It’s not unusual to see COWNOSE RAYS swimming along Sanibel’s shoreline… but this was the first time we witnessed a beautiful SPOTTED EAGLE RAY surfing along the coast near shore today. I got him on video so you can see too! We saw this guy half way between Blind Pass and Bowman’s Beach while participating in the 2012 Coastal Cleanup organized by SCCF. It was really fun but I’ll show you photos of that later since I can’t wait another minute to show you Spot, The Sanibel SPOTTED EAGLE RAY. See Spot swim!
Okay, I know… I’ve gotten lots of requests for more cyber shelling so to hold yall over, we saw this on our walk today…. find as many as you can!
This was so spectacular..thanks for sharing this video! My husband John&I LOVE sanibel&this site just amazes us with each post… we are in awe of all your posts Pam.you are very gifted&we love your talented photography!!
Wowee Zowee! He/she sure has a super long tail! Awesome footage, Pam. They are fascinating sea creatures. So graceful in the water. Kinda spooky too. Are they dangerous in any way with those long tails?
Thanks for the vid…great as usual.
It is a sting ray, but the Spotted Eagle Ray is extremely shy of people, and so therefore even scuba divers usually can’t get anywhere close to these beautiful creatures.
Pam, you movies with the soundtracks and statements are awesome. The make the movie so much better like and adventuire movie. keep it up GIRL. How do you add music and text to the movies?
Thank You for sharing the video of the Spotted Eagle Ray! It’s beautiful! I can’t wait to get there…in less than a month! Can’t wait to do some REAL shelling! Maybe we’ll see you there!
Thanks for the cyber shelling pics! I love them! Hopefully I will get to go shelling in person one day :)
The eagle ray is lovely…so graceful and elegant. I love the cyber-shelling!…I spotted so many beautiful shells there! It always makes me smile. Many thanks.
Wow… That is so cool! Eagle ray… Anyway, just a question. Is it really that easy to pick up shells in sanibel because I have never been there and from your blog post, it really seems like every shelling visit yields something beautiful! I mean, I have never been to a beach that has so many shells at one place! :)
Hi Joash, hope you don’t mind if I answer this?
For people who like beach shells, Sanibel is one of the world’s great shelling destinations. Some people say it’s one of the top three shelling destinations in the world.
That being said, I should explain that you are NOT allowed to take live shells or live hermit crabs etc there, but you are allowed to take the dead empty beach drift shells. And usually there are really a lot, a lot, a lot of shells.
Pam has said that sometimes it happens that there is a day when you can’t find a single shell on any of the beaches, which is hard for me to imagine, but most of the time there are plenty… more shells than you can imagine.
None of the beaches there are really great for shells ALL of the time. The island is 16 miles long, and often you have to drive and try different beaches, from one end of the island to the other, to find out where the most interesting shells are rolling up at any given time.
Plus, many of the super shells you see on Pam’s blog are the “Best of the Best”, and are the result of countless hours of stooping and sifting, often carried out by people who really know what they are doing! Needless to say, people who actually live on the island and who have a fair bit of free time as well as a keen interest, are likely to do well. :)
Also, the shells you are seeing on Pam’s blog recently are the aftermath of heavy wave action from a major Tropical Storm. After a big storm (or even a small storm) you get especially good shelling, more shells than usual and also often you get some more interesting shells than usual.
Sanibel is not full tropical, it is subtropical, so the fauna is relatively large and varied, but not as varied as it would be in the tropics.
Wow… Thanks so much for the info! :) Maybe someday I should really visit sanibel and meet all of you! :) Really have a lot to learn. :) Yup, no taking live shells. We don’t really have a ruling that prohibits that over here but I keep that as a personal rule. :) ( although I did take home a shell with a hermit crab inside by ACCIDENT! Really felt guilty after that… ) Well… We do have a great variety of shells here but they are so hard to find! There are plenty of instances when I return empty handed so I really envy you guys! :) sanibel is really a wonderful place. Thanks so much again for your help! :)
You are very welcome Joash. I live in NYC. Most of us live somewhere other than Sanibel, but I think nearly all of us wish we lived there! :)
I think many of us have accidentally taken home a hermit-crabbed shell. If you are staying near the beach however, it’s easy enough to take that shell back. I try to dump my shells into a bowl of freshwater as soon as I can, and then after a minute or two if you have any hermit crabs in there, you will hear them climbing about.
One time when I lived in San Diego, in Mission Bay I picked up a really big moon snail shell that seemed to be completely empty, but when I got it home and rinsed it out, a tiny octopus came leaping out! Fortunately I had an empty saltwater aquarium already set up, so I could put it in there. After a while of observing it, I put the little octopus back in the bay.
Your videos are always entertaining! Thanks for the cyber-shelling. That’ll hold me over for a few days.
The ray is beautiful!
Now, about the shells……could you just scoop some up and send me a 5lb box to hunt through?!! lol
Ha ha! Great idea!
Pam, thank you for your beautiful video. Is there a certain time of year that the rays appear more than others? Just curious.
Love the beautiful eagle ray. I immediately spotted 2 hermit crabs in the shell pile without zooming in. Guess I still have my “shelling eyes”, huh?
Thank you for fantastic videos and cyber shelling. I was just there in July but could go again tomorrow!
Love your cyber shelling!
So awesome! Can’t wait until I am down in December, then again in January.
Thanks for the video of the ray — it was great! I especially like the “credits” at the end — very clever and fun to read!!
Terriffic video. Spectacular critter. But, I especially love the creativity in the credits at the end.
What a wonderful thing to enjoy!
Thanks for everything you do. We appreciate you so much!
the spotted eagle ray looks like a stingray wearing a leopard print bathing suit! He/she is lovely!
ha ha Fran! You are right!
Wow Pam, that is so great and so beautiful! :) You are lucky to see one of these guys because the Spotted Eagle ray is getting to be rather rare. They get really big. I can’t really tell how big this one was?
For people who want more info, here is the Wikipedia article on this species:
Yes, and thanks Susan, the link I provided in this post (bolded and highlighted) from Florida Museum Of Natural History (http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/fish/Gallery/Descript/SERay/SERay.html) has really incredible photos of every angle of the ray and quite interesting facts as well.
Ooo yes, I missed that, so many great photographs in that link! What an amazing creature and what a great “face” it has!
So, how big was this ray Pam? Roughly?
This is sooo cool! At the Toledo Zoo Aquarium I saw a black ray with white spots- it was beautiful!
Probably was the same kind as this. Apparently they are a popular item to put on show in a big aquarium. :)
Look at all those Conch shells! OMG!
Pam, nice video of the eagle ray. While snorkeling/scuba diving Murex Alice and I have seen a number of the rays in the Florida Keys. They are beautiful to watch under the water. Their swimming is so graceful. They just seem to float, slowly and effortlessly in the water, at least until they get frightened. Then they move pretty fast. In the water I certainly keep my distance from them, but they have come as close as ten feet from me. Since I am usually looking for shells, I often do not notice them until I see movement out of the corner of my eye, and by that time they are already moving away from me. This past summer I did find a dental plate of a ray. We also see them jumping out of the water a fair amount, especially in relatively shallow water. Whether this is playful behavior, an attempt to escape a predator or something else is difficult to say. Perhaps there are many reasons for this behavior. In any case, several years ago a women was killed on a boat in the water off Marathon when a ray jumped into a boat and hit her. http://www.nowpublic.com/world/florida-woman-killed-freak-sting-ray-incident-1 Talk about being in the wrong place at the wrong time! Since sharks feed on rays, especially when the rays are mating or having their young, I tend to stay away from the rays for many reasons.
You are so lucky to have seen this eagle ray. It is gorgeous!
Hi Pam, This is what I love about Sanibel. You never know what you will see. In Feb. 2012 a school of bait fish swarmed between the sandbar and shore and the first day it was loaded with sharks, the second it was loaded with Rays and the third it was full of dolphin. What an exciting place you live in. Glad to hear about the clean-up. I always advise new shellers to carry two bags, one for shells and the other for trash. MEM
Spotted Eagle Ray! My favorite. I actually hand fed them here on the east coast of Florida. Took a little time but it was so worth it. They loved squid. But they are very shy.
You are so clever!! Love the vid! And the cyber shelling shot. I nearly hyperventilated seeing all those fighting conch. I will be landing in Ft Myers and hitting the Island in three weeks. Please, please have some shells for me…..( from my mouth to Gods ear ). Hope to see you too Pam. I am sad that Sheri will be coming a week later. I was hoping to see her and Sam again as well. Counting down the hours…..
I loved the “Spot” drama video! You have come far, Pam, since I first started following your blog several years ago! I am so very impressed and love your site more every day!!!
Pam-I was down all weekend with my Sister and belive it or not, as I was sitting/bobbing in the water at the pass at low tide this morning (about 7 am-ish) we saw a few rays…they were enjoying the tons of bait fish! Didn’t find much in shells..a few olives, welks and the many king crowns.But the morning was beautiful and the water so warm! What’s going on with the bridge at the pass?
Karla, I’m sure the bridge at Blind Pass was either closed or backed up with traffic because of Captiva Tri (the triatholon) yesterday. I hear it was fantastic!
Loved seeing the spotted ray! When we saw a bunch of the brown cow rays go by I felt like I was having a religious experience… brought me to happy tears! Thank you for this…
Did anyone else notice a whole sandollar in the cyber shelling picture?
Katie, hahahah no! I missed it! Isn’t that funny? There’s always something that is missed and just waiting for the right person. I love that it was waiting for you!