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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

Saturday, March 3, 2018

March 3, 2018

Location: Palm Bay, Malabar Scrub

I'm known as a Striped Mud Turtle,
I'm an adult, but only 4 inches long.
I like to eat worms and insects,
And can live in brackish or freshwater ponds.

Sources: Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission - Striped Mud Turtle

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Friday, March 2, 2018

March 2, 2018

Location: Satellite Beach, Samson's Island

This is known as Bobcat poop,
Bobcat "scat"  is the grown up name.
It has blunt ends, and is full of hair,
Which helps determine from whom it came.

Sources: Northwoods Field Guide - Animal Scat Notes

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Thursday, March 1, 2018

March 01, 2018

Location: Vero Beach, West Regional Waste Water Treatment Plant

I am a Yellow-rumped Warbler,
Eating bugs is my modus operandi.
I'll grab this spider right out of her web
And serve her up with a glass of chianti.

Sources: Cornell Lab - Yellow-rumped Warbler

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson