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Sunday, December 31, 2017

December 31, 2017

Location: Vero Beach, McKee Gardens

I am a Monarch Butterfly
I migrate south with all my chums.
While there, I mate, then fly north and lay some eggs -
Caterpillars are the outcome.

Sources: Butterflies and Moths of North America - Monarch

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Saturday, December 30, 2017

December 30, 2017

Location: Vero Beach, McKee Gardens

I am a Red Rat Snake
I don't have venom or fangs.
So instead I give rodents or birds big hugs
When I'm feeling hunger pangs.

Sources: Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission - Red Rat Snake

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Friday, December 29, 2017

December 29, 2017

Location: Fellsmere, St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park, near Manatee overlook

I am an immature Bald Eagle,
Hiding in a pine tree.
Getting ready to prey upon
Critters that don't take notice of me.

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Thursday, December 28, 2017

December 28, 2017


Location: St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park

In a special video edition today, you can see why my American Bald Eagles have left their nest.


Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

December 27, 2017

Location: Cocoa, roadside on Cocoa Christmas Bird Count

I am a Blue-grey Gnatcatcher,
Mercury can affect my ability to think and breed.
It is found not only in water,
But in the spiders on which I feed.

Sources: How Much Should Major Polluters Pay? A DuPont Settlement Provides a Model  -- This is a long but fascinating (and a little scary) article that describes the science behind determining how birds are affected by mercury pollution. 

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

December 26, 2017

Location: Cocoa, City dump

I am often asked, "Isn't it difficult,
counting all those birds"?
"No," I say, "It's simple, count the eyes and divide by 2!"
(to quote my fathers words.)

(This picture was taken on the Cocoa Christmas bird count. It shows a mixture of Laughing Gulls, Ring-billed Gulls, Black Vultures, Turkey Vultures, and there were even a few Bald Eagles around, although not shown in this photo.)

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Monday, December 25, 2017

December 25, 2017

Location: Blountstown, private residence

This is Ilex vomitoria,
Commonly known as Yaupon Holly.
The leaves and twigs contain caffeine,
Which can make your holidays perky and jolly.

Sources: Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center Plant Database - Ilex vomitoria

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Sunday, December 24, 2017

December 24, 2017

Location: Cocoa, roadside on Christmas Bird Count

I am a Northern Cardinal
I dress in red, don't confuse me with St. Nick
His beard is white, my beard is black,
I sing my "cheer, cheer, cheer" song to you as my gift.

Sources: Cornell Lab - Northern Cardinal

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Saturday, December 23, 2017

December 23, 2017

Location: Rockledge, Cruickshank Sanctuary

This is a Pteridium aquilinum,
Also known as a Bracken fern.
It is believed to be a carcingen -
Don't eat it, you might end up in an urn.

Sources: Floridata - Pteridium aquilinum

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Friday, December 22, 2017

December 22, 2017

Location: Rockledge, Cruickshank Sanctuary

I am a Pine Warbler.
I like to hang out in pine trees.
Like many warblers, I have a yellow tummy,
So use the 2 white stripes on my wings for ID.

Sources: Cornell Lab - Pine Warbler

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Thursday, December 21, 2017

December 21, 2017

Location: Rockledge, Cruickshank Sanctuary

I'm known as a Wood Stork
I have a droopy beak and a black, bald head.
You might confuse me with with a White Ibis,
But their droopy beak is orangey-red.

Sources: Cornell Labs - Wood Stork

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

December 20, 2017

Location: Georgia, Lake Seminole State Park

I'm a Carolina Chickadee
I have white cheeks and I wear a black cap.
I've been known to hybridize with Black-cap Chickadees,
Where our ranges overlap.

Sources: Cornell Lab - Carolina Chickadee

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

December 19, 2017

Location: Georgia, Lake Seminole State Park

I'm an adult female Eastern Bluebird
I've got a grey head and bright blue wings.
My mate has a blue head and is a lazy guy,
He dances while I do our nest building.

Sources: Cornell Lab - Eastern Bluebird

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Monday, December 18, 2017

December 18, 2017

Location: Marianna, Florida Caverns State Park
Text.

I am a female Golden Orb Weaver.
I might bite, but it hurts less than a bee sting.
My boyfriend is much different than me
He's much smaller, dark brown, and boring.

Sources: UF/IFAS Featured Creatures - Golden Silk Spider

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Sunday, December 17, 2017

December 17, 2017

Location: Georgia, Seminole State Park

I'm a Common Buckeye butterfly,
I drink nectar from Astor and Chickory.
I have big eyespots on my wings,
To psych predators, not to see.

Sources: Butterflies and Moths of North America - Common Buckeye

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Saturday, December 16, 2017

December 16, 2017

Location: Georgia, Seminole State Park

I'm an Eastern Phoebe.
I like to eat bugs and insects.
But I'm in the flycatcher family,
So what else would you expect?

Sources: Cornell Lab - Eastern Phoebe

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Friday, December 15, 2017

December 15, 2017

Location: Marianna, Florida Caverns State Park

I am a Ruby-crowned Kinglet.
You cannot see my ruby-red crown.
That might be because I'm a female,
Or I'm a male and it's covered by brown.

The crown only shows when I'm excited
So look for other clues to my ID.
Such as the white eye ring and wing bars,
And I'm almost always flicking my wings.

Sources: Cornell Lab - Ruby-crowned Kinglet

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Thursday, December 14, 2017

December 14, 2017

Location: Marianna, Florida Caverns State Park

I am problably a Mesodon thyroidus,
White-lip Globe, more commonly.
Dee should have photographed my underside,
To obtain a more positive ID.

I learn so much writing this blog, and have had so many people contribute their knowledge. Very special thanks to Bill Frank from the Jacksonville Shells web site and Dr. Harry Lee for their help in identifying this snail.

To quote Bill Frank, "When anticipating that help with identification may be required, make sure that you photograph the ventral side (bottom) of the snail.

Sources: Jacksonville Shells

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

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