If you are enjoying this blog, click here to purchase a 2018 calendar featuring my photography!

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

December 13, 2017

Location: Marianna, Florida Caverns State Park

I too, am a female Green Anole,
Notice I'm green, I am not brown.
I can change my color whenever I like,
But the reasons why I do aren't well known.

Sources: Anole Annals - New Study on Color Change in Green Anoles

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

December 12, 2017

Location: Marianna, Florida Caverns State Park

I am a female Green Anole.
(Note the white stripe down my back.)
You can find me all over the south east,
From forests to cul de sacs.

Sources: How to Determine the Sex of a Green Anole

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Monday, December 11, 2017

December 11, 2017

Location: Rockledge, Cruickshank Sanctuary

This is knowns as Pricklypear.
The white spots are a fungus.
Unfortunately, this specimen is not healthy,
And will soon no longer be among us.

Sources: Jim Stahl, on guided plant walk.

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Sunday, December 10, 2017

December 10, 2017

Location: Blountstown, private residence


I am known as a Swamp Sparrow.
I'm a small songbird with red on my wings.
When I'm breeding I wear a jaunty red cap,
And a simple, slow trill's how I sing.

Sources: Cornell Lab - Swamp Sparrow


Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Saturday, December 9, 2017

December 9, 2017

Location: Blountstown, private residence

I am a Swamp Sparrow, mooning you.
My legs are longer than other sparrow species.
This allows me to forage in water,
So I can eat aquatic invertebrate beasties.

Sources: Cornell Labs - Swamp Sparrow

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Friday, December 8, 2017

December 8, 2017

Location: Blountstown, private residence

I am a Squirrel Treefrog
I can be colored tan, brown, green, or grey.
I have big, sticky toe pads and
I'm nocturnal, you won't see me during the day.

Sources: UF Johnson Wildlife Lab - Squirrel Treefrog

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Thursday, December 7, 2017

December 7, 2017

Location: Marianna, Florida Caverns State Park

I am a Suwannee Cooter.
I spend most of my life in the water.
I can lay 6 clutches of 20 eggs in a year,
And have 120 babies to call me "Mater"

Sources: Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission - Suwanee Cooter

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

December 6, 2017

Location: Marianna, Florida Caverns State Park

I'm known as a Hermit thrush,
I like to hunt for bugs in leaf litter.
When I've been scared and can't decide to run or stay,
My feet begin to quiver.

Sources: Cornell Lab - Hermit Thrush

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

December 5, 2017

Location: Blountstown, private residence

This is Leavenworth's Tickseed,
Coreopsis leavenworthii, in your wildflower guide.
It is used to save both lives and energy,
When it's planted along the road side.

Sources: Establishment of Leavenworth's Tickseed (Coreopsis leavenworthii) on Roadside Right-of-Ways

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Monday, December 4, 2017

December 4, 2017

Location: Blountstown, private residence

We are known as Leaffooted bugs,
Shown here crawling on a Salt Bush.
We can infest many crops, such as veggies and fruits,
And can be a real pain in the tush.

Sources: UF/IFAS Featured Creatures: Leaffooted Bug

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Sunday, December 3, 2017

December 3, 2017

Location: Blountstown, private residence

This is Solidago odora,
Sweet Goldenrod, more commonly.
Its pollen is heavy and is not airborne,
And is falsely blamed for allergies.

Sources:Florida Native Plant Society Native Plant Owners Manual - Solidago odora

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Saturday, December 2, 2017

December 2, 2017

Location: Blountstown, private residence

This is a Cirsium horridulum,
In some places it's endangered, in others it's a noxious weed.
In Florida, butterflies like it's flower's nectar,
And some birds like to snack on it's seeds.

Sources:
Florida Native Plant Society - Cirsium horridulum - purple thistle, yellow thistle

USDA - Plant Profile for Cirsium horridulum

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Friday, December 1, 2017

December 1 2017

Location: Rockledge, Cruickshank Sanctuary

I'm a Florida Scrub Jay
It's easy to take good pictures of me.
Unfortunately this is a bad thing;
I'm used to people feeding me treats.

Feeding endangered species like me
Is illegal and bad for my health.
It can not only disrupt my breeding cycle,
It can also endanger your wealth.

(Feeding endangered species is prohibited in Florida.)

Sources: Wikipedia - Dangers of feeding Scrub Jays

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Thursday, November 30, 2017

November 30, 2017

Location: Titusville, Enchanted Forest

I'm a female Cloudless Sulphur butterfly.
My wings are edged with black, but I'm yellow over all.
My boyfriend's wings are edged in light brown,
And we both migrate south in the fall.

My color when I'm a caterpillar
Is based on my favorite cuisine:
If I snack on flowers my larvae is yellow,
If I eat leaves, the larvae is green.

Sources: UF/IAFS Featured Creatures: Cloudless Sulphur (Phoebis sennae)

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

November 29, 2017

Location: Orlando, Lake Eola

I'm a bird known as a Black Swan
People used to think only white swans exist.
Until 1697 when Willem de Vlamingh,
Went to Australia and added me to his life list.

Sources: Black swan: the impossible bird

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

November 28, 2017

Location: Orlando, Lake Eola

I am a feral Rock Pigeon.
I'm truly a beauty to behold.
I used to be raised for meat,
And my poop was worth it's weight in gold!

Sources: Feral pigeon: flying rat or urban hero?

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Monday, November 27, 2017

November 27, 2017

Location: Orlando, Lake Eola

I'm a feral Rock Pigeon,
For centuries, I've been domesticated.
In World War II I won medals,
Today, my intelligence is underrated.

Sources: Feral pigeon: flying rat or urban hero?

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Sunday, November 26, 2017

November 26, 2017

Location: Orlando, Lake Eola

I’m a swan known as a Whooper.
I’m native to places like Saskatchewan.
I’m mostly known for my whoop-whoop call.
And I’m related to the Trumpeter Swan.

Sources: Audubon Birds of North America - Whooper Swan

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Saturday, November 25, 2017

November 25, 2017


Location: Orlando, Lake Eola

I'm known as a Mallard Duck,
The blue wing patch is a defining mark.
I like to eat seeds and aquatic vegetation.
You can find me in wetlands, ponds, and parks.

Sources: All About Birds: Mallard Duck

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Friday, November 24, 2017

November 24, 2017

Location: Orlando, Lake Eola

I am a Snowy Egret.
My shoes and sox don’t match.
Though I’ll never be Beau Brummell,
To plume hunters I was quite the catch.

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Thursday, November 23, 2017

November 23, 2017

Location: Orlando, Lake Eola

I’m a Greylag Goose on the left,
On the right I am a Swan Goose
We mated and had a baby
Yesterday, you saw our little papoose.

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

November 22, 2017

Location: Orlando, Lake Eola

I am a Greylag and Swan Goose hybrid
I have gray feathers like a greylag Goose
Like a swan Goose, I have an orange knob on my forehead.
I’m not native I’m a feral that someone let loose.

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

November 21, 2017

Location: Orlando, Lake Eola

I am a Common Gallinule.
I have a candy-corn beak.
I can walk on soft mud and vegetation
With my long toed, big yellow feet.

Sources: Cornell Lab - Common Gallinule

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Monday, November 20, 2017

November 20, 2017

Location: Orlando, Lake Eola

I'm known as a Mute Swan.
I eat voraciously.
I'm also a symbol for love and romance,
Cause I totally dig monogamy.

Sources: Cornell Lab - Mute Swan

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Sunday, November 19, 2017

November 19, 2017

Location: Fellsmere, Goodwin Wildlife Management Area

I'm known as a Loggerhead Shrike.
I'm the only songbird of prey.
When you see what I do with my hooked beak and talons,
You'll know why Butcher Bird's my sobriquet.

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Saturday, November 18, 2017

November 18, 2017

Location: Orlando, Lake Eola

I'm an adult Muscovy Duck,
Most of my cuteness is gone.
I'm kind of bummed out, when I was young,
I thought I'd grow into a Swan!

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Friday, November 17, 2017

November 17, 2017

Location: Orlando, Lake Eola

I'm a few-weeks old Muscovy Duck
My feathers are now turning brown.
But I'm still so cute, don't you just want
To hug me sun up till sun down?

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Thursday, November 16, 2017

November 16, 2017

Location: Lake Eola, Orlando

I'm a baby Muscovy Duck.
I am the sweetest ducky that ever was born.
I'm fuzzy and cuddly and all that is good,
And I'm the color of sweet baby corn.

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

November 15, 2017

Location: Fellsmere, my bird feeder

I'm known as a Raccoon,
I'm usually not out when it's light.
Sometimes you'll see me during the day,
Which could be a sign that something's not right.

It could just be that I'm hungry,
Or I'm out taking care of my babies,
But be careful, abnormal behavior,
Sometimes can be a sign of rabies.

Sources: Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission - Rabies

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

November 14, 2017

Location: Sebastian, Sebastian Scrub

I am an Eastern Lubber grasshopper.
If you are tempted to pick me up, use self-control.
I excrete a toxic, foul smelling froth,
From my spiracle breathing hole.

Sources: UF/IFAS Featured Creatures - Eastern Lubber Grasshopper

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Monday, November 13, 2017

November 13, 2017

Location: Fellsmere, St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park

This is a plant in the Liatris genus
Also known as Blazing Star.
It grows well in dry, sandy soil.
And makes tasty butterfly nectar.

(Thanks to Jim Stahl for the help with the ID!)

Sources: Natives for Your Neighborhood - Blazing Star

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Sunday, November 12, 2017

November 12, 2017

Location: Sebastian, Friendship Park

I'm known as a Gopher Tortoise.
I usually live in dry, sandy scrub.
But I can also be found on golf courses and roads,
So watch where you're driving, bub!

(Tip to those living in Florida: If you see a Gopher Tortoise trying to cross the street, if you help him across, make sure that you help it to the side to which it was heading, otherwise they will just try to cross again as soon as you leave.)

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Saturday, November 11, 2017

November 11, 2017

Location: Sebastian Scrub, Sebastian

I'm known as Mimus polyglottosis.
Polyglottos means "multiple languages" in Greek.
I can sing the words to other birds songs,
With my urbane, cosmopolitain beak.

Sources: Wikipedia - Mockingbird

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Friday, November 10, 2017

November 10, 2017

Location: Sebastian, Sebastian Scrub

I'm a Northern Flicker,
I'm in the woodpecker family.
My flight pattern is similar to all woodpeckers,
My wingbeats go: schwoop... schwoop...weeee

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Thursday, November 9, 2017

November 9, 2017

Location: Sebastian, Sebastian Scrub

I'm known as a Red-tailed Hawk,
I have more white on my tummy than a Red-shoulder.
If you hear a raptor in a movie it's probably my voice -
I guess bird calls are in the ear of the beholder.

Sources: Cornell Lab - Red-tailed Hawk

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

November 8, 2017

Location: Titusville, Enchanted Forest

These are known as Forked Bluecurls.
Trichostema dichotomum is their scientific name.
These plants are widespread in the eastern US
From Florida all the way up to Maine.

Sources: Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center - Trichostema dichotomum

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

November 7, 2017

Location: St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park

I am a Brown-headed Nuthatch.
My call sounds like a dogs squeaky toy.
I'm a rare bird in that I use tools to find food,
I don't need to use my beak like the hoi polloi.

Sources: Cornell Lab - Brown-headed Nuthatch

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Monday, November 6, 2017

November 6, 2017


Location: St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park, Fellsmere

I'm a yellow subspeices of Palm Warbler,
I fly south in the spring and live in eastern states.
My counterparts in the west migrate south,
Also in spring, but at later dates.

Sources: Cornell Lab - Palm Warbler

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Sunday, November 5, 2017

November 5, 2017

Location: UF IFAS Extension Brevard County office, Cocoa

I am a Brazilian Free-tailed bat,
I have a broken wing so I can't fly.
So I work with Florida Bat Conservancy,
Teaching people how to help my species survive.

You know that expression, "like a bat out of hell"?
It's cause I can fly at incredible speeds!
Many people are afraid of bats,
But I'm adorably cute, there's no need to fear me.

Discclaimer: This picture wasn't taken at 8:00 a.m. - it was taken during an evening class I took to further my Florida Master Naturalist credentials. I adore bats though, and it's hard to get a picture of them at 8:00 a.m. as they are, of course, nocturnal.

Sources:


Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Saturday, November 4, 2017

November 4, 2017


Location: St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park

I am a Lithobates capito,
Also known as a Gopher Frog.
The main threats to my survival
Are habitat loss and fish who eat my eggs from ponds.

Sources: Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission  - Gopher Frog

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Friday, November 3, 2017

November 3, 2017

Location: Titusville, Enchanted Forest

This is Creeping Cucumber,
Melothria pendula is it's scientific name.
The tiny watermelon-shaped fruit is edible when it's young,
But when the fruit's older and darker, it's not the same!

Special thanks to Jim Stahl for his confirmation on the ID of this plant!

Sources: Wildflowers of the United States - Melothria pendula

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Thursday, November 2, 2017

November 2, 2017

Location: Titusville, Enchanted Forest

I'm known as an Oak Toad,
I live in the pine flatwoods and sandy scrub.
My call's high-pitched and somewhat bird-like,
I sing soprano in the critter glee club.

Sources: UF Wildlife Johnson Lab - Oak Toad

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

November 1, 2017

Location: Titusville, Enchanted Forest

I'm a little Bumblebee,
Basking on a flower.
I'll carry pollen from plant to plant.
Pollination's my super power!

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

October 31, 2017


Location: Fellsmere, Fellsmere Grade Recreation Area

This is the nest of a Barn Swallow.
It's shaped just like a cup.
The nest is lined with grass to make it comfy,
It's walls are pellets made with grass stems and mud.

Sources: Cornell Lab - Barn Swallows

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Monday, October 30, 2017

October 30, 2017

Location: Sebastian Inlet State Park

This is the Madagascar Periwinkle,
It can self-pollinate or be pollinated by bugs.
It contains many toxic alkaloids,
Which are used in cancer-fighting drugs.

Sources: Encyclopedia of Life: Catharanthus roseus - Madagascar Periwinkle

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Sunday, October 29, 2017

October 29, 2017

Location: Melbourne Beach, Sebastian Inlet State Park

I am a Reddish Egret,
But I am a white morph, I have no red at all.
You can tell I'm a Reddish Egret by my chunky beak,
And compared to a white-phase Little Blue I'm quite tall.

Note: Despite the lack of red, this is still a Reddish Egret. Little Blues go through a white phase when they are young, which they grow out of. Compare with a white morph, which is a lifetime coloring. 

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Saturday, October 28, 2017

October 28, 2017

Location: Fellsmere, Goodwin Wildlife Management Area

I'm a male Boat-tailed Grackle,
I'm resident to Florida all year round.
But in north-east Florida my eyes are yellow,
And in central-east Florida my eyes are brown,

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Friday, October 27, 2017

October 27, 2017

Location: Titusville, Enchanted Forest

This is a tree known as Hercules Club,
Also known as the "Toothache Tree".
Sailors were known to take pieces of this bark with them,
To numb tooth aches encountered at sea.

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Thursday, October 26, 2017

October 26, 2017

Location: Melbourne Beach, Sebastian Inlet state Park

We are Ruddy Turnstones,
We usually live up to our name.
But even with six of us trying real hard,
I don't think we'll turn this over. Dang!

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

October 25, 2017

Location: Vero Beach, Riverside Park

I am known as a Gray Kingbird,
My bill's larger than the Eastern Kingbird species.
In the Caribbean I've been known to eat hummingbirds,
But I usually eat fruit and bug-type beasties.

Sources: Audubon Guide to North American Birds - Grey Kingbird

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson