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Archive for the ‘Beach Treasures – Beachcombing’ Category

Tiny May be the Next Big Thing: Sylvan Beach, La Porte… Again!

Posted by E.G.D. on March 29, 2015

Jumping for Joy on Sylvan Beach (Photo © E.G.D.)

Jumping for Joy on Sylvan Beach (Photo © E.G.D.)

The weather here on the Texas gulf coast has been absolutely stellar lately, and I am pleased as punch to have a beach easy walking distance from my home.  Not unnaturally, one of the best parts about having a beach right next door is sharing that beach with my friends and family.  Now, I realize that I have posted about Sylvan Beach before, but yesterday’s Sylvan Beach experience is worthy of note because my sister (and noted doctor of geo sciences), Kristie, decided to start a tiny rock collection, and of course the kids, my friend Travis (of guest posting fame) and I joined in with gusto!

Collecting (Photo © E.G.D.)

Collecting (Photo © E.G.D.)

Now, between the five of us, we had a really substantial collection going… but because we were collecting tiny, tiny treasures, the pile was small enough to easily fit into the palm of, say, Oona’s kindergardener-sized hand.  Kristie thought that a collection of tiny rocks would be much easier on the movers when next she moves than, say, the truly substantially-sized rock collections she and her fellow geologist husband have accumulated over the years (“What’s in these boxes, anyway, rocks?!??” … “Um… actually…”), and I must agree, though I don’t think she and Ryan have any intention of ditching the larger rocks along the way.  Anyhow, fun, right?  We found some really good treasures.  Behold!

Tiny Treasures (Photo © E.G.D.)

Tiny Treasures (Photo © E.G.D.)

A budding collection (Photo © E.G.D.)

A budding collection (Photo © E.G.D.)

They’re colorful, they’re cute, and they’re smooth and shiny from being tumbled in the bay.  Also, we really enjoyed collecting them, and I have resolved to find a tiny salt shaker to put them in for display.

The moral of the experience?  One beach-goer’s large grain of sand is another beach-goer’s new tiny rock!  Have a great day, preferably at the beach ^_^ -E.G.D.

Posted in Beach Treasures - Beachcombing, Gulf of Mexico Beaches | Tagged: , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Shell-plate-Frisbee

Posted by E.G.D. on February 1, 2015

Art by Liam and Oona, photo by E.G.D.

Art by Liam and Oona, photo by E.G.D.

To quote my niece, Oona, from a previous post about Sylvan Beach, “What we are going to do is making crafts out of the shells, like necklaces, and like paper and shells art, and coloring the shells on the paper with the shells.”  She elaborated on this brilliant idea a few days later.  She insisted that we make paper plate shell Frisbees, and she brilliantly decided that these shell-plate-Frisbees should be given to her daddy for his birthday.

What I especially appreciate about this delightfully original craft idea is that Liam and Oona had totally different approaches to the project.  As you can see in the photo above, Oona made a sort of collage with craft paper and shells, and Liam made a cute-patoot smiley-face.  They were both, not unnaturally, very proud of their work, and they agreed to let me share these with the viewing public here at Beach Treasures and Treasure Beaches.  Fun, right?  Incidentally, their dad thought these projects were pretty cool, too, which was a very large part of the point!

The kids with their projects (photo by E.G.D.)

The kids with their projects (photo by E.G.D.)

Aaaaaaaaaaaand because Oona was the founder of this brilliant idea, she asked that she have a picture with her plate Frisbee and without her brother:

The mastermind behind this craft (photo by E.G.D.)

The mastermind behind this craft (photo by E.G.D.)

Tada!  We hope you enjoy the fruits of our shell-hunting labor.  See you at the beach- E.G.D.

Posted in Beach Treasure and Seashell Crafts, Seashells | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

Bottle Top Chain Campaign

Posted by Jody on January 30, 2015

Jody:

10931712_352486894930816_8156907081148607415_o

Photo credit: https://www.facebook.com/RamePeninsulaBeachCare/timeline

Cheers to you, Ruth! We just love a clean beach!

Originally posted on seafieldview:

10931712_352486894930816_8156907081148607415_o picture from https://www.facebook.com/RamePeninsulaBeachCare/timeline

The Bottle Top Chain Campaign is part of a community project that aims to clean up our beaches and raise awareness about the damage being done to the oceans by plastic pollution. Rame Peninsula Beach Care have a created a community who regularly clean the beaches around Whitsand Bay, Kingsand & Cawsand and have a Facebook page that keeps us up to date with all things to do with marine conservation. They are currently collecting plastic bottle tops left on the beaches and they estimate they have collected over 13,000 in the last few months since they started. If you are heading to the Rame Peninsula for a beach walk or for a spot of beachcombing this weekend (or at any time) please take a bag not only to collect any debris washed up on the beach but to see if you can add to the bottle…

View original 13 more words

Posted in Beach Treasures - Beachcombing, Beaches of Great Britain and Ireland, Sand and Shoreline | Leave a Comment »

Walking With the Winter Waves at Sylvan Beach

Posted by E.G.D. on December 31, 2014

All the cool birds hang out here.  (photo by E.G.D.)

All the cool birds hang out here. (photo by E.G.D.)

Sylvan Beach in La Porte, TX, always a treat in the warmer months, can be equally awesome in the winter.  The waves crash with a little more violence and froth, the seashells are as abundant as ever, the clean public restrooms are still open, and the birds are a heck of a lot bolder than they are when there are more people around.  The other day, the kids and I literally had a pelican fly right up to us.  I warned the kids “don’t touch it!  It’s a wild animal,” and it was so close that it was actually necessary to say that.  Liam held up his fingers in a square and said “CLICK!” but by the time I went back to the car for a camera, the blue guy who’d nearly landed on our feet was gone.  We saw a yellow one by the bait shop later, though, and I did get a picture of him.  Anyhow, the entire purpose of this article is actually to give the kids a bit of the limelight.  I invited Liam (currently a second grader) to write an article on his winter beach experience, and this is what he wrote:

We had a great time at the beach.  We collected shells and saw two pelicans.  It was cold and windy.  We also saw baby seagulls.  The ocean was trying to catch me, but it couldn’t.  My feet stayed dry.  The end.

Tada! The second pelican (photo by E.G.D.)

Tada! The second pelican (photo by E.G.D.)

Oona can only write her name without a reference, so she is going to dictate a story:

We collected shells.  We picked purple shells, and shells that are cool, and big shells, and clear shells, and it was a windy day.  I found, what is it called again? A sea bean.  I saw pelicans.  And we had a wonderful time.  And we went to the beach to also play in the sand.  At the water, the sand was cold and wet.  We had a nice time there, and I want to go again with Nana.  I hope we can go with Dadu, also.  We are going to do is making crafts out of the shells, like necklaces, and like paper and shells art, and coloring the shells on the paper with the shells.  We hope we have a nice time there again next time we go to the beach with Aunt Elisa.  I love the beach because it has the shells that I want to see.  The end.

Oona's shell collection from our winter day at Sylvan Beach (photo by E.G.D.)

Oona’s shell collection from our winter day at Sylvan Beach (photo by E.G.D.)

OH, THE GRAMMAR!  Oh, to be five again and not to specially care about grammar!  As you probably already surmised, I edited both for spelling, but not for grammar or syntax.  They are totally authentic.  In any case, Happy New Year, everybody!

Gray, but great (photo by E.G.D.)

Gray, but great (photo by E.G.D.)

See you at the beach- E.G.D.

Posted in Beach and Coastal Wildlife, Beach Birding, Gulf of Mexico Beaches, Seashells | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments »

A Stroll on Bryan and Quintana

Posted by E.G.D. on November 29, 2014

Last month, I drove down to Lake Jackson to do a Halloween Mad Science event at the mall there, and I couldn’t possibly justify not going to the beach while I was at it!  Now, as some of you probably know, there are a good number of options in the area, but I wound up going to Bryan and Quintana because it’s the drive with the best signage (I didn’t need a map to get there, and I didn’t have to ask directions).  Now, I have no idea what part of the beach is Bryan and what part is Quintana.  The signs sit on opposite sides of the sand road leading onto the beach highway: quintanabryan

Basically, insert road here.  These signs are even angled so that they sort of face each other.  Anyhow, it was a spectacularly beautiful day!  I found a remarkable number of beautiful shell treasures, none of which I took home (I was in the middle of a move, and when I’m moving I have a pretty strong aversion to the acquisition of things, even if they are small things), and I saw a really amazing array of birds.

Seashells galore! (E.G.D.)

Seashells galore! (E.G.D.)

So many nice shells! (E.G.D.)

So many nice shells! (E.G.D.)

I saw plovers, pelicans, and a family of seagulls that included chicks!  At least they looked a lot like the seagulls in coloring, and they were hanging out with the adult gulls.  What do you think?

Baby Gulls?  (photo by E.G.D.)

Baby Gulls? (photo by E.G.D.)

Whatever they were, they were super-cute!  Anyway, aside from shells and birds, I came across a good many people picnicking, fishing, using metal detectors, walking dogs, and swimming, and I also came across a very clever and enterprising ice cream truck.  Here in Texas, a lot of our beaches are actually designated highways, so this system actually works:

Ice cream at the beach, anyone? (photo by E.G.D.)

Ice cream at the beach, anyone? (photo by E.G.D.)

I didn’t wind up buying anything, but I was amused.  In all, it was a really delightful walk, and I certainly get the impression that everyone on the beach that day was having a really wonderful time.

Fun times! (E.G.D.)

Fun times! (E.G.D.)

Right before I left for home, the shadows were getting long, and I got artsy with my camera.  I’m not going to insert a slide show here (though I probably could!  I got a whole series of seriously artsy shots), but for fun, here’s an interesting shot of a buried driftwood branch/log. DSCN0230Aaaaaaaaaand that’s the story of my most recent trip to Bryan/Quintana.  Fun, right?  It’s a lovely beach, and I recommend it to anyone, but bear in mind that there are no restroom or shower facilities, and there didn’t appear to be a lifeguard on duty.  On the other hand, there was ice cream!  If you’re going to have to choose your amenities, that might be the better way to go on a hot day. Have a great and beachy holiday weekend, everyone! Thanksgiving, not Halloween.  Better late than never- E.G.D.

Posted in Beach Birding, Gulf of Mexico Beaches, Seashells | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Beach Metal Detecting: 5 Tips to Get the Most Out of Your Hunt

Posted by Jody on August 17, 2014

Today’s Featured Writer is Glenn Stock.

Beach Metal Detecting on the Gulf Coast

Beach Metal Detecting on the Gulf Coast

Beach metal detecting is a fun outdoor hobby that can also be very profitable. What makes it so great is the opportunity to explore new areas along with the anticipation of a great find. Beaches are some of the most popular places to explore. You not only get the chance to find lost valuables but you also get to enjoy the great beach weather.

Many a beach metal detecting hobbyist has paid for his/her metal detector, and more, from just a few hours or so of metal detecting. You can too!

Metal Detecting on GalvestonBbeach at the Seawall (Across from Fort Crockett Park)

Metal Detecting on Galveston Beach at the Seawall (Across from Fort Crockett Park)

 

Tip #1: Slow down and have fun.
Remember, this metal detecting hobby is all about having fun. It’s easy to move too fast and just skim across an area believing there are no treasures below the sand – but slowing your search down will improve your odds of finding something. There are times when it may take you forever to find just one thing, but making sure to slow down and appreciate the hobby makes it all the more worthwhile.

Tip #2: Timing
Picking the best time to search the beach is an important factor in getting the beach to reveal its hidden treasures. The perfect time is when most everyone has left. This gives you a greater area to search, and you won’t have so many interruptions, either. When there aren’t as many people around, you can explore closer to the shore and even more remote areas, greatly improving your chances of discovering something valuable. Get up early. Making an early start (before anyone else arrives) is another great time to explore the beach.

Tip #3: Get Dirty
Don’t be afraid to sift through the sand; you have to get your detector close enough to sense something. Often the most prized treasures can be buried just below the surface. So get your hands dirty and start going through everything.

Tip #4: Be Prepared
Time can fly by quickly when you are intensely focused on finding that treasure. Make sure you pack something to eat (high energy bars are good) and also something to drink to keep those energy levels up throughout the day. Also remember to pack a hat, sun-glasses and some sunscreen to protect you from getting sun burnt on those hot days.

Most of all, be sure to be courteous and respectful of others. When everyone shows each other respect, everyone has fun, and the hobby never becomes a burden. Beach metal detecting isn’t only for discovering hidden treasure but also for fun and adventure, so go on, get out, and have some beach metal detecting fun in the sun.

Beach Metal Detecting

Beach Metal Detecting

About the Author: Glenn Stock has, for the last 20 years has been detecting along the Gulf Coast beaches and shallows, along with old historic homes site, civil war camps, parks, fairgrounds and just about any other place throughout the South that’s not covered with pavement. In between detecting trips he manages and writes for TreasureHunterDepot.com and is employed by The State of Texas. Follow Glenn’s tips and check out the following link to stay ahead of the curve: Beach and Shallow Water Metal Detecting.

~~~

Posted in Beach Treasures - Beachcombing, Featured Guest Writer, Sand and Shoreline, Tallies & Tips | Tagged: , , | 11 Comments »

Summery Day on the South County Shore

Posted by E.G.D. on July 22, 2014

Today’s Featured Guest Writer is Robyn Waayers: 

Gary and I took a little trip yesterday to explore the beach just north of Imperial Beach and south of Silver Strand State Beach. A lot of organic material had washed ashore, including masses of California Mussels, as well as much kelp.

Mussel mass with surf grass

Mussel mass with surf grass

Some of the mussels had Leaf Barnacles attached.

California Mussel with Leaf Barnacles

California Mussel with Leaf Barnacles

This is a beach popular with clammers due to its concentration of Pismo Clams. What I presumed to be immature clam shells were here and there on the shore.

A small clam - about 30 mm in length

A small clam – about 30 mm in length

 

A larger specimen, but nowhere near the final adult size!

A larger specimen, but nowhere near the final adult size!

Most of the shells on this beach are heavily wave-worn, like this Chestnut Cowrie.

Chestnut Cowrie, after much rolling around in the sand and surf

Chestnut Cowrie, after much rolling around in the sand and surf

The beach was surprisingly bird-filled, with Willets, Marbled Godwits, and Forster’s Terns being present in numbers (the Forster’s Terns in large numbers as they fished in the huge anchovy schools off shore). We also saw the occasional Royal Tern in full breeding plumage. A lone Long-billed Curlew graced the beach and we saw several more in the Tijuana Estuary area later.

Long-billed Curlew, with the Silver Strand and downtown San Diego, as well as the Coronado Bridge, visible in the background

Long-billed Curlew, with the Silver Strand and downtown San Diego, as well as the Coronado Bridge, visible in the background

We saw easily over a half dozen Snowy Plovers skulking in the higher, drier portions of the beach as well. Signs discourage people or dogs from walking in their territory, but no fences exist, as we saw in Oregon last month for the protection of this species. The plovers are extremely well camouflaged, and tend to move in short bursts of activity, as opposed to just meandering around as the Willets do.

Snowy Plover standing at the edge of a tire track!

Snowy Plover standing at the edge of a tire track!

We also saw a merganser hanging around the edge of the water, and occasionally entering the shallows. A scoter (probably a Surf Scoter) was seen fishing in the shallows, as well.

Scoter in shallow water.

Scoter in shallow water.

About the author: Robyn Waayers has lived in San Diego since 1977, and teaches biology at three local community colleges. In her spare time, she is a lover of all­ things ­natural­ history, roaming the region with her camera and an eye for new things. Her website is Shoreline Ramblings, to which she has also posted this articleAll photographs are the property of Robyn Waayers.

~~~

Posted in Beach Birding, Featured Guest Writer, Pacific Coast Beaches, Seashells, Southern California Beaches | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Simply Decorate with Beach Treasures

Posted by Jody on July 19, 2014

You may have enjoyed many trips to the sandy shoreline without bringing home any treasured seashells.  Me too!  Sometimes there just aren’t any seashells to be found. Other times the seashells that are sparsely scattered about the beach are only broken bits of their former glory.

No seashells? No problem!  Just bring home the real estate! We have found some beautiful beaches made up of tiny black pebbles (Yachats, Oregon comes to mind). Other beaches, especially along Northern California’s coast, are streaked with rivers of colorful, tumbled stones and agates. These lovely beach treasures can be turned into a striking display when you get them back home.

Colorful Northern California Beach Stones on Display

Tiny fragments of seashells or coral can easily be substituted for these multicolored beach treasures. With or without a candle, this is a beautiful, memory-filled decoration. As you can see below, we have our candle dish of wave polished stones displayed right next to a pitcher full of sea tumbled glass, ceramic, and seashells we found at Fort Bragg, California many, many moons ago.

Sea Glass and Beach Stones. A Lovely Combination.

There’s something very zen about running your fingers through a bowl full of tiny, smooth beach gems. Beautiful colors and shapes just keep rising to the top. Try it. You’ll like it! ;-)

How do you decorate with beach treasures?  We’d love for you to share your ideas and photos with us. Please join in and send your photos and descriptions to oneshellofafind@gmail.com, and we’ll happily show them off for you!

~~~

*You can also join us on Facebook at One Shell of a Find.*

 Published 2/23/12

Posted in Beach Treasure and Seashell Crafts, Beach Treasures - Beachcombing, Decorating With Beach Treasures | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Most of the Way to LA: McFaddin Beach

Posted by E.G.D. on June 17, 2014

Beautiful Day at McFaddin Beach (Photo by E. G. D.)

Beautiful Day at McFaddin Beach (Photo by E.G.D.)

The Sign (Photo by E.G.D.)

The Sign (Photo by E.G.D.)

The other day, one of my many jobs sent me to Nederland, TX, which is about two hours east of the part of Houston in which I live. I needed to be in Nederland for a grand total of two and a half hours. Crazy, right? I drove a total of four hours for a job that lasted fewer than three! Suffice it to say, I felt the need to justify all that driving with a bit of fun, and I wound up driving an extra 20 minutes east so that I could visit McFaddin Beach (and I highly recommend you click that link, because the article is EXTREMELY worthy of note, especially if you are interested in finding fossils on a beach). McFaddin Beach, also known as the McFaddin National Wildlife Refuge, was on fire last time I passed it by. Mom (known more commonly here as Jody) and I tried to visit Sea Rim State Park on our way to Louisiana last summer, and we didn’t make it very far because there was an extremely smoky brush fire raging there. McFaddin is immediately past Sea Rim State Park on the same road, and I am happy to report that it was absolutely fire-free this time around.

High Tide (Photo by E.G.D.)

High Tide (Photo by E.G.D.)

In fact, I had the great good fortune to enjoy it on a truly beautiful day! I was at first disappointed that I arrived at high tide (the water was all the way up to the knee-high, three-yard-wide pile of seaweed that separates the parking area from the water), but over the course of the two or three hours I wandered there, the tide receded somewhat, and I found a startling array of truly remarkable shells! I found no fewer than nine whole and completely undamaged angel wings, two brightly colored and unoccupied shark-eye snail shells, and some very nice whelk pieces, among other things. I even found a very nice piece of green sea glass.

While I wandered, I passed kids playing in the silt, a good number of adults wading, swimming, and sun bathing, and an older gentleman searching the beach with his metal detector. I watched whole flying and floating flocks of some sort of very large bird I never managed to identify. I discovered a weathered coconut, looking rather lonely and a bit out of place on a Texas beach. I startled a few ghost crabs back into their holes, and I returned a couple of beached, live snails to the water (those were actually before I discovered the two unoccupied shells). I will say, though, that I did not pass anything at all along the lines of bathroom facilities, showers, or lifeguard towers. If you plan to visit McFaddin beach (and if you happen to be anywhere near Port Arthur, you really should), bring a jug of water to rinse your feet off and go to the bathroom before leaving town! While you’re at it, I recommend that you pack a picnic, sun block, a hat, and an extra large bag in which to stow your shelling treasures. You’re in for a fun and productive day at the beach!

Anyone Know What These Birds Are? (Photo by E.G.D.)

Anyone Know What These Birds Are? (Photo by E.G.D.)

Treasures (Photo by E.G.D.)

Treasures (Photo by E.G.D.)

Fun stuff!  Have a great day, hopefully at the beach. -E.G.D.

Posted in Beach Treasures - Beachcombing, Gulf of Mexico Beaches, Seashells | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Picture Perfect Calico Scallops

Posted by Jody on June 10, 2014

Calico Scallops

Calico Scallops

It’s easy to see why these beautiful bivalves are the seashell collector’s dream. Each and every Calico Scallop (Argopecten gibbus) is a colorful, unique, and fun-filled piece of eye candy! They can be found in variations of pink, white, orange, brown, purple. Keeping only one is virtually impossible for even the most tried and true beachcomber! Commonly found on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean, they range from Delaware Bay to Florida, into the Gulf of Mexico, and south to much of the Caribbean Sea.

Picture Perfect Calico Scallops

Picture Perfect Calico Scallops

These variegated seashells are especially plentiful and very easy to find undamaged on Florida’s sandy Gulf Coast beaches. The color-splashed Calico Scallops in this collection all hail from the world-renowned shelling beaches of Sanibel Island, Florida.

Picture Perfect Calico Scallops

Picture Perfect Calico Scallops

Growing up to 2 1/2 inches across, Calico Scallops are almost circular in shape and very easy to identify. These seashells have about 20 strong, well defined, smooth (non-scaly) ribs. Look for each shell’s “ears” to be about equal in size.

Seriously, who wouldn’t be tickled pink to have a basket full of these picture perfect beach treasures in their collection?

Happy Beachcombing!

~~~

Related links:

Sanibel Island, Florida: A Beachcomber’s Bonanza

The Sanibel Shell Guide

Beachcombing Regulations Abound. Know Before You Go!

Christmas with Sanibel Style

~~~

 

Posted in Beach Treasures - Beachcombing, Gulf of Mexico Beaches, Seashells | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

 
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