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Tuesday, December 11, 2018

December 11, 2018

Location: St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park, Fellsmere

These are the berries of a Wax Myrtle
Well, not so much "berries" as "wax-covered seeds"
But that doesn't matter to Tree Swallows,
This is something on which they love to feed.

Sources: Florida Native Plant Society - Wax Myrtle

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Monday, December 10, 2018

December 10, 2018

Location: Fellsmere, My yard

I am a female Florida Box Turtle
You can tell because I have brown eyes.
If I was a boy, my eyes would be orange or red,
But we both like to eat crickets and flies.

Sources: Florida Box Turtles

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Sunday, December 9, 2018

December 9, 2018

Location: Viera Wetlands

I'm an immature Black-crowned Night Heron
During the day I can be hard to see.
I'm here in the upper right corner,
Camouflaged amongst branches and leaves.

Sources: Cornell Lab All About Birds - Black-crowned Night Heron

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Saturday, December 8, 2018

December 8, 2018

Location: Viera Wetlands

I am a Tricolored Heron.
I tend to forage alone when I hunt.
I stalk, chase, or wait for small fish to come by. And if disturbed, I make a short, gutterral grunt.

Sources: Cornell Lab All About Birds - Tricolor Heron
xeno-canto Sharing bird sounds from around the world - Tricolored Heron

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Friday, December 7, 2018

December 7, 2018

Location: Viera Wetlands

I'm a female Common Yellowthroat
I hang out in thick vegetation looking for bugs.
Boys know I'm a girl cause I don't have a black mask,
So they don't attack me, they just come looking for love.

Sources: Cornell Lab All About Birds - Common Yellowthroat

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Thursday, December 6, 2018

December 6, 2018

Location: Okeechobee, Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park

I am a Black-tailed Red Sheet Weaver Spider.
Early in the morning, in the grass covered with dew,
You'll see my intricate web before you see me,
And unfortunate bugs who couldn't break through.

Sources: iNaturalist - Black-tailed Red Sheet Weaver

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

December 5, 2018

Location: Okeechobee, Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park

This is a flower weevil
Of the Baridinae subfamily.
There are 4,300 flower weevil species,
But this looks like a Heracross to me.

Sources: iNaturalist - Flower Weevils
Bulbapedia - Heracross

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

December 4, 2018

Location: Okeechobee, Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park

I am a spider in the genus Mecaphesa
In this genus, there are 52 types.
Some, like me, have the common name "flower spider"
And are hairy with a few red stripes.

(Just to clarify, this is a flower spider, but there are a few spiders in the genus Mecaphesa who go by that common name, and I was not able to ID this positively further than that genus as they all appear very similar.)

Sources: Bugguide.net - Flower Crab Spiders

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Monday, December 3, 2018

December 3, 2018

Location: Okeechobee, Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park

I am a Red-tailed Flesh Fly
I feed on carrion and animal waste.
Bugs in the Flesh Fly family are important to
Forensics, such as a murder case.

Sources: UF | IFAS Featured Creatures - Red-tailed Flesh Fly

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Sunday, December 2, 2018

December 2, 2018

Location: Okeechobee, Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park

I am Globular Drop snail.
I'm a terrestrial gastropod mollusk
I have an operculum which acts as door,
To keep moisture in, or when I'm just seeking solace.

Sources: iNaturalist - Globular Drop Snail

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson\\ls

Saturday, December 1, 2018

December 1, 2018

Location: Okeechobee, Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park

We are Giant Milkweed Bug nymphs
Climbing Milkweed is our host plant.
Like Monarchs, we become toxic from eating it,
If predators taste us they go, "Eww, I just can't!"

Sources: Sephina gundlachii Guérin-Méneville,1857 

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Friday, November 30, 2018

November 30, 2018

Location: Okeechobee, Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park

I am a single Love bug,
You usually see me in twos
That doesn't mean I'm ugly or smell bad,
I just can't decide which mate to choose!

Sources: UF | IFAS Featured Creatures - Lovebug 

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Thursday, November 29, 2018

November 29, 2018

Location: Okeechobee, Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park

I am a Schistocerca rubiginosa,
But Rusty Bird Grasshopper is easier to say.
I am spotted on my forewings,
And my color varies from reddish-brown to grey.

Sources: BugGuide - Species Schistocerca rubiginosa - Rusty Bird Grasshopper

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

November 28, 2018

Location: Okeechobee, Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park

I am known as a White-tailed Deer.
In the north I breed in the fall, and in the spring I fawn.
In Florida, my breeding season's more varied -
May is the only month that I don't spawn.

