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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

Thursday, August 30, 2018

August 30, 2018

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

This plant is known as Firebush
It helps butterflies and birds to thrive.
But if it freezes, the plant will die back,
But the roots will probably survive.

Sources: Florida Native Plant Society - Firebush

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

August 29, 2018

Location: Fellsmere, my porch

I am an American Cockroach
I'm known in Florida as a "Palmetto Bug"
Cause "cockroach" sounds dirty and icky
But a "Palmetto Bug" is something you could just hug!

Sources: UF | IFAS Featured Creatures - American Cockroach

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

August 28, 2018

Location: Durham, NC, Museum of Life and Science

I am known as a Great Black Wasp
I dig tunnels under ground.
I lay eggs in the tunnels and next to each egg,
There's a Katydid or Cricket for my young to chow down.

Sources: Insect Identification for the Casual Observer - Great Black Wasp (Sphex pensylvanicus)

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Monday, August 27, 2018

August 27, 2018

Location: Durham, NC, Museum of Life and Science

I am an Augochloropsis metallica
Commonly known as a small Sweat Bee.
Me and my millions of little bee friends
Pollinate 1 of every 3 bites that you eat.

Sources: Bees of Georgia

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Sunday, August 26, 2018

August 26, 201

  Location: Durham, NC, Museum of Life and Science

I am a Silver-spotted Skipper,
As a caterpillar, legumes are what I devour.
As an adult, I prefer blue, purple, red -
You won't find me on yellow flowers.

Sources: Butterflies and Moths of North America

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Saturday, August 25, 2018

August 25, 2018

Location: Durham, NC, Museum of Life and Science

I am a Carolina Chickadee
I have a black cap and bright white cheeks.
I can live anywhere from forests to city parks,
As long as there are large trees.

Sources: Cornell Lab - Carolina Chickadee

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Friday, August 24, 2018

August 24, 2018

Location: Durham, NC, Museum of Life and Science

I am known as a Red Wolf
There are only 40 like me left in the wild.
I am going extinct because of habitat loss,
And senseless slaughter by humans, how vile.

Sources: Scientific American - 8 Years until Red Wolf Extinction?

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Thursday, August 23, 2018

August 23, 2018

Location: Durham, NC, Museum of Life and Science

I am a Common Whitetail Dragonfly
I live near water and patrol my habitat.
You know I'm male cause I have a white tail,
And I can mate in 3 seconds flat.

(This dragonfly was wild, on the grounds of the museum, not captive in the museum.)

Thanks to the folks on the Antman's Hill facebook page for the ID help!

Sources: Odonata Central - Common Whitetail

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

August 22, 2018

Location: Durham, NC, Museum of Life and Science

I am known as an American Black Bear,
I can weigh up to 300 pounds.
I'm the smallest bear species in the US,
And my fur can be black, blonde or brown.

Sources: Defenders of Wildlife - Basic Facts About Black Bears

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

August 21, 2018

Location: Durham, NC, Museum of Life and Science

I am a male Fiery Skipper,
I am more orange than my mate.
We mate on the day that we emerge from our cocoon,
Then she lays 50 to 150 eggs.

This was wild, not in museum. The Museum of Life and Science has an incredible pollinator garden. I am pretty sure we saw at least as many, if not more species out there than in the Insectarium. Tremendously cool.

Sources: UF | IFAS Featured Creatures - Fiery Skipper

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Monday, August 20, 2018

August 20, 2018

Location: Durham, NC, Museum of Life and Science

I am a Hamadryas Arinome.
I'm a type of "Cracker" butterfly.
I got that name cause I make a cracking noise,
To tell others in my territory, "Go away!]

Sources: Wikipedia 

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Sunday, August 19, 2018

August 19, 2018

Location: Durham, NC, Museum of Life and Science

I am a Zebra Mosaic Butterfly
I feed on Cecropia leaves when I am young
To protect myself from mean, nasty ants,
I sit on a chain made of silk and dung.

Sources: Learn About Butterflies - Mosaic

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Saturday, August 18, 2018

August 18, 2018

Location: Durham, NC, Museum of Life and Science

I'm a Heliconius erato emmaan
I'm a different subspecies of the Postman.
There are about 30 butterflies in my subspecies,
And Granadilla is my host plant.

Sources: Heliconius erato

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Friday, August 17, 2018

August 17, 2018

Location: Durham, NC, Museum of Life and Science

I am a Heliconius Melpomene,
The Postman Butterfly, more commonly.
When I'm larvae I like to eat Passiflora,
And I'm known to fly erratically.

Sources: Heliconius Homepage

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Thursday, August 16, 2018

August 16, 2018

Location: Durham, NC, Museum of Life and Science

I am a Blue Morpho Butterfly
Shown here from the underside.
From above I am bright, iridescent blue,
But with my wings closed, it's easier to hide.

Sources: UF | IFAS Featured Creatures - Blue Morpho Butterfly

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

August 15, 2018

Location: Durham, NC, Museum of Life and Science

I am an Owl Butterfly
To a predator, my eyespots look like an owl.
I like to get drunk on fermented fruit juice
And then go out on the prowl.

Sources: Natural History Museum - Spotlight: The Owl Butterfly

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

August 14, 2018

Location: Durham, NC, Museum of Life and Science

I am a male Giant Malaysian Walking Stick
I wear the perfect disguise.
I look exactly like a stick
Except, in general, sticks don't have eyes.

Sources: St. Louis Zoo - Mayalsian Walkingstick

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Monday, August 13, 2018

August 13, 2018

Location: Durham, NC, Museum of Life and Science

I'm a Goliath Birdeater Tarantula
South America is where I'm from.
I have 8 eyes, but I don't see much
So I use hair on my legs to sense vibrations.

Sources: Smithsonian's National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute - Goliath Bird Eating Tarantula

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Saturday, August 11, 2018

August 11, 2018

Location: North Carolina, rest stop

I am a Bumblebee on a Coneflower,
I'm one of 250 species worldwide.
My wingbeats are used for "buzz pollination",
You can thank me for the fruit I provide!

Sources: Life Science - Facts About Bumblebees

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Friday, August 10, 2018

August 10, 2018

Location: North Carolina, rest stop

This is a Purple Coneflower,
Perched on by a Black Swallowtail butterfly
Many species are attracted to this plant,
Including pollinators, birds, and other wildlife.

Sources: Florida Native Plant Society - Echinacea purpurea

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Thursday, August 9, 2018

August 9, 2018

Location: North Carolina rest stop

I'm Eastern Black Swallowtail butterfly,
I eat Poison Hemlock, which I digest with ease.
It's not something I recommend that you try -
If you want to know why, just go ask Socrates.

Sources: UF|IFAS Featured Creatures - Eastern Black Swallowtail

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

August 8, 2018

Location: Vero Beach, Lagoon Greenway

These are pneumatphores of a Black Mangrove
Which was cut down, this is what's left of the tree.
Pneumatphores are hollow or contain spongey tissue,
Which is how the Black Mangrove breathes.

Very special thanks to Carol Hebert for correcting my initial ID, and to Harry Breidahl taking the time to send me an email explaining in detail what I took a picture of. Quoting from his email:

"What you have observed here is the structure of a mangrove root system that allows it to survive in the aerobic (oxygen free) mud in which it grows. That wonderful smell of rotten-eggs generated by mangrove forest mud is the clue to the fact that this mud is an oxygen free environment (rotten egg gas = hydrogen sulphide). Because the roots of a mangrove tree are living they need oxygen to survive and the role of the pneumatophores is to provide this oxygen.

Here is how it works - pneumatophores are either partially hollow or full of spongy tissue and when the tide is out this allows the pneumatophore to adsorb fresh air. Then (and here is the fun bit) when the tide comes in and covers the pneumatophores the water pressure forces the ‘fresh’ air down into the mangrove roots. Because the tide goes in and out twice a day that means that mangrove roots breathe in twice a day and out twice a day. "

Click the link below for an excellent graphic that explains it further.

Sources: Marine Education Society of Australasia - Mangroves of Australia


Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

August 7, 2018

Location: Lakeland, Circle B Bar Reserve

This is Hibiscus grandiflorus
It's in the Mallow family.
This family has 1500 species,
Including Okra, if you're feeling hungry.

Sources: Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center - Hibiscus grandiflorus

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Monday, August 6, 2018

August 6, 2018

Location: Lakeland, Circle B Bar Reserve

I am known as a Black Vulture
I've got skin, not feathers on my head.
I'm in the same family as the California Condor,
But there's far more of me than them.

Sources: Cornell Lab - Black Vulture

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Sunday, August 5, 2018

August 5, 2018

Location: Lakeland, Circle B Bar Reserve

I am known as a Dragonfly
Shown here munching down on a bee.
I'm a fast and intelligent predator,
I even calculate my prey's trajectory.

Sources: 7 Things you never knew about dragonflies

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Saturday, August 4, 2018

August 4, 2018

Location: Lakeland, Circle B Bar Reserve

I am a Great Blue Heron
I have an intense gaze and large heavy bill.
I usually have my neck in a "S" shape,
I extend it quickly to stab what I want to kill.
But that doesn't mean that I'm cruel,
I do what I have to to keep my pot filled.

Sources: Cornel Lab - Great Blue Heron

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Friday, August 3, 2018

August 3, 2018

Location: Lakeland, Circle B Bar Reserve

I am known as a Great Egret
My legs and feet are both black.
My feathers are white, and I've a sharp, yellow bill,
That I snap out when I want a snack.

Sources: Cornell Lab - Great Egret

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Thursday, August 2, 2018

August 2, 2018

Location: Lakeland, Circle B Bar Reserve

This is the fruit of a Passion flower,
The flower itself is purple and butterflies love it.
Especially the Gulf Fritillary,
Who like the plant, love the sun above it.

Sources: Passion Vines Native to Central Florida

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

August 1, 2018

Location: Lakeland, Circle B Bar Reserve

I am a Gulf Fritillary Caterpillar
I was a yellow egg, but now I'm orange and spiny.
Next, I'll go through a phase where I'm a pupa,
Then I'll be a butterfly all pretty and shiny.

Sources: UF | IFAS Featured Creatures - Gulf fritillary butterfly

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson