Saturday, October 21, 2017

October 21, 2017

Location: Vero Beach, Riverside Park

I am a male Redstart,
Shown here from underneath.
I am black and white with orange accents,
A great bird for Halloween!

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Friday, October 20, 2017

October 20, 2017

Location: Vero Beach, Riverside Park

I am a Blue-grey Gnatcatcher,
I dart around quickly while looking for bugs.
I have thin white rings around my eyes,
If my eyes were red, you'd think I was on drugs.

Sources: Cornell Lab - Blue-grey Gnatcatcher

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Thursday, October 19, 2017

October 19, 2017

Location: Vero Beach, 20th Street

I'm a male Black-throated Blue Warbler,
My throat is black and my back's mostly blue.
Although I don't look anything like my mate,
We both like to eat insects and fruits.

Sources: Cornell Lab - Black-throated Blue Warbler

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

October 18, 2017

Location: Vero Beach, 20th Street

I'm a female Black-throated Blue Warbler,
My throat's not black, nor am I particularly blue.
In fact, I don't look anything at all like my mate,
My throat is a yellowish hue.

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

October 17, 2017

Location: Vero Beach, 20th Street

We are two Northern Mockingbirds
Having a chat upon some roof tiles.
When we're done we'll go imitate other birds.
We're not mean, that's just our style.

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Monday, October 16, 2017

October 16, 2017

Location: Fort Pierce, D.J. Wilcox Preserve

I am a White Peacock butterfly,
Resting here amongst fallen autumn leaves.
I drink nectar, I'm not a detritivore,
Despite what this picture might make you believe.

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Sunday, October 15, 2017

October 15, 2017

Location: Vero Beach, Riverside Park

I am a Cape May Warbler,
In summer I eat Spruce Budworms for fun.
In the winter, I like to drink nectar
Using my curled, semi-tubular tongue.

Sources: Cornell Lab - Cape May Warbler

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Saturday, October 14, 2017

October 14, 2017

Location: D. J. Wilcox Preserve

I am a Mangrove Tree Crab,
Not many of my kind live to be adults.
My larvae get eaten by filter feeders,
Very few hatch as the end result.

Sources: Wild South Florida - Mangrove Tree Crab

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Friday, October 13, 2017

October 13, 2017

Location: Fort Pierce, D.J. Wilcox Preserve

I'm known as a Mangrove Root Crab.
I like to eat decaying plant matter.
I impress girls with my big, strong claws,
And my gonopod tallywhacker.

Sources: The Online Guide to the Animals of Trinidad and Tobago - Goniopsis cruentata (Mangrove Root Crab)

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Thursday, October 12, 2017

October 12, 2017

Location: Fort Pierce, D.J. Wilcox Preserve

I'm known as a Marsh Rabbit,
I'm related to the Cottontail.
But I like to live in wetlands which makes my life
Imperiled by hurricanes and gales.

Sources: FWC Land Mammals - Marsh Rabbit

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

October 11, 2017

Location: Titusville, Enchanted Forest

I'm a baby Southern Toad,
I'm so small, it's hard to see me.
I hatch in the muck, and blend in so well,
I'm a virtual Houdini!

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

October 10, 2017

Location: Titusville, Enchanted Forest

I am a male Black Swallowtail Butterfly.
When I'm a caterpillar I eat celery and dill.
As a butterfly, I like nectar from flowers,
Including milkweed, red clover and thistle.

Sources: Butterflies and Moths of North America - Black Swallowtail

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Monday, October 9, 2017

October 9, 2017

Location: Garden Key, Dry Tortugas

I am a female Magnificent Frigatebird,
Formerly known as a Man-O-War,
I feed my young for over a year,
While my mate breeds with someone else, that cur!

Sources: Cornell Lab - Magnificent Frigatebird

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Sunday, October 8, 2017

October 8, 2017

Location: Garden Key, Dry Totugas

I am an Antillean Nighthawk,
Similar to Common Nighthawk and Chuck-wills-widow.
But you will only find me in Florida in the summertime,
In the winter, it's not known where I go.

