Monday, February 28, 2022

A Busy Week and Shelling 'round the Clock

 This past week has been pretty busy for us, so I will try to update you with as few words as possible, but I do have lots of pictures! Believe it or not, I've cut those WAY back, but hopefully have enough for you to enjoy the experiences with us! Jimmy's daughter and her 4 kids (our grandkids) came into town on Monday and Tuesday. It was such a pleasure to see them, and they had a whirlwind trip, so we tried to do as much as possible! We took them to the lighthouse to do some shelling....the tides weren't great, but you know, ANY time on the beach is great! I tried to get them all AND the lighthouse in the picture....!

Here they are with Hubby at the picnic area! Isn't that a beautiful family?!

Ava found 2 live starfish (Sea Stars) almost as her first steps on the beach!

Her twin, Dylan found all sorts of cool stuff...including this pen shell...
Dylan and Ava seemed to find all kinds of interesting stuff and had lots of cool questions....
Hubby and April, did a lot of walking and talking, catching up and enjoying the day!!

Hailey seemed to have a great eye for the minis....
Chloe struck a pose for us with the lighthouse in the background....
Everyone got a small bag of treasures....

Hailey...check out all those minis!



and Ava

I so wished I could have led them to some really cool shells, but everyone seemed happy with what they found!

After a nice lunch, Ava, Dylan and Hailey wanted to paint some we got home,  setup and they jumped right in!
Check these out!! such talent!!
 Dylan and Ava decided to do a combination scene...Dylan was doing a beach scene.....

and Ava's would compliment his, by doing an underwater scene....a mermaid!

Hailey decided to also do a mermaid....but she did it on the INSIDE of the Whelk!

They all did an AMAZING job and we had a GREAT time! But just like that, the time ran out! We're hoping to see them again in April! Fingers crossed!!

Since then, I have been diligently painting shells for the Sanibel Shellcrafters to sell at the Shell Show this week....and I set a pretty steep goal for myself....I was getting it accomplished, on a good schedule. Jolene sent me a message and wanted to do some night know after midnight, when the high tide is heading to a negative low tide! What the heck, I needed a break, right...from painting shells to looking for shells!!! The night was wonderful....light breeze, No one on the beach, and we could just walk, talk and look!!! We saw lots of life out there...Many live Sand Dollars...

Starfish (Sea Stars) This guy lost a leg, and looked to be F-A-L-L-I-N-G ! :) he actually wasn't was just making his way to a small tidal pool. Did you know that Sea Stars actually grow a replacement arm?? They do!!

I actually found my first Live Pen shell!....if you look closely, he's in looks a lot like an oyster on the inside!

and my goodness, there were a lot of Crabs...of every size and type!

Have you ever heard of a 'wedding shell?' A wedding shell is a shell that is not native to this area, but are frequently found here, what happens is someone has a wedding on the beach and they purchase a bag of shells for decoration around the arbor where they get married, or they are given to wedding attendees and they end up on the beach.  This long explanation is to tell you I believe I found a wedding shell, it isn't one I'm familiar with and spent a lot of time researching it, with little to no luck.  It could be a juvenile Hawkwing Conch, they are native to the keys so it may not be an actual wedding shell....but I really don't know....Maybe there is an expert reading this that could help me figure this out!?

Jolene and I didn't have much luck, but it was a beautiful night....and we got a long walk in!
 This was my favorite find of the night and it was one of the last things I found....a Beautiful Orange True perfect condition!
these were my finds for the night...
From the top CW...the wedding shell, a couple Gaudy Nautica, Sharks Eyes, Nutmegs, Sm, med & Large Horse Conchs, the True Tulip, a Lace Murex, a couple nice Florida Cones and an orange scallop.

So after a couple nights of catch up sleep, and completing my goal of painting shells for the show. Liz and I decided to hit the negative Low tide this was very still and the shells were covered in a light coat of sand under the water, so you had to check out shapes and look closely! I looked down and saw this guy.....I think I actually said out loud to That a Cone??? It's huge!!! Sure was!!
The Biggest cone I have Ever found!!!

It actually measures 3 inches!!!
I don't have to tell you I was tickled with this find!!!

We also found this beauty!! a Nice huge Horse Conch....he wasn't alive, but still had a lot of it's body still in it....I did my best to shake out the insides, but it wasn't smelling real good at this point! Liz took it home and will have it all prettied up in no time!! It should be a beauty when it's all cleaned up!

For some reason I didn't take many pictures until after sunrise.... We saw so many Live Cockles out there...

This is a crab pot that washed up, it's underwater, but check out all the sea urchins who have attached themselves to it! It looks almost like a treasure chest doesn't it?? My Dad use to find these and spend lots of time searching in and around them for treasures (shells) he usually found a few keepers!
You can see the 'silty' bottom with this hermit crab in a lightning Whelk running around under the water! I love these guys!!

Several Dolphin came out to play (& feed) just before sunrise...

Boats started fishing....what could be prettier than this??
It was a BEAUTIFUL sunrise...

doesn't it make you say Ahhhhhh.....?

We had a Flame box crab watching it with us!!

and these Ibis in their mating neon pink plumage were enjoying it as well!!
Liz and I even saw Cindy, (another Shell Raiser) out there enjoying the beautiful day!! (I forgot to get a picture!)

Liz sent me a picture of her finds she picked up 8 alphabet Cones!! SCORE!! and some pretty Gaudy Nautica, Horse Conchs, Shark's eyes and Olives!!  

I, once again, forgot to take a picture until they were in their Bleach Bath!

You can see how big that cone is....compared to those 'normal' size ones!! I found a kings crown a couple Gaudy Nautica, Shark's eyes! 
Ok, you're all caught up!! I'm not sure if there will be any more shelling this week because of the show as I'm working setup, all three days and tear down, and we will be heading back North the first of next week! So Stay Tuned, maybe I'll post about the shell show!!

::Shelllady Hugs::

Sunday, February 20, 2022

East Coast and Eco-Tour with Eggs on Sunday

 Friday the Shell Raisers finally got all together and we headed out on an adventure to the East Coast. Specifically to Mizelle-Johnson State park, near Dania Beach. Liz and I have been there previously and have had good luck.  When we got there, there was a renourishment going on, they had hauled in lots of sand and the beach was badly eroded away. 

We brought buckets to collect coral, and there was none in sight....but what was in sight were Portugese Man-of-war jellyfish....we had to keep our eyes out because they were all over the place, including the surf and the beach was so narrow, we were concerned because these beautiful creatures are known to cause a lot of pain with just a small touch.

We were disappointed at the shape of the beach, or lack of it, and no's always been interesting to see new these Goose Barnacles on the bottom of a flip flop!

There seemed to be an awful lot of trash and not much else.  We left there and headed North toward Fort Lauderdale, stopped at 2 more beaches up to Deerfield Beach and it was the same...Man-of-wars and no beach. I talked to one lady that said they have had super strong winds and rip tides for more than 3 weeks and it has destroyed the beaches. Another couple suggested we go to the West coast as they were known for shelling!!! She couldn't figure out why we came to the east coast!!!

I didn't find anything, but Liz managed to find a few things... including a Hamburger Bean.... I found NOTHING!!

So we jumped back in the Car and headed back toward home on the West Coast with a stop for a nice lunch! It was a bit disappointing but we had a good visit!

So Sunday Liz and I headed back to the mud-flats in Fort Myers. We intended to do some shelling but saw so many interesting things!! We first ran up on these three large cloth 'bags', neither of us had the nerve to open them and see what was in them, but around them were beans!!! Yes, beans of every type, with Macaroni, rice, and all kinds of stuff!

There was even a chicken egg there!!

and quite a bit of change!! When we came back from our walk, someone had turned the blue 'bags' over and it looked like table cloths filled with cut up food!! I would like to know the story about this! So on we went checking out the mangroves and flats, along with a variety of beautiful birds!
the white ones are Ibis, and I believe the 'greyish' guy in the center may be a Little Blue Heron.
Liz snapped this one of a Great Blue Heron
I think this is a closer view of the little Blue Heron
and I think this is a Reddish Egret
I spent a long time in the books and on the internet to identify these things so bear with me....If you see something wrong, or know what something is, please let me know!!

We saw several places, I believe it is an Encrusted Tunicate, 
a Tunicate is a Marine animal that spends tend to leave in groups, Sea squirts are a tunicate.
We saw LOTS of Egg cases....
Here is a Pear Whelk egg case with a Banded tulip putting his shells on to it!! The golden colored 'disks' are the Pear Whelk and the pinkish 'lacey' looking cases are the tulips.

I found the same thing!! in another place...
and another combo....
Lots of Tulip egg is some on a pen shell...
These are Lightning Whelk egg cases....same basic shape as the pear, but larger. It's difficult to see, but the eggs are coming out of a very large Lightning Whelk that's mostly buried, and she has company, a smaller lightning whelk...I have seen this many times here in the flats! Kind of like a support group!
the thing I found interesting, even though we generally find Kings Crowns here, we did not see any egg casings for them.
 One of my favorite finds of the day today was this Chiton....a Chiton is a's very small and looks like it is made of armor....he was alive and slowly moved to the edge of this Lace Murex...
I looked and looked online and in my books, and I think it's a Common Eastern Chiton. Have you ever seen one?? This was a first for me!

Another interesting thing I thought was this American Tube dwelling is gorgeous and they were everywhere....they kind of reminded me of an eye with lashes....Liz got a pic of this one laying on his side as the water was at low tide

....I took this video for you to see how they react...

Isn't that interesting??

We saw a lot of this stuff, which at first glance looks just like coral, but it is a firm Jelly-like structure... a close-up makes it look like also a Tunicate, 

like Sea Pork but  I couldn't find enough information to confirm it....

We did actually see some shells....check out this beautiful Huge Kings Crown!

But Alas, it was alive...

Liz found quite a few treasures....

a couple pretty Lace Murex, a large and tiny Lightning Whelk, some pear Whelks, and of course 3 golf balls, quite a few Kings Crowns, a couple dusty cones, Olives, a pair of what looks like Pointed venus clams, rose tellins and Mortons egg cockles, a tagelus, Sunray Venus, what looks like a type of tellin a Scallop and 4 shark's eyes. 

Once again, I forgot to take a pic before I put my shells to soak heres my finds...soaking!

Kings Crowns, Morton egg cockles, the large one at the top is a Dosinia.

There were LOTS of small spider crabs running around in the grass today....this one looked like he was running to greet me!! Enjoy!!

It was so interesting out there today....Liz and I called it an Eco-tour!! Stay tuned, I'm hoping for a few more posts before I have to head back North!

::Shelllady Hugs::