Sources: Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission - White-tailed Deer Management Program

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

November 27, 2018

Location: Okeechobee, Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park

I am a Cattle Egret
I feed in fields and follow plows.
I feast heartily on insects that are disturbed
By machinery, fires or cows.

Sources: Cornell Lab - Cattle Egret Life History

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Monday, November 26, 2018

November 26, 2018

Location: Okeechobee, Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park

I am a Pearl Crescent butterfly,
Phyciodes tharos is my scientific name.
You can find me on many different flowers
Including Swamp Milkweed, Asters and Dogbane.

Sources: Butterflies and Moths of North America - Pearl Crescent

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Sunday, November 25, 2018

November 25, 2018

Location: Fellsmere, my house

I'm known as a Southern Black Racer,
In Florida, I'm one of three Racer subspecies.
You can differentiate us by our scales and eye color.
Or if you don't want to get that close, by geography.

Sources: Florida Museum Snake Identification, Eastern Racer

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Saturday, November 24, 2018

November 24, 2018

Location: Tavares, Lake Idamere County Park

We are a pair of Gulf fritillaries
We like nectar from Cordias and Lantana.
We also like pastures and open fields.
But have no opinion on Hannah Montana.

Sources: Butterflies and Moths of North America - Gulf Fritillary

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Blatant plug reminder: David and I are excited to announce that we will be participating in the Shop Small event at the Heritage Center in downtown Vero Beach, TODAY, November 24th, from 9 a.m.-1:00 p.m. In addition to tours, we will be selling calendars, magnets, and our brand new field guide* (all of which feature my photography), as well as gift packages that include all of the above in a handmade reusable tote bag. We hope you will come out and see us, and support us, as well as the many other local businesses who will be there. Visit the Heritage Center facebook page for details.

* The guide is in print as we speak. If it is not available by Saturday, you can pre-order and we will deliver as soon as it's available.


Friday, November 23, 2018

November 23, 2018

Location: Tavares, Lake Idamere County Park

I am a Bulimulus sporadicus
I'm an invasive exotic snail.
I was first reported in Florida in 2009,
And I've spread hitching rides on the rails.

Sources: Jacksonville Snails - Bulimulus sporadicus (d’Orbigny, 1835)  (Scroll to the end of the Field Notes section - mine is the most recent sighting.)

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Blatant plug reminder: David and I are excited to announce that we will be participating in the Shop Small event at the Heritage Center in downtown Vero Beach, this Saturday, November 24th, from 9 a.m.-1:00 p.m. In addition to tours, we will be selling calendars, magnets, and our brand new field guide* (all of which feature my photography), as well as gift packages that include all of the above in a handmade reusable tote bag. We hope you will come out and see us, and support us, as well as the many other local businesses who will be there. Visit the Heritage Center facebook page for details.

* The guide is in print as we speak. If it is not available by Saturday, you can pre-order and we will deliver as soon as it's available.



Thursday, November 22, 2018

November 22, 2018

Location: Tavares, Lake Idamere County Park

This is probably a Firebush cultivar
Which means it was created through selective breeding.
Attempts are made to produce the brightest and best,
By the color, I'd say they're succeeding!

Sources: Florida Native Plant Society - Hamelia patens - firebush

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Blatant plug reminder: David and I are excited to announce that we will be participating in the Shop Small event at the Heritage Center in downtown Vero Beach, this Saturday, November 24th, from 9 a.m.-1:00 p.m. In addition to tours, we will be selling calendars, magnets, and our brand new field guide* (all of which feature my photography), as well as gift packages that include all of the above in a handmade reusable tote bag. as well as gift packages that include all of the above in a handmade reusable tote bag. We hope you will come out and see us, and support us, as well as the many other local businesses who will be there. Visit the Heritage Center facebook page for details.

* The guide is in print as we speak. If it is not available by Saturday, you can pre-order and we will deliver as soon as it's available.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

November 21, 2018

Location: Tavares, Lake Idamere County Park

We are known as Pogonomyrmex badius
Or simply, Florida Harvester Ants.
We are not aggressive, but you'll hurt if we sting,
We prefer to harvest seeds from plants.

Sources: UF | IFAS Featured Creatures - Florida Harvester Ant

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Blatant plug reminder: David and I are excited to announce that we will be participating in the Shop Small event at the Heritage Center in downtown Vero Beach, this Saturday, November 24th, from 9 a.m.-1:00 p.m. In addition to tours, we will be selling calendars, magnets, and our brand new field guide* (all of which feature my photography), as well as gift packages that include all of the above in a handmade reusable tote bag. We hope you will come out and see us, and support us, as well as the many other local businesses who will be there. Visit the Heritage Center facebook page for details.

* The guide is in print as we speak. If it is not available by Saturday, you can pre-order and we will deliver as soon as it's available.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

November 20, 2018

Location: Tavares, Lake Idamere County Park

I am an Obscure Bird Grasshopper
Despite my name, I'm actually easy to see.
I jump so fast and so high, I appear to fly,
And I'm large and usually bright green.

Sources: The Obscure Bird Grasshopper

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Blatant plug: David and I are excited to announce that we will be participating in the Shop Small event at the Heritage Center in downtown Vero Beach, this Saturday, November 24th, from 9 a.m.-1:00 p.m. In addition to tours, we will be selling calendars, magnets, and our brand new field guide* (all of which feature my photography), as well as gift packages that include all of the above in a handmade reusable tote bag. We hope you will come out and see us, and support us, as well as the many other local businesses who will be there. Visit the Heritage Center facebook page for details.

* The guide is in print as we speak. If it is not available by Saturday, you can pre-order and we will deliver as soon as it's available.

Monday, November 19, 2018

November 19, 2018

Location: Mt Dora, Lake Apopka North Shore Restoration Area

When you last saw me, I was Leucauge venusta,
Leucauge argyrobapta is my new name.
Scientists recently determined that
My northern relations and I are not the same.

Sources: Species delimitation of the North American orchard-spider Leucauge venusta (Walckenaer, 1841) (Araneae, Tetragnathidae)

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Blatant plug: David and I are excited to announce that we will be participating in the Shop Small event at the Heritage Center in downtown Vero Beach, this Saturday, November 24th, from 9 a.m.-1:00 p.m. In addition to tours, we will be selling calendars, magnets, and our brand new field guide* (all of which feature my photography), as well as gift packages that include all of the above in a handmade reusable tote bag. We hope you will come out and see us, and support us, as well as the many other local businesses who will be there. Visit the Heritage Center facebook page for details.

* The guide is in print as we speak. If it is not available by Saturday, you can pre-order and we will deliver as soon as it's available.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

November 18, 2018

Location: Mt Dora, Lake Apopka North Shore Restoration Area

This used to be a Blue-wing Teal
But alas, he has recently died.
But it's body is interesting to look at up close
For the scientific data that it provides

For example, notice the wings,
Are wet, but the water is beading.
Ducks spread the wax from their preen gland
To waterproof their feathers, and keep them from freezing.

Sources: Waterproof Feathers- Birds

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Saturday, November 17, 2018

November 17, 2018

Location: Mt Dora, Lake Apopka North Shore Restoration Area

I am known as a Merlin
I'm a fast flier with strong wingbeats.
In silhouette you can see that I'm stocky and thick
Must be from all the small birds that I eats.

Sources: Audubon Guide to North American Birds - Merlin

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Friday, November 16, 2018

November 16, 2018

Location: Mt Dora, Lake Apopka North Shore Restoration Area

I am either a female or immature Indigo Bunting
It would be easier if I were a bright blue breeding male.
But you can still tell I'm an Indigo by the shape of my beak,
And faintest hint of blue on my tail.

Sources: Cornell Lab - Indigo Bunting

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Thursday, November 15, 2018

November 15, 2018

Location: Mt Dora, Lake Apopka North Shore Restoration Area

I am a female Tramea carolina
Or, Carolina Saddlebag more commonly.
I have bright spots on my wings that look like saddlebags,
And am one of the few dragonflies that are migratory.

Sources: Field Guide to Migratory Dragonflies

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

November 14, 2018

Location: Mt Dora, Lake Apopka North Shore Restoration Area

I'm a Short-tailed Hawk from a long way away
You can see that my primaries are kinda snowy
The wing linings are dark, but my defining mark,
Is the fact that my tail is short, it's not showy.

Sources: Interview, David Simpson

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

November 13, 2018

Location: Mt Dora, Lake Apopka North Shore Restoration Area

I am an American Alligator
My nostrils face upwards on my snout.
This means I can swim while I'm mostly submerged
Thus hiding my disquieting pout.

Sources: Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission - American Alligator

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Monday, November 12, 2018

November 12, 2018

Location: Mt Dora, Lake Apopka North Shore Restoration Area

I'm an American Bald Eagle,
Even though I'm very high up in the sky
You can easily ID me by my white tail and head
As I go soaring by.

Sources: Hawk Mountain Raptorpedia - Bald Eagle

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Sunday, November 11, 2018

November 11, 2018

Location: Leesburg, Emeralda Marsh Conservation Area

This is known as Hackberry
Sugarberry is another common name
The birds all think it's tiny, sweet fruit,
Tastes yummy either way.

Sources:  Florida Native Plant Society - Celtis laevigata

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Saturday, November 10, 2018

November 10, 2018

Location: Leesburg, Emeralda Marsh Conservation Area

I am a Danaus gilippus
Better known as the Queen Butterfly
I'm mostly chestnut-orange with black trim,
With spots on my wings and body that are white.

Sources: Butterflies and Moths of North America - Queen Danaus gillippus

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Friday, November 9, 2018

November 9, 2018

Location: Leesburg, Emeralda Marsh Conservation Area

I am a Anartia jatrophae
Better known as a White Peacock
I'm white and have eyespots like the bird,
So my name's not really a shock.

Sources: Floridata - White Peacock

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Thursday, November 8, 2018

November 8, 2018


Location: Sebastian, North Sebastian Conservation Area

I am a Florida Scrub Jay
It's unnatural for me to be this friendly.
I should be shy and fly away,
But someone has been feeding me.

Sources: When It's Ok (Or Not) To Feed Birds

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson



Wednesday, November 7, 2018

November 7, 2018

Location: Sebastian, North Sebastian Conservation Area

I'm a banded Florida Scrub Jay
You can see the green band above my foot.
This is how scientists track me
To make sure I've not gone kaput.

Sources: Florida Scrub Jay Banding


Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

November 6, 2018

Location: Sebastian, North Sebastian Conservation Area

This is Melaleuca quinquenervia,
Also called Paperbark or White Bottlebrush tree.
It's an invasive exotic that spreads rapidly,
Via its woody capsules that hold 2-300 seeds each.

Sources: Identification and Biology of Nonnative Plants in Florida’s Natural Areas – Second Edition - Melaleuca quinquenervia (Cav.) Blake

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Monday, November 5, 2018

November 5, 2018

Location: Sebastian, North Sebastian Conservation Area

I am a Giant Swallowtail
I'm mostly black with diagonal yellow spotting.
As a caterpillar I like to eat citrus and hop tree,
And look remarkably like bird droppings.

Sources: Butterflies and Moths of North America - Giant Swallowtail

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Sunday, November 4, 2018

November 4, 2018

Location: Viera, Hundred Acre Hollow

Special video edition! Monarchs and Milkweed!


Video © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Saturday, November 3, 2018

November 3, 2018

Location: Dade City, Withlacoochee River Park

I am a male Golden Silk Orbweaver,
I'm nondescript and really quite small.
I only measure about a quarter inch,
But my wife is three inches tall!

Sources: InsectIdentification - Golden Silk Orbweaver (Nephila clavipes)

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Friday, November 2, 2018

November 2, 2018

Location: Dade City, Withlacoochee River Park

I am a female Golden Silk Orbweaver,
I'm shown from the top in this shot.
I'm mostly harmless and beneficial,
Unlike my Brazilian counterpart.

Sources: InsectIdentification - Golden Silk Orbweaver (Nephila clavipes)

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Thursday, November 1, 2018

November 1, 2018

Location: Dade City, Withlacoochee River Park

I am a female Golden Silk Orbweaver,
I only shave my first, second and fourth sets of legs.
I don't have any hair on the third set
I'm pretty no matter what anyone says.

(Note: Spiders don't really shave their legs, that's just a joke, but I thought it was really interesting that after all these years of looking at these girls I never noticed before that their third set of legs doesn't have any hair.)

Sources: Insect Identification - Golden Silk Orbweaver (Nephila clavipes)

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

October 31, 2018

Location: Fellsmere, My house

I am known as a Black Witch Moth
I'm the largest moth in North America
In some places they call me "the butterfly of death"
But that description is entirely chimerical.

Sources: Texas Entomology - The Black Witch Moth

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

October 30, 2018

Location: Palm Bay, Turkey Creek Sanctuary

This is known as a Witch's Broom
It's a dense cluster of foliage and twigs.
It can be caused by insects or genetic mutation,
But it doesn't harm the tree, it just is.

Sources: 4H Forest Resources - Witch's Broom

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Monday, October 29, 2018

October 29, 2018

Location: Dade City, Withlacoochee River Park

I am a Spotted Orbweaver
Neoscona domiciliorum, specifically.
I can be found in most of the USA
But I'm mostly active nocturnally.

Sources: Featured Creatures - UF|IFAS - Orb Weavers 

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Sunday, October 28, 2018

October 28, 2018

Location: Vero, Memorial Island

I am an Eastern Grey Squirrel
I'm a member of the rodent family.
I'm omnivorous and eat nuts, insects and fungi,
But I prefer to eat Dee's bird seed.

Sources: Encyclopedia of Life - Sciurus carolinensis Eastern Gray Squirrel

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson