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Monday, June 25, 2018

June 25, 2018

Location: Fellsmere, WW Ranch Road

I am a baby Loggerhead Shrike
Hollering at my mom to give me some food.
Right now I peck at inedible things  -
My grasp on hunting is still misconstrued.

(Make sure you check out the article linked below to read about this fascinating behavior displayed by newly-fledged Loggerhead Shrikes.)

Sources: Cornell Lab - Loggerhead Shrike

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Sunday, June 24, 2018

June 24, 2018

Location: Fellsmere, Broadway

I am known as a Paper Wasp
Specifically, a Polistes major.
I got my name because I use
Wood pulp to make my nest of paper.

(Thanks to Terry Prouty from Antman's Hill for confirming my species ID.)

Sources: Social Wasps of Florida

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Saturday, June 23, 2018

June 23, 2018

Location: Maitland, Maitland Middle School

I am the 600th Bald Eagle since 1979
In Florida to rehabbed and released.
Were it not for the Audubon Birds of Prey Center,
I most likely would now be deceased.

(This bird was on the losing end of a territorial dispute and was rescued and rehabilitated at the Audubon Birds of Prey Center.  I was honored to attend his release this week. Click the link below to donate and help out these amazing people and the incredible work that they do.)

Sources: Audubon Birds of Prey Center

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Friday, June 22, 2018

June 22, 2018

Location: Vero Beach, 14th Ave

This is known as a rainbow
Some people take it as a omen or sign
But science tells us what it really means:
Water is being refracted and reflected by light.

But it actually goes so much farther than that,
The angle of the light is also key.
That's not to say rainbows aren't pretty
But science makes them more interesting!

Sources: The Physics Classroom - Rainbow Formation


Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Thursday, June 21, 2018

June 21, 2018

Location: Sebastian, Riverwalk

This is a dead Blue Land Crab
We know he was on land when he died
The small snails on him are Hairy Wheel Snails,
They are pulmonate and need air to survive.

"Pulmonate" means that the snails have lungs
And don't live in the water.
There's also a live Mangrove Crab on
The other crab's back - he's a squatter.

(Make sure you click to enlarge this picture, there is a lot going on here. When I took this picture, I thought it was just a picture of a crab. When I downloaded it to my Mac, I realized that there was so much more going on, but I wasn't sure what exactly was happening. Extremely very special thanks to the amazing Heather Stapleton for explaining this picture to me.)

Sources: Interview, Heather Stapleton

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

June 20, 2018

Location: Sebastian, Riverwalk

I am known as a Blue Land Crab
I generally live within 3 miles of the sea.
Most crabs molt twenty times in their life -
I'm overachiever, for me, it's sixty!

Sources: Indian River Lagoon Species Inventory - Cardisoma guanhumi

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

June 19, 2018

Location: Fellsmere, Broadway (on my front windshield)

I am a Plectrodera scalator
Commonly known as a Cottonwood Borer Beetle
I eat Cottonwood trees from the inside out,
And eventually, to the tree, I am lethal.

(Special thanks to Michael C. Thomas, Ph.D., Florida State Collection of Arthropods, Division of Plant Industry/Entomology, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services for his help positively identifying this critter. I was confused because although it is quite distinct, they are usually only seen further north in Florida. As David just returned from there, I am guessing that he accidentally brought home a hitchhiker.)

Sources: Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services - Plectrodera scalator (Fabricius)

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Monday, June 18, 2018

June 18, 2018

Location: St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park

I am a Common Grackle
I belong to the Icterid group of birds.
"Icterid" translates to "jaundiced ones"
Ornithologists have a strange way with words.

Actually, many black birds,
Have accents of orange or yellow,
Hence the jaundice in my name,
(But ornithologists are still odd fellows.)

Sources: Beauty of Birds - Icterids

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Sunday, June 17, 2018

June 17, 2018

Location: St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park

I'm another immature Little Blue Heron
My under wings are grey, yellow and pink.
I've no money to buy deodorant
So I preen when my underwings stink.

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Saturday, June 16, 2018

June 16, 2018


Location: St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park

I am an immature Little blue heron
My beauty cannot be disputed.
Even though I'm at that awkward stage
Where I look like I've been electrocuted.

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Friday, June 15, 2018

June 15, 2018

Location: St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park

We are baby Little Blue Herons
Anxiously waiting to be fed.
We put our beaks up to alert our parents,
"We're hungry but, don't eat our heads!"

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Thursday, June 14, 2018

June 14, 2018

Location: St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park

We are immature Tricolored Herons
Right now our beaks are orange and grey.
When we're adults our beaks will be orange and black,
Or blue and black when we're in the family way.

Sources: Wildscreen Arkive - Tricoloured Heron

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

June 13, 2018

Location: St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park

We are baby Little  Blue Herons,
We will stay white for about a year and a half.
Our hunting method is to stand and wait,
Unlike other herons who are more choreographed.

Sources: Cornell Lab - Little Blue Heron

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

June 12, 2018

Location: St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park

We are immature Tricolor Herons
We mostly look like our daddy and mummy.
When adult, we'll have fewer red feathers,
But we'll still have a white stripe down our neck and tummy.

Sources: Cornell Lab - Tricolor Heron

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Monday, June 11, 2018

June 11, 2018

Location: St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park

We are immature Snowy Egrets
We have black beaks like our mom and dad.
Although we will grow up to be beautiful,
Right now our plumage just looks patchy and sad.

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Sunday, June 10, 2018

June 10, 2018

Location: St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park

I'm an albino Alligator,
I lack the pigment melanin.
I would not survive in the wild,
Predators would find me cause I don't blend in.

Sources: Safari LTD - Albino/White Alligator

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Saturday, June 9, 2018

June 09, 2017

Location: St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park

I am an Indian Gharial
I live in Asia, and can be 15 feet long.
I remind Dee of a blind date she once had
With a guy's whose teeth were just seriously wrong.

(True story. Ask me about it sometime.)

Sources: Gharial | National Geographic

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Friday, June 8, 2018

June 8, 2018

Location: St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park

I am a Peninsula Cooter
Here's a clever nesting ruse that I deploy:
I dig 3 holes, and lay most of my eggs in one,
And use the other 2 as predator decoys.

Sources: Reptile & Amphibian Discovery Zoo - Florida Cooter Pseudemys peninsularis

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Thursday, June 7, 2018

June 7, 2018

Location: Sebastian, Riverwalk

This is Portulaca oleracea,
Commonly known as Purslane
It is edible and its taste can vary,
Based on the harvesting time of day.

Sources: University of Wisconsin-Extension Master Gardener Program - Common Purslane, Portulaca oleracea

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

June 6, 2018

Location: Riverwalk, Sebastian

This is the prosoma of a Horseshoe Crab
Although technically, it's not a crustacean.
They are in a class all by themselves,
But spiders are a closer relation.

Sources: Facts About Horseshoe Crabs and FAQ

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

June 5, 2018


Location: St. Augustine Alligator Farm (rookery)

I am a Snowy Egret
Protecting my babies from the hot sun.
But from this vantage point I resemble
A Polar bear taking a dump.

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Monday, June 4, 2018

June 4, 2018


Location: Sebastian, Riverwalk

I am known as a Loggerhead Shrike
Today the temperature is really quite hot.
So I flutter my neck muscles and open my mouth,
In order to promote heat loss -
Which looks like I'm panting, but I'm not.

Sources: How Birds Keep Their Cool

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Sunday, June 3, 2018

June 3, 2018

Location: Sebastian, Riverwalk

I am a Eurasian Collared Dove
Today the temperature is 90 degrees.
So I've got my wings and tail splayed out
So my body can get a cool breeze.

Sources: How Birds Keep Their Cool

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Saturday, June 2, 2018

June 2, 2018

Location: St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park, Fellsmere

I'm known as a Turkey Vulture,
My benefit to the environment is unrefutable
I clean the meat right off the streets
Don't hate me cause I'm beautiful.

Sources: Cornell Lab - Turkey Vulture

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Friday, June 1, 2018

June 1, 2018

Location: Hiawassee, GA, Holiday Inn Express

I'm a female American Robin,
I aggressively clack my bill if I get roused.
In winter I like to eat berries,
Including Honeysuckle, on which I get soused.

Sources: Cornell Lab - American Robin

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson