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Sunday, April 22, 2018

April 22, 2018

Location: Cocoa Beach, Lori Wilson Park

This is known as Coral Bean
There's more to it than you might infer -
It's beans can poison rats or paralyze fish,
And it's flowers attract Hummingbirds.

Sources: University of Florida Extension - Erythrina herbacea

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Saturday, April 21, 2018

April 21, 2018

Location: Cocoa Beach, Lori Wilson Park

I am a Scincella lateralis,
Also known as a Ground Skink.
I am copper colored, with a dark side stripe,
I've tiny legs, but I'm fast and can be gone in a blink.

Sources: Savannah River Ecology Laboratory University of Georgia Herpetology Program - Ground Skink (Scincella lateralis)

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Friday, April 20, 2018

April 20, 2018

Location: Cocoa Beach, Lori Wilson Park

I am a Northern Cardinal
I am monogamous, but serially,
That means I stay with my mate for a season,
Then we split - let's blame pruriency.

Special guest photographer: David Simpson

Sources: Animal Diversity Web - Northern Cardinal

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Thursday, April 19, 2018

April 19, 2018

Location: Fellsmere, Broadway

I'm known as a Click Beetle
I have false eyes that are white and black.
I got my name because I make a clicking sound
When I turn over if I get stuck on my back.

Sources: Bugguude.net - Click Beetles

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

April 18. 2018

Location: Vero, Vero Beach Museum of Art

I'm a Curly-tailed Lizard
I escape predators in a tricky way
I curl my tail to make them think it's my head,
When they attack, my tail breaks off and I run away.

But don't worry about me, I'm not actually hurt,
Like many lizards I will
Grow back a new tail, and be perfectly fine
Because my tail is detachable.

Sources: Wild South Florida - Northern Curly-Tailed Lizard

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

April 17, 2018

Location: Fellsmere, Goodwin Waterfowl Management Area

We are Roseate Spoonbills,
We've formed our own rock band
This is the cover of our first album,
It's called "We Use Our Beak as a Hand"

We really do use our beak as a hand,
That is true of birds of all classes
But Dee gets lots of "likes" for  Spoons',
We think she is pandering to the masses...

 (Ok, this is probably my last Roseate picture till next breeding season. But honestly who doesn't love a Roseate Spoonbill picture? ) 

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Monday, April 16, 2018

April 16, 2018

Location: Cocoa Beach, Lori Wilson Park

This is the fruit of a Fig tree,
Here's a tip: If you want to find birds,
Look for the stuff that they love to eat,
Like these berries, on which birds will gorge!

Sources: David Simpson, Birding with David Simpson

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Sunday, April 15, 2018

April 15, 2018

Location: Fellsmere, Goodwin Waterfowl Management Area

Two Spoonbills and an Anhiga
Roosting in a tree.
Mom Spoonbill is feeding the baby
The Anhinga's just being neighborly.

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Saturday, April 14, 2018

April 14, 2018

Location: St, Lucie, Savannas Preserve State Park

This is Pterocaulon pycnostachyum,
Commonly known as Blackroot.
It's roots are black, leaves long and thin,
And the flower - a white spike that droops.

Sources: Wild South Florida - Blackroot
The Guide to Florida Wildflowers by Walter Kingsley Taylor

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Friday, April 13, 2018

April 13, 2018

Location: St, Lucie, Savannas Preserve State Park

This is Hypoxis juncea,
Known as Yellow-star Grass more commonly.
It has a small yellow flower and no leaves
And the top half of its stem is hairy.

Sources: The Guide to Florida Wildflowers, Walter Kingsley Taylor

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Thursday, April 12, 2018

April 12, 2018

Location: St, Lucie, Savannas Preserve State Park

This is the aftermath of a prescribed fire
That took place a few weeks ago.
After prescribed burns, it's common for ferns
To come back quickly and grow and grow!
               
(You might even say they grow... like wildfire!)

Sources: FFWCC - Prescribed Fire

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

April 11, 2018

Location: St, Lucie, Savannas Preserve State Park

This is Polygala Nana
Commonly called Bachelor Button or Candyroot.
It produces showy yellow flowers,
And is small but incredibly cute.

Sources: Ladybird Johnson Wildflorwer Center - Polygala Nana

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

April 10, 2018

Location: St, Lucie, Savannas Preserve State Park

This is Wild Pennyroyal
It is a type of mint.
It's scientific name, Pilblephis rigida
Translates to “Rigid hairy eyelid”

“Hairy eyelid” is a reference to
Tiny hairs on the eye-lid shaped leaves
The plant’s branches are known to be rigid
So the name's not quite as bizarre as it seems.

Sources: Wild South Florida - Wild Pennyroyal

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Monday, April 9, 2018

April 9, 2018

Location: Fellsmere, Goodwin Waterfowl Management Area

I am a Roseate Spoonbill.
You can tell I'm younger cause I'm very pale pink
As I get older my colors get bolder
My color is influenced by food such as shrimp.

Sources: Cornell Lab - Roseate Spoonbill 

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Sunday, April 8, 2018

April 8, 2018

Location: St, Lucie, Savannas Preserve State Park

This is a Aster Reticulatus
Whitetopped Aster more commonly.
It has heads of drooping white petals,
And can spread quickly and form colonies.

(Special thanks to David Simpson for the ID help.)

Sources: Coastal Plains Plants - Oclemena reticulata

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Saturday, April 7, 2018

April 7, 2018

Location: St, Lucie, Savannas Preserve State Park

This is a Emilia fosbergii
Commonly known as Florida Tasselflower.
It contains toxic alkaloids harmful to humans.
And is something you should not ever devour.

(Special thanks to David Simpson for theID help.)

Sources: Wild South Florida - Red Florida Tasselflower

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Friday, April 6, 2018

April 6, 2018

Location: Okeechobee, Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park

I'm a Dasychira meridionalis,
The caterpillar of the Southern Tussock Moth.
Unfortunately I have been parasitized
Most likely by a Braconid wasp.

(Very special thanks to Lyle Buss from the Insect Identification Lab, Entomology & Nematology Dept. University of Florida for his help with the ID of both the caterpillar and the parasite.)

Sources:


Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Thursday, April 5, 2018

April 5, 2018

Location: Fellsmere, Goodwin Waterfowl Management Area

I am an adult Limpkin
Shown here dismounting the balance beam
I'm a beautiful, tall, and graceful bird,
Nadia Comăneci got nothing on me!

Sources: Nadia Comăneci - First Perfect 10

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

April 4, 2018

Location: Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park

I am an Eastern Phoebe
You might confuse me with a Wood Pewee
But Pewees are darker and have longer wings,
And they don't wag their tails, unlike me.

Sources: National Geographic Animals - Eastern Phoebe

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

April 3, 2018

Location: Sebastian, Sebastian Inlet State Park

These are most likely Ligia pallasii
Known as Rock Louse more commonly.
It is in the order Isopoda,
Which can live in fresh water, on land, or the sea.

(Very special thanks to Nathan Burkett-Cadena, PhD Assistant Professor, University of Florida | IFAS Florida Medical Entomology Laboratory for his assistance with this ID. I took this picture last year and have been trying to ID since then.)

Sources: NOAA Ocean Explorer - What is an Isopod?

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Monday, April 2, 2018

April 2, 2018

Location: Vero Beach, Fort Drum Marsh Conservation Area

I am a Banded Watersnake
I just ate something totally delish.
You can tell by the huge bulge in my belly,
It was probably a frog or a fish.

You can determine my identification
By the black lines on my chin
As well as the brown stripes on my side
But don't pick me up or you will get bit.
But I'm non-venomous and won't kill you,
I'll mostly try to get away from you lickety split.

Sources: Facts About Water Snakes

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Sunday, April 1, 2018

April 1, 2018

Location: Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park

I'm a Black and White Warbler
You might think this picture is flipped, but it's not.
I like to climb around, upside down,
And pick bugs from their hiding spots.

Sources: Audubon Guide to Birds of North America - Black and White Warbler

Bonus Post: Rare Bird Alert!!! I saw what I thought at first was a Belted Kingfisher on my feeder. Then I realized that the color and size were totally wrong. I'm pretty sure that it's a type of Roller bird. Can anyone confirm the species?

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Saturday, March 31, 2018

March 31, 2018

Location: Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park

I'm known as a Carolina Wren,
I could possibly cause Dee a divorce.
Every time she hears me sing, she says "What is that?"
David rolls his eyes and replies, "CAROLINA WREN, OF COURSE!"

But in Dee's defense, I have a repertoire
Of dozens of possible songs,
And if you hear a different song but don't see me,
It's easy to get my name wrong!

Sources: Cornell Lab - Carolina Wren Sounds

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Friday, March 30, 2018

March 30, 2018

Location: Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park

I'm known as an American Crow,
I kind of look like I'm in silhouette.
I can be confused with a Fish Crow,
But I'm slightly bigger and heavier-set.

Sources: Cornell Lab - American Crow Similar Species

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Thursday, March 29, 2018

March 29, 2018

Location: Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park

I'm known as a Red-Shouldered Hawk.
I belong to the Florida race;
I'm a bit smaller than northern hawks are,
And I'm nearly white on my tummy and face.

Sources: Cornell Lab - Red-shouldered Hawk (scroll to Regional Differences section.)

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

March 28, 2018

Location: Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park

I am a young American Alligator,
My age is around two or three.
You can estimate my age because I still have stripes on my tail,
But I'm no longer protected by my mommy.

Sources: Smithsonian's National Zoo & Conservation Biology Institute - American Alligator

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

March 27, 2018

Location: Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park

I am known as a Black Racer
I'm common throughout the southeastern United States.
I'm non-venomous, and mostly quite shy,
But will bite if the situation dictates;

My bite is basically harmless,
But I do have pretty sharp teeth.
So it's best that you admire me from afar.
And just let me live in peace.

Sources: Florida Museum - Southern Black Racer

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Monday, March 26, 2018

March 26, 2018

Location: Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park

I'm an Eastern Meadowlark
I eat insects and occasional fruit.
My nest can be just a woven cup on the ground,
Or it might include tunnels and even a roof!

Sources: Cornell Lab - Eastern Meadowlark Life History

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Sunday, March 25, 2018

March 25, 2018

Location: Fellsmere, St. Sebastian Preserve State Park

This is a nest box for a Brown-headed Nuthatch,
They, too are cavity nesters.
But unlike RCWs, they'll live
In boxes provided by human protectors.

Sources: Helping Cavity Nesters in Florida
Cornell Lab - Brown-headed Nuthatch

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Saturday, March 24, 2018

March 24, 2018

Location: Fellsmere, St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park

This is an artificial cavity,
Built in anticipation of a special release -
The Red-Cockaded Woodpecker,
Who needs a tree with Red-heart disease.

The park is trying to enhance
The RCW breeding population.
So they release new woodpeckers into these holes,
In hopes of baby woodpecker creation.

(Note: I had a slight technical error in yesterdays. Post. Please see the updated version. Thanks to my honeybee for catching and helping me fix the error. )

Sources:  Red-Cockaded Woodpecker Populations Begin Rebound
U.S Fish and Wildlife Service - Red-Cockaded Woodpecker Recovery

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Friday, March 23, 2018

March 23, 2018

Location: Fellsmere, St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park

This is the hole of a woodpecker
It's a natural cavity.
A woodpecker, probably Red-bellied,
Made it so he'd have a place to breed.

Well, technically the Red-bellied Woodpecker
Enlarged a Red-cockaded's hole,
In an attempt to take over this tree
And make it his new home.

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Thursday, March 22, 2018

March 22, 2018

Location: Fellsmere, Goodwin Wildlife Management Area

This is the egg of a heron
Perhaps a Snowy Egret or a Little Blue
Herons nest in large colonies for safety,
But it's not 100 percent fool-proof.

Sources: Colonial Nesting Wading Birds

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

March 21, 2018

Location: Fellsmere, St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park

This is an Asimina reticulata
Reticulate Paw Paw, more commonly.
It flowers were used by the Seminole indians,
To make a kidney disorder medicinal tea.

Special thanks to Jim Stahl for the positive ID on this plant!

Sources: Florida Wildflowers in Their Natural Communities, Walter Kings Taylor

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

March 20, 2018

Location: Location

I am a Mallard/Muscovy hybrid.
My body is shaped like a Mallard ducks.
Like the Muscovy, my feathers are iridescent,
Like a regular duck gone deluxe!

Sources: ID based on personal interview with David Simpson

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Monday, March 19, 2018

March 19, 2018

Location: Melbourne, Fee Library

I am an American Coot
I'm black with a mostly white nose.
I have a red blotch on my forehead,
And yellow-green, long bulbous toes.

Sources: Cornell Lab - American Coot

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Sunday, March 18, 2018

March 18, 2018

Location: Melbourne, Fee Library

I am a hybrid Swan/Greylag Goose
Like the Swan Goose, I have a knob at the base of my bill.
Like the Greylag, my bill is orange.
Identifying hybrids is an acquired skill

Sources: Confusing Domestic Geese and Hybrids
RSPB - Greylag Goose

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Saturday, March 17, 2018

March 17, 2018

Location: Melbourne, Fee Library

I'm known as a Muscovy Duck
And although my face is a fright,
I'm not as useless as some people think*
I'm known for chowing down on Termites.

* My sweetheart isn't a fan of the Muscovy duck.

Sources: Cornell Lab - Muscovy Duck

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Friday, March 16, 2018

March 16, 2018

Location: Fellsmere, St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park

This is Shiny Lyonia
A Florida native plant.
Native Bumblebees can easily pollinate it,
But Honeybees, with their shorter tongues can't.

Sources: Floridata  Plant Encyclopedia - Lyonia lucida

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Thursday, March 15, 2018

March 15, 2018

Location: Melbourne, Fee Library

I am a male House Sparrow,
I'm not related to the other sparrows you see.
I'm fatter and have a large, round head.
And because of my abundance, I'm popular to study.

Sources: Cornell Lab - House Sparrow

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

March 14, 2018

Location: Vero Beach, West Regional WWTP

Today, I'm a Salt Marsh Caterpillar,
Soon I'll be a pupae for about two weeks.
Then when my metamorphosis is complete,
A Salt Marsh Moth is what I'll be.

(Special thanks to John Capinera, Professor Emeritus & Co-Editor, Florida Entomologist, Entomology & Nematology Department at the University of Florida for helping me confirm the ID. In the future when attempting to ID caterpillars, I will remember to get a lateral view and a picture of the head as per his advice.)

Sources: Butterflies and Moths of North America - Salt Marsh Moth or Acrea Moth - Estigmene acrea

UF|IFAS Featured Creatures - Salt Marsh Caterpillar

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

March 13, 2018

Location: Palm Bay, Malabar Scrub

I am known as a Gopher Tortoise,
You can tell that I'm fairly old -
My back is scuffed up and almost smooth
From years of going in and out of my hole.

Sources: Animal Diversity Web - Gopherus polyphemus (Florida) Gopher Tortoise

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Monday, March 12, 2018

March 12, 2018

Location: Satellite Beach, Samsons Island

These are Madagascar Periwinkles
They are used to fight diabetes and cancer.
Who knows what other plants might help humans?
Maintaining biodiversity will help find more answers.

Sources: Kewscience Plants of the World Online - Catharanthus roseus
GreenFacts - Biodiversity and Human Well-being

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Sunday, March 11, 2018

March 11, 2018

Location: Vero Beach, West Regional WWTP

I am a female Northern Shoveler
I'm known as a "dabbling" duck.
This means that I don't dive for my food,
My head goes below water but my tail stays up.

(Confidential to the women I was sitting with at the FrogWatch training: The mystery is now solved. They were not amoebas.)

Sources: Divers Vs. Dabblers

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Saturday, March 10, 2018

March 10 2018

Location: Matanzas Inlet

I'm known as a Swamp Sparrow
I live in southeastern marshes in the wintertime.
When summer comes round, and I get in the mood
I breed up north in the colder climes.

Sources: Audubon Guide to North American Birds - Swamp Sparrow

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Friday, March 9, 2018

March 9, 2018

Location: Satellite Beach, Samson's Island

I'm known as a Red-shouldered Hawk,
I'm much harder to ID from the back
The other most likely bird would be Coopers Hawk
And here’s how we know the it’s not that:

Let’s zero in on the tail here -
It’s about half the length of his body
If this were a Coop’s the tail would be longer,
About the full length of his body.

(Sorry to rhyme "body" with "body" - I know that goes against the rules of poetry, but I had to go for scientific accuracy here as telling hawks apart is quite difficult.)

Sources: Interview with David Simpson.


Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Thursday, March 8, 2018

March 8, 2018

Location: Satellite Beach, Samsons Island

These are known as Red Mangroves,
You can ID them by their umbrella-like roots.
Often in or near brackish water, you'll find
Their embryonic root propagules.

Sources: Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce - Red Mangrove 

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

March 7, 2018

Location: Satellite Beach, Samson's Island

Now this is known as an ant hill
Which an ant can easily climb
Because the sand is packed harder
Than the loose slope made by the antlion.

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

March 6, 2018

Location: Satellite Beach, Samson's Island

This is the work of an Antlion
They build traps just for ants
The antlion waits for clumsy prey
Who slide down and want to escape but can’t!

Sources: UF|IFAS Featured Creatures - Antlion

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Monday, March 5, 2018

March 5, 2018

Location: Fellsmere, my yard

These are known as Azaleas
They have both male and female antennae
The long pink antenna is the female Stigma,
The male Anthers are shorter and there are many.

The Anthers produce the pollen,
Which is transferred to the Stigma by a bug or a bird
This helps to make the plant make flowers,
That beautify the world.

Sources: A Close-up View of an Azalea

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Sunday, March 4, 2018

March 4, 2018

Location: Fellsmere, Goodwin Wildlife Management Area

Twas a tale of star crossed lovers
And a warning they wouldn’t heed
That resulted in this abomination -
A Spoonbill-Cattle Egret cross breed.

(Ok, I admit I'm torn - I strive to keep this blog entertaining but scientifically accurate. But occassionally I come home with a photo and I just have to go with the cheap joke :-)

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson