Thursday, November 21, 2013

Harns Marsh and the Apple Snails - sounds like a band!

Since I like collecting shells, I thought today we would go inland to find some snail shells I had read about on the I Love Shelling  blog. (www.ILoveShelling.com)  We loaded up on bug spray and took a "gator" stick (Noel's walking stick) and drove about 30 minutes out of Ft Myers to the Harns Marsh Preserve.  It was a beautiful morning and we were amazed at the number of bird species we saw, including herons, hawks, limpkins, ducks, coots, egrets, grackles, sparrows, woodpeckers and king fishers!  We are going to go back again soon just to do some birding.  But this time we were on a mission!  I wore long pants (even though its 87 degrees) and both of us trekked out into the marshy muck to find some snails.  It didn't take long to spot some and there turned out to be hundreds!

I'm ready to hunt me some snails....





The Island Apple Snail is an invasive species, but the rare Everglades Kite and the Limpkins have adapted to add these to their diet.  Once eaten, the empty shells are scattered about, some as big as a small apple, and they are really pretty! Obviously, there are some well fed birds - these were all in one spot.  Like a snail snack shack!


Noel was helping me!


See why I wore long pants?  Those little burrs are sharp!


 
Some of the birds we saw, including the rare Limpkin!
 





After collecting several dozen, we squished back in our soggy, stinky shoes, drove home and immediately showered!  The shells are now soaking in some bleach-y water for me to clean them all out and send some to my friends Jean and Linda, keeping one or two here in the trailer to remind me of our fun "Snail Adventure - 2013".

See how big and pretty they are?

6 comments:

Sherri said...

Awesome pics! I saw your comment on iloveshelling & had to check out your blog. Nice snail shells! I will definitely have to go there when I am in town the next time! The shells and birds are very pretty!

Annette Mahoney said...

Hi! So please excuse my abundance of questions to follow..... I am here visiting from up north and of course did not come prepared to go mucking but I need to go find a few of these to take home! They look beautiful.....my biggest fear is that I collect too many and will have to ship them north in another suit case that I will have to go buy from goodwill! Anyway, I am going to have to go purchase some appropriate attire from goodwill that I can just toss when finished so my question is how much gear do I need?? Are we talking knee high rubbers, canvas pants, mosquito netting and elbow high gloves??? Or some sneakers, jeans and a long sleeve top? Were the bugs horrendous? I don't mind facing mammals but ticks and fleas and things that buzz in my nose and ears will push me over the edge......thank u for any help u can provide! :)

Anna Lemons said...

Lol! I understand! I wore denim leggings, socks and sneakers, tee shirt, hat and Off bug spray applied liberally. Bugs weren't bad, but we were there like at 11am. I was about ankle high in water, sometimes more if the bottom was really soft. You're better off going to the left, we found out later, as there were a lot more shells and much less muck. I will probably ship a box home since not much room in the trailer. I soaked them in water overnight, emptied and put in clean water and some bleach. Scrubbed each one and laid out to dry. They are gorgeous! Have fun!

Annette Mahoney said...

Thank u!!!! To the left? As in to the left of the road I'm going in on? Hahahaha.... Omg I'm laughing at my self on this trip already!. One more question....I'm such a novice and obviously a tourist..... but where I am from we have seasons where bugs are bad but it sounds like u have times of the day where they are bad.....u said they weren't bad at like 11 and all I hear is they weren't good at like 11! So after u answer this one last question I promise to keep my mouth closed.....are the bugs "good" in the early am or late day? :). Thank u for your help!!!!!

Anna Lemons said...

Annette-ask away! I'm just pleased someone actually read my blog that's not related to me! There are tiny sand fleas down here called "no-see-ums" that are most active at dusk and dawn. I thought there might be Mosquitos out there but didn't see any. Only bugs we saw more than one if we're dragonflies, so you should be good. And by left, I mean to the left of the road that dead ends into the marsh. Have fun. Let me know how it goes!

Annette Mahoney said...

Thank u! I picked up my brother today from the airport and told him we are going on a mission! He was scared.... I told him we have to go buy appropriate clothing! we went to goodwill hoping to find some jeans and a set of muckers but no luck! So.....we went to Walmart and purchased two different size trash bags that we will put on each leg and secure to our pants with duck take! Also I grabbed heavy duty rubber gloves, the ones u use to prevent dish pan hands! Crap....as I am writing this though I realized I forgot my netting! Ugh. Thank god wally world is open 24 hours! Hahahaha oh dear I hope we don't run into other humans!!! Keep ya posted! Thanks for all your help and guidance! :)