021 - Sanibel and Captiva Islands, Florida
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Updated - September 2008
Find and photograph the great sea shells of Sanibel Island: scallops, cockles, carditas, moon snails, and countless clam shells. Learn details about photographing the birds of the Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge. Discover where and when to photograph the roseate spoonbills, the white ibis, and all the other seasonal migratory waterfowl.
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Seashells cover the beach. Countless numbers of shells have washed up from the Gulf of Mexico over the ages and have formed this island. Sanibel, on the west coast of Florida near Fort Myers, is an island oriented in an east-west direction. It reaches out into the Gulf to scoop up seashells being pushed northward by ocean-bottom currents. The sandy bottom is shallow for many miles to the south of Sanibel. There are no off-shore coral reefs to snag and stop seashells carried by currents from washing onto the shore. Winter storms from the northwest bring countless more shells of every description onto the Gulf side of the island. A high tide will cover the beach with another layer of shells. After a storm, an early-morning ebb tide reveals new treasures that reach for miles around Sanibel. I discovered scallops, cockles, carditas, moon snails, and countless clam shells, to name a few. I also discovered the birds.
This newsletter explains when and how to find and photograph the great sea shells of Sanibel. It includes all the details about photographing the Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge. You'll get help finding where and when to photograph the roseate spoonbills, the white ibis, and all the other seasonal migratory waterfowl. Details on where to rent a canoe to explore the mangrove swamps for 'gators is also provided.