture of it.