Sources: Audubon Guide to North American Birds - Antillean Nighthawk

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Saturday, October 7, 2017

October 7, 2017

Location: Kissimmee Prairie State Park

I'm a Common Nighthawk
I'm known for my dramatic display flight.
Despite my name, I'm not a hawk,
And I'm crepuscular - I don't hang out at night.

Sources: Cornell Lab - Common Nighthawk

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Friday, October 6, 2017

October 6, 2017

Location: Sebastian, private residence

I'm a female Northern Cardinal.
Take a close look at my crest -
You can see I have white tips up there,
Those are new feathers, my hairs not messed!

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Thursday, October 5, 2017

October 5, 2017

Location: Sebastian, private residence

I'm known as a Leatherleaf Slug,
I'm a snail without a shell.
I'm a hermaphrodite which means I can
Inseminate any slug, including myself!

Sources: UF/IFAS Featured Creatures - Terrestrial Slugs of Florida

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

October 4, 2017

Location: Titusville, Enchanted Forest

Shown here is the beginning of detritus -
Which is organic matter that has decayed.
It is a vital link in the food chain -
To lower organisms it's veritable buffet!

Sources: Lake and Wetland Ecosystems - What is Detritus?

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

October 3, 2017

Location: Titusville, Enchanted Forest

This is Dotted Horsemint,
It attracts bees and butterflies.
It can be used in place of Thyme or Oregano,
If you want to add a little spice.

Sources: Florida Native Plant Society - Dotted Horsemint (monarda punctata)

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Monday, October 2, 2017

October 2, 2017

Location: Vero, Riverside Park

I'm a Red-eyed Vireo,
In the summer, I sing incessantly.
I also snack on caterpillars,
Which I hunt for in tree canopies.

Sources: Cornell Lab - Red-eyed Vireo

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Sunday, October 1, 2017

October 1, 2017

Location: Vero, Riverside Park

I'm a Yellow-throated Vireo,
My back's olive green and I have two white wing bars.
I have a yellow throat from which I get my name,
And I like to eat fruit, seeds, and arthropods.

Sources: Cornell Lab - Yellow Throated Vireo

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Saturday, September 30, 2017

September 30, 2017

Location: Titusville, Enchanted Forest

This is the shed of a Golden Orb Weaver.
Occasionally they shed their exoskeleton.
It's a good thing they've got another one underneath,
It would be hard to put all those legs back in!

Sources: How Spiders Work

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Friday, September 29, 2017

September 29, 2017

Location: Sebastian, private residence

I'm a Yellow-throated Warbler
Taking a bath in a Rubber-tree leaf.
I'll go out and forage for insects
After I get myself clean. 

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Thursday, September 28, 2017

September 28, 2017

Location: Palm Coast

A am a baby Great-horned Owl,
The things on top of my head are feathers, not ears.
The feathers that are on my facial disk,
Direct the sound to my actual ears.

Sources: Cornell Labs - Great Horned Owl

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

September 27, 2017

Location: Titusville, Enchanted Forest

I am an Eastern Screech Owl,
I can be reddish-brown or gray.
I'll eat anything from mice to bunnies,
And even song birds and Blue Jays.

Sources: Cornell Labs - Eastern Screech Owl

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

September 26, 2017

Location: Lake Apopka WMA

I'm known as a Barred Owl
I'm well disguised when I sleep in the day.
My main predator is the Great Horned Owl,
If one is in my neighborhood, I'll fly away!

You may have heard that I have a distinct call,
That's not just a rumor ,it is quite true,
If you walk by me I'll demand to know
Just one thing: "Who cooks for you?"

Sources: Cornell Labs - Barred Owl

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Monday, September 25, 2017

September 25, 2017

Location: Titusville, Oak Hammock Trail

I'm  a White-eyed Vireo,
I bathe by rubbing against wet leaves.
I look for food by hopping about,
Snapping up insects while I leap.

(Disclaimer: This is a picture I took a while ago, but I came across it last night while doing some research and realized I haven't used this bird yet on the blog!)

Sources: Cornell Lab - White-eyed Vireo

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Sunday, September 24, 2017

September 24, 2017

Location: Sebastian, private residence

I'm not gonna tell you what my name is,
But I'll tell you why birding is hard.
From a different angle, you can't tell who I am,
Though you've seen me a million times right in your yard.

(First person to correctly ID this bird wins a free nature magnet!)

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Saturday, September 23, 2017

September 23, 2017

Location: Sebastian, private residence

I am an immature Blue Jay.
My crest is brownish-grey and not big.
When I grow up my crest will be large and blue,
Or I'll buy myself a cheap wig.

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Friday, September 22, 2017

September 22, 2017

Location: Fellsmere, my house

I am a Camponotus floridanus,
Also known as Florida Carpenter Ant.
I like sweet foods, and nest in deadwood,
My head looks like I wear my hair in a bouffant.

Disclaimer: This bug is mostly nocturnal and this picture was taken in the evening. I am a preparing a lecture about Critters of the Night, so will be posting some night time critters for the next few days.)

(Thanks to Jason L. Williams from the Florida Entomology Facebook page for his help with the ID)

Sources: IFAS Featured Creatures - Florida Carpenter Ant

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Thursday, September 21, 2017

September 21, 2017

Location: Fellsmere, my house

I'm a Cuban Treefrog
In Florida I'm an invasive exotic.
I eat the native lizards, frogs, and snakes,
You could even call me despotic.

Sources: UF Wildlife Johnson Lab - Cuban Treefrog

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

September 20, 2017

Location: Riverside Park, Vero Beach

I'm a Caribbean Digger Wasp,
I do a horrifying thing to help my kids survive;
I paralyze prey with my venom,
Then my kids slowly eat it while it's still alive.

You might think that I'm a psychopath,
But I'm actually kind of neat.
My kids are well fed,  instead of dead,
They always eat really fresh meat.

(Special thanks to Heather Stapleton for her spotting and identification of this species.)

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

September 19, 2017

Location: Stuart, Possum Long Audubon Center

I am an Anadenobolus monilicornis,
Yellow-banded Millipede, more commonly.
Monkeys and Grackles rub me on their bodies,
‘Cause my secretions have insecticide properties.

(Special thanks to Heather Stapleton for the identification assistance.)

Sources: IFAS Extension - Yellow-banded Millipede

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Monday, September 18, 2017

September 18, 2017

Location: Cocoa

I'm an adult Garter Snake,
But why is my eye milky blue?
I get like this right before I shed my skin -
In a few days I'll look shiny and new.

But why do I shed my skin at all you ask?
Actually, your skin's kind of like mine -
Humans shed their skin in tiny bits,
I replace mine all at at the same time.

(Disclaimer: This is a picture I took a while ago but the subject of why does a snake have a milky blue eye came up, so I thought I would post this picture and explain it.)

Sources: Coexist With Snakes

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Sunday, September 17, 2017

September 17, 2017

Location: Stuart, Possum Long Audubon House

I am a Papilio cresphontes
More commonly, "Giant Swallowtail"
When I'm a caterpillar I can be a citrus pest,
As a butterfly, lantana nectar's my preferred ale.

Sources: Butterflies and Moths of North America - Giant Swallowtail

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Saturday, September 16, 2017

September 16, 2017

Location: Stuart, Possum Long Audubon Center

I'm a Monarch Butterfly,
I look similar, but am different from a Viceroy.
I migrate in spring, have no horizontal stripe on my wing,
But Müllerian mimicry is something we both employ.

Sources: Journey North - Monarch Butterfly

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Friday, September 15, 2017

September 15, 2017

Location: Fellsmere, my yard

I'm a Charadra deridens moth caterpillar,
"Laugher" is my common pseudonym.
I got that name because when I become a moth,
There's a laughing face pattern on my wing.

(Thanks to Carriebeth Golembeski from the Florida Entomology Facebook page for the ID help.)

Sources: BugGuide.net - Charandra deridens

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Thursday, September 14, 2017

September 14, 2017

Location: Fellsmere, my yard

I am a spider in the family Selenopidae,
Commonly known as a Wall Crab Spider or “Flattie”
My legs extend sideways and are twisted up,
Which helps me lay flat and also move at great speed.

(Thanks to Jim Strompolis from the Florida Entomology Facebook page for the ID help.)

Sources: Encyclopedia of Life - Selenopid Crab Spiders

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

September 13, 2017

Location: Fellsmere, my yard

I'm a baby Red-bellied Woodpecker,
Shown here with my mom.
In addition to a sharp pointy beak,
We also both have a Gene Simmons-like tongue.

Sources: Cornell Lab - Red-bellied Woodpecker

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

September 12, 2017

Location: Fellsmere, my yard

I'm a female Crab-like Spiny Orbweaver,
Shown here from the underside.
I only live for 2-5 weeks, lay my eggs,
And then I die.

In this picture you can see
My navel-like spinneret.
It's where I produce the silk to make my web
I live a short life with no time for  regrets.

Sources: Encyclopedia of Life - Gasteracantha cancriformis - Crab-like Spiny Orb Weaver

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Monday, September 11, 2017

September 11, 2017

Location: Fellsmere, my yard

I'm a female Crab-like Spiny Orbweaver
I look scary, but really I'm not.
Just think of my thorns as a pretty crown,
And my black spots as beauty marks.

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Sunday, September 10, 2017

September 10, 2017

Location: Fellsmere, Goodwin WMA

This is a Tabanus atratus
Also known as a Black Horse Fly.
Boy Black Horse Flies eat plant juice and nectar,
Girls eat mammal blood and have a mean bite.

(Thanks to Jim Stahl for the identification help!)

Sources: Encyclopedia of Life - Tabanus atratus - Black Horse Fly

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Saturday, September 9, 2017

September 9, 2017

Location: Fellsmere, Goodwin WMA

This is a Kosteletzkya virginica
Commonly known as Saltmarsh Mallow.
The petals are kind of whitish-pink,
And the stamen is kind of yallow.

(With special thanks [and apologies for the terrible rhyme] to Jim Stahl for the flower ID)

Sources: Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center Plant Database - Kosteletzkya virginica

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Friday, September 8, 2017

September 8, 2017

Location: Goodwin WMA

I am a Spotted Sandpiper,
Dressed in my non-breeding clothes.
Once I'm ready to find a girlfriend,
You'll see my spots that everyone knows!

Sources: Cornell Lab - Spotted Sandpiper

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Thursday, September 7, 2017

September 7, 2017

Location: Fellsmere, Goodwin WMA

I am an immature male Scarlet Skimmer,
Crocothemis servilla is my scientific name.
You can easily find me in the tropics and Asia,
Or in Florida where I was introduced by mistake.

Sources: The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species - Crocothemis servilia

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

September 6, 2017

Location: Fellsmere, Goodwin WMA

I am a female Halloween Pennant,
I'm called that because I'm orange and black.
I tend to perch in an unusual way -
With my forewings straight up and my hindwings down flat.

Sources: Odonata Central - Halloween Pennant

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

September 5, 2017

Location: Fellsmere, Goodwin WMA

I’m a male Erythemis simplicicollis,
An Eastern Pondhawk, more commonly.
My color pattern changes 17 times,
Based on the temperature and how much I eat.

Sources: Odonata Central - Eastern Pondhawk

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Monday, September 4, 2017

September 4, 2017

Location: Fellsmere, Goodwin WMA

I am a male Scarlet Skimmer,
I really live up to my name,
I am scarlet red, from my tail to my head,
And I skim over water to catch bugs - that's my game.

Sources: iNaturalist.org - Scarlet Skimmer

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Sunday, September 3, 2017

September 3, 2017

Location: Fellsmere, Goodwin WMA

I am a female Eastern Pondhawk
My wings are clear and the rest of me's green.
I can be found anywhere in America,
Where there are rivers or ditches or streams.

Sources: Odonata Central - Eastern Pondhawk

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Saturday, September 2, 2017

September 2, 2017

Location: Fellsmere, Goodwin WMA

I am a male Fiery Skipper,
My wingspan is only one and a half inches across.
I like to eat Sneezeweed and Asters,
My scientific name is Hylephila phyleus.

Sources: Butterflies and Moths of North America - Fiery Skipper

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson