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Saturday, October 20, 2018

October 20, 2018

Location: Malabar, Malabar Scrub

This is Lachnanthes caroliana
Called Redroot more commonly.
It is a perennial plant and native here,
And it's in the Bloodwort family.

Sources: UF | IFAS Center for Aquatic and Invasive plants - Lachnanthes caroliniana

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Friday, October 19, 2018

October 19, 2018

Location: Malabar, Malabar Scrub

This is Chamaecrista fasciculata
Commonly known as Partridge Pea.
It's large, showy flowers with red accents,
Just call out, "Come on Get Happy!"

Sources: Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center - Chamaecrista fasciculata

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Thursday, October 18, 2018

October 18, 2018

Location: Malabar, Malabar Scrub

This is a female Dahoon Holly.
It's branches have green leaves and red berries on the end.
The plant is dioecious which means
To get berries it needs a boyfriend.

Sources: Florida Native Plant Society - Ilex Cassine

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

October 17, 2018

Location: Malabar, Malabar Scrub

This is Coreopsis leavenworthii
Being visited by an insect.
It's the state wildflower in Florida
And self-seeds so can grow unchecked.

Sources: Florida Native Plant Society - Coreopsis leavenworthii

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

October 16, 2018

Location: Malabar, Malabar Scrub

I am a Florida Scrub Jay
This is my acorn and you can't have it.
I'm gonna bury it to eat it later
I hope I remember where I stash it!

Sources: Cornell Lab - Florida Scrub Jay

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Monday, October 15, 2018

October 15, 2018

Location: Malabar, Malabar Scrub

This is a Gopher Apple
When it ripens, it is sure to be eaten.
It grows well in sand and Gopher Tortoises
Think that it's taste can't be beaten.

Sources: UF | IFAS Gardening Solutions - Gopher Apple

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Sunday, October 14, 2018

October 14, 2018

Location: Vero Beach, Memorial Island

I am an adult male House Finch
If I was young or female my head wouldn't be red.
My wings are short, which makes my tail look long,
And I have a big beak and a long, flat head.

Sources: Cornell Lab - House Finch

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Saturday, October 13, 2018

October 13, 2018

Location: Sebastian, Rails to Trails

I am known as Red-shouldered Hawk
I have a loud whistling shriek.
You hear it quite often, but sometimes,
It's just a Blue Jay imitating me.

Sources: Audubon Guide to North American Birds - Red-shouldered Hawk

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Friday, October 12, 2018

October 12, 2018

Location: Sebastian, Rails to Trails

This is Osmanthus americanus
Also known as Wild Olive or Devilwood.
It has small white flowers in the springtime.
And in winter, birds eat the fruit.

Sources: US Forest Service - Osmanthus americanus Devilwood

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Thursday, October 11, 2018

October 11, 2018

Location: Sebastian, Rails to Trails

This is Ludwigia Octovalvis,
Around here, it is not a foreigner.
Despite the common name Mexican Primrosewillow,
It really is native to Florida.

This plant can be found in marshes
Nearly everywhere in Florida you go.
In other countries though it's considered a weed
Which affects crops such as rice and cocoa.

Sources: CABI Invasive Species Compendium

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

October 10, 2018

Location: Sebastian, Rails to Trails

This is Ludwigia peruviana
It's an exotic, and it's spread is wide.
But it took many years to determine
The "Invasive, Class 1" label should be applied.

(The article linked below is a fascinating account of the detective work that goes into declaring whether or not a plant is native.)

Sources: Native or Not: Studies of problematic species - Primrose Willow Ludwigia peruviana

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

October 9, 2018

Location: St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park

This is Hypericum brachyphyllum
Coastal Plain St. John's Wort is it's common name.
You can find it in pine flatwoods and borrow pits,
And as the name implies, on coastal plains.

Sources: Flora of North America - Hypericum brachyphyllum

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Monday, October 8, 2018

October 8, 2018

Location: Hobe Sound, Jonathan Dickinson State Park

I am a Zebra Swallowtail Butterfly
My wings have black and white stripes.
When I'm a caterpillar I like to eat Pawpaw,
As an adult, nectar is what I like.

Sources: Butterflies and Moths of North America - Zebra Swallowtail 

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Sunday, October 7, 2018

October 7, 2018

Location: Hobe Sound, Jonathan Dickinson State Park


I'm a female Black and Yellow garden spider
I have three claws on each of my feet.
I use the extra claw when spinning my web
Or wrapping up tasty treats.

My boyfriend is much smaller than me,
He plucks my web strings to get my attention.
The we go on a date, have fun and mate,
The result is a spider convention!

Note: Many people see this spider and are instantly terrified based on it's size. Although all spiders have some venom, in general, in Florida, only the Black Widow and Brown Widow have venom that is harmful to humans. Although there are many alleged bites from Brown Recluse spiders, in reality there are very few confirmed Brown Recluse spiders in Florida. They are almost always brought in via luggage, cars, packing crates and so forth and have not been confirmed breeding here.

Note though, that spider bites can be similar to bee stings in that some people can have allergic reactions.  People who are allergic to bee stings can die from just one sting, whereas in the general population, bees (and most spiders) are not harmful, and in fact are quite beneficial to humans.

Sources: University of Michigan Museum of Zoology Animal Diversity Web - Argiope aurantia

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Saturday, October 6, 2018

October 6, 2018

Location: Hobe Sound Visitor Center

This is known as a Coconut Palm
It is common on tropical shores.
It produces coconuts that are eaten as food,
And Copra, used in soap, oil and more.

Sources: University of Florida IFAS Extension - The Coconut Palm in Florida

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Friday, October 5, 2018

October 5, 2018


Location: Hobe Sound, Jonathan Dickinson State Park

You can tell a Gopher Tortoise has been here
And that his digestion is working.
Its poop resembles a cigar with grass in it,
Scat hunting is part of nature observing.

Sources: Gopher Tortoise Burrow Identification Guide

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Thursday, October 4, 2018

October 4, 2018

Location: Hobe Sound, Jonathan Dickinson State Park

I'm known as an Oak Toad
I'm a tiny, tiny guy
And I'm often the color of the dirt
So I'm always well disguised.

(See if you can find him in here. I promise this isn't a joke, there really is at least on oak toad in this picture!)

Sources: Animal Diversity Web - Anaxyrus quercicus Oak Toad

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

October 3, 2018


Location: Hobe Sound, Jonathan Dickinson State Park

This is known as a Sand Live Oak
It has canoe-shaped leaves.
It's acorns are eaten by bears, squirrels and deer,
Any many different bird species.

Sources: Encyclopedia of Life - Quercus geminata, Sand Live Oak

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

October 2, 2018

Location: Hobe Sound, Jonathan Dickinson State Park

I'm a Red-headed Woodpecker
I'm easy to spot from a long distance.
Look for blocks of red, black and white,
I'm not mottled like the Red-Bellied, for instance.

(Thanks to David for pointing out this key identifier when identifying woodpeckers from a distance.)

Sources: Cornell Lab - Red-Headed vs. Red-Bellied Woodpecker

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Monday, October 1, 2018

October 1, 2018


Location: Hobe Sound, Jonathan Dickinson State Park

I am a female Halloween Pennant
I do the deed in a way quite dramatic.
My mate grasps my head, and we form a circle -
It helps that I practice acrobatics.

Sources: UF | IFAS Featured Creatures - Halloween Pennant

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Sunday, September 30, 2018

September 30, 2018

Location: Hobe Sound Nature Center

We are known as Mourning Doves
When breeding sometimes we fly in groups of three;
A male and his mate with a rival between,
What can I say but Three's Company.

Sources: Cornell Lab - Mourning Dove

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Saturday, September 29, 2018

September 29, 2018

Location: Hobe Sound Nature Center
Text.

This is known as Deer Lichen
Obligate mutualism is what it shows.
Lichen is a combo of fungus and algae,
And neither can survive alone.

Sources:

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Friday, September 28, 2018

September 28. 2018

Location: Hobe Sound Nature Center

This is Chrysobalanus icaco
It fruits from late spring to early autumn.
I think it's a pretty plant in fact,
You might say I'm coo-coo for Cocoplum.

(Note: The credit/blame for this poem rests entirely with David, it was his idea. )

Sources: IFAS Extention - Cocoplum Identification and Uses

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Thursday, September 27, 2018

September 27, 2018

Location:  Hobe Sound, Jonathan Dickinson State Park

I am a Yellow Billed Cuckoo
I like to eat caterpillars and sometimes grapes.
I have the shortest nesting period of any bird,
From egg to fledge in 17 days.

Sources: Cornell Lab of Ornithology - Yellow Billed Cuckoo

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

September 26, 2018

Location: Hobe Sound Nature Center

This is Poinsettia cyathophora,
Aka Fire-on-the-mountain or Paintedleaf
It's in the genus Euphorbia,
Named for Euphorbus, a physician from Greece.

Euphorbus discovered that many of the plants
In this genus have medicinal value.
Including a succulent plant from the Atlas mountains,
Which could make you take a really good poo.

Sources:


Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

September 25, 2018

Location: Hobe Sound Nature Center

This is known as Florida rosemary
The common name was recently changed to Sand heath
The plant provides cover and a nest area for birds
And fruit that black bears sometimes eat.

Sources:


Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Monday, September 24, 2018

September 24, 2018

Location: St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park

This is a Hypericum tetrapetalum,
Commonly known as Four-petal St. Johns Wort.
It can live in full sun or partial shade,
And in moist or somewhat dryer dirt.

Sources: Florida Wildflower Foundation - Flower Friday: Four-petal St. John’s wort

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Sunday, September 23, 2018

September 23, 2018

Location: Fellsmere, Goodwin Wildlife Management Area

Special video edition of the poem of the day!

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Saturday, September 22, 2018

September 22, 2018

Location: Sebastian, Rails to Trails trail

This is a Cuban Tree Frog
Although he is somewhat dead
We can identify him by his large toe-pads
As well as the shape of his head.

Sources: UF Florida Wildlife Extension - Cuba Tree Frog

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Friday, September 21, 2018

September 21, 2018

Location: Sebastian, Rails to Trails trail

This is known as Ceasar Weed
It's an exotic, but Florida's been invaded.
It spreads when it's seeds stick to clothing
So it's best to just walk around naked.

Sources: UF | IFAS Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants - Urena lobata

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Thursday, September 20, 2018

September 20, 2018

Location: Sebastian, Rails to Trails trail

This used to be a Southern Short-tailed Shrew,
But he is no longer among the living.
Shrews have a crazy high metabolism
And eat like every day is Thanksgiving.

So how he died - I can't say for sure,
He might have been hungry and not found food.
Or he could have been attacked by a preditor
Who decided he wasn't in a shrew-eating mood.

 (Thanks to David Simpson for the ID on this - I have never seen a shrew before in my life.)

Sources: Florida Nature: Shrews

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

September 19, 2018

Location: Fellsmere, Little League Park

I am known as a Black Vulture
My legs look white, but they're not.
My legs appear white because I poop on them
To help me keep cool when it's hot.

In addition, because I eat dead stuff,
I come in contact with toxins and such.
My poop is acidic and kills bacteria
That might be on something I touched.

Sources: The Wildlife Center of Virginia - Vulture Facts

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

September 18, 2018

Location: Fellsmere, City Hall

I am known as a Lark Sparrow
You know I'm not a house sparrow cause my markings are different -
I have a chestnut cheek patch and a black spot on my breast
I'm different, but still quite magnificent.

But I am not native to Florida, I am
The only Lark sparrow here, but I'm not alone
I hang with House Sparrows, but we can't inter breed,
I am destined to live my life in the "friend" zone.

Sources: Cornell Lab - Lark Sparrow

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Monday, September 17, 2018

September 17, 2018

Location: Location

I am a Anisota virginiensis
"Pink-striped Oakworm moth" is what I'm usually called.
When I'm a caterpillar I like to eat oak leaves
When I'm a moth I drink, but don't eat at all.

(Make sure you click the picture to enlarge this one, his little tiny feet grasping the pine needle are soooo freaking adorable!)

Sources: Butterflies and Moths of North America - Pink-striped Oakworm Moth

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Sunday, September 16, 2018

September 16, 2018

Location: Sebastian, Rails-to-Trails trail

This is known as a Whitemouth Dayflower
It is tiny and inconspicuous.
Except for the one day it flowers - 
Bright blue and white petals are hard to miss.

Sources: Wild South Florida - Whitemouth Dayflower

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Saturday, September 15, 2018

September 15, 2018

Location: Fellsmere, MY HAIR!

I am a Red-humped Caterpillar
Schizura concinna is my scientific name.
When I grow up, I will be a moth,
But for now, chowing leaves is the name of my game.

(Note: I actually found this in December, when I was putting up my holiday lights, but it took me a while to ID it. Special thanks to Jeffrey Eickwort on the Florida Entomology facebook page for the ID assistance. )

Sources: Pests in Gardens and Landscapes - Red-humped Caterpillar

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Friday, September 14, 2018

September 14, 2018

Location: Lake Okechobee

I too, am a female Boat-tailed Grackle,
But my feathers are shiny and new.
I recently completed my molt -
I replaced my feathers with ones I just grew.

Sources: Cornell Labs - The Basics: Feather Molt

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Thursday, September 13, 2018

September 13, 2018

Location: Lake Okechobee

I am a Female Boat-tailed Grackle
I'm in the middle of my molt,
I usually don't have a pale stripe down my chest,
And my hair is usually combed!

(Today is a very special day. Be sure to wish my favorite bird guide and sweetheart,  David Simpson - a very happy birthday!)

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

September 12, 2018

Location: Lake Okechobee

I am known as an Anhinga
But my colloquial names can be quirky -
I'l also called Darter, Snake, or Devil bird
And some people call me Water Turkey.

Sources: Wikipedia - Anhinga

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

September 11, 2018

Location: Lake Okechobee

This is known as Water Hyacinth
It's an invasive exotic and somewhat evil
But insect bio-controls can help -
There's been some success with water hyacinth weevils.

Sources: UF | IFAS Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants -  Eichhornia crassipes

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Monday, September 10, 2018

September 10, 2018

Location: Lake Okechobee

I am an immature Four-spotted Pennant
You might confuse me with a Tawny Pennant adult.
But I have four spots and am prettier,
So I consider that an insult.

Sources: Odonata Central - Four-spotted Pennant

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Sunday, September 9, 2018

September 9, 2018

Location: Lake Okechobee

I am a male Four-spotted Pennant
I like to perch on twigs and stems.
I have large spots on the middle of my wings.
That you can see without a long camera lens!

Sources: Odonata Central - Four-spotted Pennant

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Saturday, September 8, 2018

September 8, 2018

Location: Lake Okechobee

I'm a male Boat-tailed Grackle,
And I look like a hot mess
My feathers are messy cause I'm molting,
And I have one leg - why is anyone's guess.

I might have encountered a predator,
Like an alligator or snake
Or maybe I got tangled in fishing line,
That someone left here in the lake.

Sources: Cornell Lab - Boat Tailed Grackle

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Friday, September 7, 2018

September 7, 2018

Location: Prague, Czech Republic

I'm a House Sparrow with my baby,
He's begging for a treat.
Whether in Florida or across the sea,
A chick has got to eat!

Very special thanks to today's guest photographer, Paul Claessen.

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Thursday, September 6, 2018

September 6, 2018

Location: Sebastian, Riverwalk

This is Melothria pendula
Creeping Cucumber is its common name.
You can eat it's fruit when it's still bright green,
But if the fruit is black, it's not the same.

The taste and texture of the fruit changes and becomes toxic when it is ripe. 

Sources: Wild South Florida - Creeping Cucumber

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

September 5, 2018

Location: Sebastian, Riverwalk

This is Wedelia trilobata
Commonly known as Creeping Oxeye.
It is a category 2 invasive exotic,
That can only be killed using herbicides.

Sources: UF | IFAS Gardening Solutions - Wedelia

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

September 4, 2018

Location: Sebastian, North County Regional Park

We are known as Lined Earwigs
We have wings, but we rarely fly.
We have pinchers that we'll  use to defend ourselves,
And we shoot stinky liquid from our side.

Sources: Project Noah - Lined Earwig

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Monday, September 3, 2018

September 3, 2018

Location: Fellsmere, Little League Park

I am a male Pileated Woodpecker
You can tell by the red stripe on my cheek.
My mate has the same stripe, but hers is black,
And we both have a chisel-like beak

Sources: Cornell Lab - Pileated Woodpecker

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Sunday, September 2, 2018

September 2, 2018

Location: GLAD Northlake Estates #163, Glades County

I’m a mother Mockingbird,
I don’t own a shop vac.
So I have to use my beak instead
To clean away my young’s fecal sac.

Very special thanks to my guest photographer, David Simpson for this amazing and perfectly timed shot.

Sources: What Are Fecal Sacs? Bird Diapers, Basically

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Saturday, September 1, 2018

September 1, 2018

Location: Merritt Island, Sams House at Pine Island Conservation Area

This is the Everglades Tomato
It is small, about the size of a cherry.
Its taste is bold and incredibly sweet,
I ate some - that opinion's not arbitrary.

Sources: Everglades Tomato Association

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Friday, August 31, 2018

August 31, 2018

Location: Merritt Island, Sams House at Pine Island Conservation Area

This is a Chrysobalanus icaco
Commonly known as the Cocoaplum.
Birds and other wild life love its fruit,
Which humans also make jelly from.

Sources: Florida Native Plant Society - Chrysobalanus icaco

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson