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Wednesday, January 31, 2018

January 31, 2018

Location: Blackpoint Wildlife Drive, Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge

I am a Roseate Spoonbill
One of six spoonbill species world-wide.
I'm the only one found in America,
And the only one who's not boring and white.

(Happy birthday wishes going out today to my big sistah Shirley, this is her favorite bird.)

Sources: Birds of North America - Roseate Spoonbill

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

January 30, 2018

Location: Lake Aopoka, Macdonald Canal Boat Ramp

This is Pistia stratiotes
Commonly known as Water Lettuce.
It is a favorite food of the Manatee,
To them, water plants are incredibly precious.

(Special thanks to Jim Stahl for the identification help!)

Sources: Manatee Feeding

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Monday, January 29, 2018

January 29, 2018

Location: Lake Apopka, Macdonald Canal Boat Ramp

This is Hydrocotyle umbellata
Also known as Marsh-pennywort or Dollarweed.
It is used as ground cover in low, wet areas,
And has an umbrella-like (peltate) leaf.

(Special thanks to Jim Stahl for his help identifying this plant!)

Sources: UF|IFAS Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants - Hydrocotyle Species

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Sunday, January 28, 2018

January 28, 2018

Location: Blackpoint Wildlife Drive, Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge

Spoonbills and Ibis are tactile feeders,
They feel around for something to grab.
Tricolored Herons are visual feeders,
They patiently look for something to stab.

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Saturday, January 27, 2018

January 27, 2018

Location: Lake Apopka, Magnolia Park

Here lies an Eastern Phoebe
Unfortunately recently demised.
In addition to natural predators,
Sometimes cars catch birds by surprise.

While it's quite unfortunate for the bird
Death is not always just ugly
It can also provide opportunity
For scientific study.

Source: Scientists Are Using 135 Years Worth of Dead Birds to Study Pollution

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Friday, January 26, 2018

January 26, 2018

Location: Lake Apopka, Magnolia Park

I am a female Indian Peafowl
Also known as a Peahen
I do not procreate by drinking Peacock tears
We mate normally at my discretion.

Sources: Everything you wanted to know about peafowl sex, by a researcher who’s spent a decade studying it

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Thursday, January 25, 2018

January 25, 2018

Location: Lake Apopka, Magnolia Park

I am male Indian Peafowl
Also known as a Peacock.
Sometimes I fake getting down,
When there's no one around
In the hope that to me the girls will all flock.

Sources: Deceptive Copulation Calls Attract Female Visitors to Peacock Leks

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

January 24, 2018

Location: Lake Apopka, Macdonald Canal Boat Ramp

I am a Nine-banded Armadillo
In Spanish, Armadillo means "little armored one"
I'm the only other species that can get leprosy,
But spreading it to humans is extremely uncommon.

Sources: Nine-Banded Armadillo


Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

January 23, 2018

Location: Fellsmere, my house

I am a Leucauge argyra,
This time, I'm shown from above.
It's been observed that sometimes I mate and then,
Trap and devour my love.

Sources: Sexual behavior, cannibalism, and mating plugs as sticky traps in the orb weaver spider Leucauge argyra 

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Monday, January 22, 2018

January 22, 2018

Location: Fellsmere, my house

I am a Leucauge argyra,
Shown here from the underside
Compare me to yesterday's spider,
On my abdomen, there is no bowtie.

Sources: Common Spiders of North America, Richard A. Bradley

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Sunday, January 21, 2018

January 21, 2018

Location: Fellsmere, my house

I am a Leucauge venusta
In Latin, "venusta" means "pretty"
Despite that, many people still fear me,
Which really is quite a pity.

Like many spiders, I won't hurt people,
But I will help you get rid of insects.
I trap them in my complex, angled web,
I'm also quite the architect!

Sources: Common Spiders of North America, Richard A. Bradley

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Saturday, January 20, 2018

January 20, 2018

Location: Vero Beach, Vero Beach Wetlands

I'm a North American River Otter
I know where there's a happening scene.
I meet all my friends and we do a poop dance
Down at the communal latrine.

Sources: For River Otters, Social Life Is Shaped by the Latrine

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Friday, January 19, 2018

January 19, 2018

Location: Vero Beach, Vero Beach Wetlands

I am known as a Palm Warbler.
I like to eat caterpillars, flies and beetles.
But in the winter I also eat berries,
And occasionally, I'm also a seed eater.

Sources: Cornell Labs - Palm Warbler

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Thursday, January 18, 2018

January 18, 2018

Location: Vero Beach, Vero Beach Wetlands

We are female Northern Shovelers
Named because our bills are shaped like shovels.
Our boyfriends all have bright green heads,
But our plumage is more subtle.

Sources: Cornell Lab - Northern Shoveler

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

January 17, 2018

Location: Vero Beach, Vero Beach Wetlands

I am a Green Heron.
I can be confused with a Bittern.
But I hold my beak horizontally,
Which makes me easier to discern.

The Bittern has a similar color and shape,
But he holds his head vertically.
When he stands among tall grasses and reeds,
He is almost impossible to see.

(Trust me, there is a Green Heron here on the left side of the picture. He is facing right. Click through to enlarge the picture, and look for the horizontal beak.)

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

January 16, 2018

Location: Vero Beach, Vero Beach Wetlands

I am a Little Blue Heron.
When I see my mate "eh-ohh-ah" is what I say.
Then I erect the feathers on my shoulder, crest and neck,
This is called the "greeting" display.

Sources: Little Blue Heron Breeding Behavior

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Monday, January 15, 2018

January 15, 2018

Location: Vero Beach, Vero Beach Wetlands

We are a group of White Ibis
You often see us in city parklands.
Where people think they are doing us a favor,
By feeding us bread by hand.

This really, seriously a terrible idea,
It is bad for both my health and yours.
We are known to carry and shed Salmonella,
Which is easily passed to both humans and birds.

Sources: Urbanized White Ibises (Eudocimus albus) as Carriers of Salmonella enterica of Significance to Public Health and Wildlife

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Sunday, January 14, 2018

January 14, 2018

Location: Fellsmere, my house

This is the abdomen of a dragonfly.
They use separate muscles to control each wing.
This helps them control aerodynamic forces,
So they don't fly into things.

Sources: The Secret of Dragonflies' Flight

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Saturday, January 13, 2018

January 13, 2018

Location: Fellsmere, my house

This is the back of the head of a dragonfly
He can rotate his head while he flys.
This makes it easier to keep his prey in sight,
Well, that, and his crazy huge eyes.

(Make sure you click to enlarge - I had no idea that dragonfly heads are mostly hollow until I took this picture.)

Sources:

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Friday, January 12, 2018

January 12, 2018

Location: Vero Beach, Vero Beach Wetlands

This is the same Anhinga from yesterday
Mooning and looking quite weird
He's taking off to go hunting,
Somewhere soon a fish will be speared.

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Thursday, January 11, 2018

January 11, 2018

Location: Vero Beach, Vero Beach Wetlands

This is another Anhinga,
In a much livelier pose.
He looks a lot like a Double-crested Cormorant
But has much straighter and pointier nose.

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

January 10, 2018

Location: Vero Beach, Vero Beach Wetlands

This is what's left of an Anhinga,
You can tell by the white marks on the wing.
It was predated by a critter, perhaps
A bobcat, an owl, or some other thing.

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

January 9, 2018

Location: Fellsmere, St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park

I'm known as a feral Pig,
You can blame Hernando Desoto for my release.
He brought me here in 1539,
Since then I've become a destructive beast.

I trample on flowers, I root up the ground,
I can carry diseases and parasites.
I can hurt people and critters with my tusks,
But I taste yummy if I am barbecued right!

Sources: Extracts: Hog Wild! Feral Pigs a Problem in Florida

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Monday, January 8, 2018

January 8, 2018

Location: Fellsmere, St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park

I am an Eastern Phoebe,
I was the first recorded American banded bird.
Audubon tied a silver string 'round my ancestor's leg,
And then he waited for the bird to return.

Sources: USGS - A Brief History About the Origins of Bird Banding


Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Sunday, January 7, 2018

January 7, 2018

Location: Sebastian, St. Sebastion River Preserve State Park

On the left, here is a Dandelion,
So yellow and so bright.
Up higher in the picture you see,
When it goes to seed it's fluffy and white.

Although some people consider Dandelions,
A blight upon their green grass
It is fact a very useful plant
For medicine, wine and salads.

Source: Wild South Florida - Dandelion

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Saturday, January 6, 2018

January 6, 2018

Location: Fellsmere, St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park

I'm known as a Blue Jay,
I've a white tummy with blue and black up above.
My hobbies include imitating red-shouldered hawks,
And eating acorns, which I love.

Sources: Cornell Lab - Blue Jay

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Friday, January 5, 2018

January 5, 2018

Location: Sebastian, North County Regional Park

I am a male Osprey
If I was female, I'd wear a brown necklace.
We both have scary yellow eyes,
And a black stripe across our face.

Sources: Cornell Lab - Osprey

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Thursday, January 4, 2018

January 4, 2018

Location: Fellsmere, St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park

I am known as a Red-shouldered Hawk,
I eat snakes and frogs and mice.
If I'm a northern bird, I migrate south in the fall,
And go back when the weather is nice.

If I'm a bird of the Florida race,
I'm smaller and my color's less bold.
You also can tell me a apart from a northern hawk,
Cause I'm too smart to fly north where it's cold!

Sources: Cornell Lab - Red-shouldered Hawk

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

January 3, 2018

Location: Fellsmere, St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park

I'm known as a Common Ground Dove
Because on the ground is where I nest and feed.
I have a two-lobed pocket in my esophogus,
In which I can store hundreds of seeds.

Sources: Cornell Lab - Ground Dove

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

January 2, 2018

Location: Fellsmere, St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park

I'm a Northern Mockingbird
Sitting in a Brazilian Pepper tree.
Although it's an invasive exotic,
The berries are yummy to me.

Sources: UF|IFAS Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants - Schinus terebinthifolia

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Monday, January 1, 2018

January 1, 2018

Location: Cocoa, City dump, Cocoa Christmas Bird Count

I am a Great Egret,
I used to be killed for my plumes, which are long and distinct.
Fortunately the Audubon Society
Fought to save me from going extinct.

Sources: Audubon Guide to North American Birds - Great Egret

Photo and text © 2017 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

A note from Dee: Welcome to the new year! I have a few changes to the blog going forward. First, you probably have figured out that the pictures are not always posted on the day that I take them. I realized about halfway into 2017 that I would not be able to keep up the blog if I walk, photograph, edit, research and write every day as I still have a day job. It's easier (and I think the quality is a better) if I photograph, edit and get ahead of the blog rather than try to do it all every day. I still try to walk every day, but you won't necessarily see photos on the day that I take them.

Second, to keep the blog fresh, I will occasionally have guest photographers contribute photos since there are people like David who travel and see different species than I do. If you have a photo you would like to contribute, drop me an email.

And finally, also new for 2018 - my goal is to make at least one video entry every month. These will be production videos, continuing my Birding With Dee series. I would love your input here. If you have a topic you would like to see covered, or if you have a birding question you would like to see addressed, or if you just have a favorite bird that you would like to see covered more in depth, please post a comment here or on Facebook or drop me an email, I really would love to hear your input!

Thanks so much for reading and your continued support of my blog. I look forward to writing and producing videos for you in 2018!