Ever since I was a child, I have loved shells and no matter where I go in the world, I will be looking for shells on the beaches. I have even dived for shells and I`ve carried conch shells back from St.Lucia in my luggage. Doubt if that would even be allowed these days.
Our local beaches: Pett Level, Rye Harbour and Camber, have been awash with shells this winter.
I have collected them every time we`ve visited, with a view to trying out some new crafts.
This week we went to Camber on a very cold, wintry day.
You can see Fairlight Cliffs in the distance.
Despite the cold, there were many people out and about and afterwards we warmed up in the Green Owl for a rather nice lunch of home-made soup, warm rolls and cheesy chips.
The shells were lying in drifts across the undulating sands.
These are mostly tellins which crunched under our feet as we walked.
This is what we picked up between us. As you can see it is mostly cockles.
At home after a good wash, I began to arrange them in groups for photographs and I spent a very enjoyable half an hour trying to identify them. Some I have always known such as limpets, razor shells and oysters, but many I`ve never bothered to find out.
So here is what I found.
I used this website to help me...
I also used this book which we`ve had for years...
Ray Ingle`s "A Guide to The Seashore."
Bean Tellins (Tellina Fabula)
Cross Cut Carpet Shell (Venerupis Decussata)
Common Whelks (Buccinum Undatum)
A Whelk has the ability to attach itself to a limpet, bore a hole in the shell, through which it pushes its proboscis and rasps away at its victims flesh. This is conveyed back to its mouth.
Rayed Trough Shells (Mactra Stultorum)
Common Cockles (Cerastoderma Edule)
Prickly Cockles (Acanthocardium Echinata)
When cockles come in on the sand they are often found still joined.
If they roll in on shingle they usually break apart.
Great Scallop (Pecten Maximus)
Razor shells (Ensis Arcuartus)
The inside and outside of Oyster Shell (Ostrea Edulis)
Think this one has been in the water for quite a while.
Common Mussels (Mytilus Edulis)
Common Limpet (Patella Vulgata)
Limpets are an unusual sight washed up on the beach. This is because they are well-adapted to shore life, due to their shape and their ability to cling on to rocks. It is a measure of the strength of the recent storm,s to find this many.
Slipper Limpets (Crepidula Fornicata)
The book provided some very interesting facts. Slipper Limpets live in piles. At the bottom of the pile are the largest and they are females. At the top of the pile are the males, and in between are the creatures which are changing from male to female. Most intriguing.
I can`t wait to begin some of my new crafty ideas, using my glue gun.....a Xmas present.
This link should take you to a lovely way of displaying shells. I even have the printer`s tray.