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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

Saturday, October 27, 2018

October 27, 2018

Location: Vero, Memorial Island

I am a female Black-throated Green Warbler
I don't have a black throat like my mate.
I have two white wing bars and a white tummy,
And my bill is black, thick and straight.

Sources: Cornell Lab All About Birds - Black-throated Green Warbler

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Friday, October 26, 2018

October 26, 2018

Location: Sebastian, Private residence

I am an adult male Summer Tanager
You know I'm not a Cardinal cause there's no black on my face.
I'm the only totally red bird in North America -
My kid's yellowish and so is my mate.

Sources: Cornell Lab All About Birds - Summer Tanager

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Thursday, October 25, 2018

October 25, 2018

Location: Palm Bay, Turkey Creek Sanctuary

This is called Monarda punctata,
Spotted Horsemint or Beebalm are it's other names.
Its genus was named for Nicolas Bautista Monardes
A botanist who studied medicinal plants in Spain.

Botanists are amazing people,
Who spend their time studying planties.
So let's all thank a botanist today,
Thanks and Happy Birthday to my bestie, Joy Handley.

Sources: Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center Plant Database - Monarda punctata

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

October 24, 2018

Location: Palm Bay, Turkey Creek Sanctuary

We are known as Lovebugs,
It's common to see us do the horizontal greased-weasel tango.
In addition to each other, we are attracted to roads,
And we wreck paint on cars from Fits to Durangos.

Sources: UF|IFAS Featured Creatures - Lovebug

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

October 23, 2018

Location: Malabar, Malabar Scrub

This is Yellow Milkwort.
Florida's the only place that it grows.
Its seeds are spread by ants who eat the "food body",
And then the seeds, in a heap, are disposed.

Sources: Wild South Florida - Yellow Milkwort  (This is a very interesting article, read to find out what a food body is!)

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Monday, October 22, 2018

October 22, 2018

Location: Palm Bay, Turkey Creek Sanctuary

This is Helianthus debilis
Dune Sunflower is it's common name.
It is both salt and drought tolerant,
But it can't tolerate too much rain.

Sources: University of Floria IFAS Extension EDIS - Helianthus debilis Beach Sunflower 

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Sunday, October 21, 2018

October 21, 2018

Location: Malabar, Malabar Scrub

This is Mikania scandens,
It's known as Climbing Hempweed commonly.
It is the host plant for the Little Metalmark butterfly,
But in Hawaii, it's a noxious weed.

Sources: USDA Natural Resources Conservation Sciences Plan Database - Mikania scandens - Climbing Hempvine 

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Saturday, October 20, 2018

October 20, 2018

Location: Malabar, Malabar Scrub

This is Lachnanthes caroliana
Called Redroot more commonly.
It is a perennial plant and native here,
And it's in the Bloodwort family.

Sources: UF | IFAS Center for Aquatic and Invasive plants - Lachnanthes caroliniana

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Friday, October 19, 2018

October 19, 2018

Location: Malabar, Malabar Scrub

This is Chamaecrista fasciculata
Commonly known as Partridge Pea.
It's large, showy flowers with red accents,
Just call out, "Come on Get Happy!"

Sources: Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center - Chamaecrista fasciculata

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Thursday, October 18, 2018

October 18, 2018

Location: Malabar, Malabar Scrub

This is a female Dahoon Holly.
It's branches have green leaves and red berries on the end.
The plant is dioecious which means
To get berries it needs a boyfriend.

Sources: Florida Native Plant Society - Ilex Cassine

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

October 17, 2018

Location: Malabar, Malabar Scrub

This is Coreopsis leavenworthii
Being visited by an insect.
It's the state wildflower in Florida
And self-seeds so can grow unchecked.

Sources: Florida Native Plant Society - Coreopsis leavenworthii

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

October 16, 2018

Location: Malabar, Malabar Scrub

I am a Florida Scrub Jay
This is my acorn and you can't have it.
I'm gonna bury it to eat it later
I hope I remember where I stash it!

Sources: Cornell Lab - Florida Scrub Jay

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Monday, October 15, 2018

October 15, 2018

Location: Malabar, Malabar Scrub

This is a Gopher Apple
When it ripens, it is sure to be eaten.
It grows well in sand and Gopher Tortoises
Think that it's taste can't be beaten.

Sources: UF | IFAS Gardening Solutions - Gopher Apple

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Sunday, October 14, 2018

October 14, 2018

Location: Vero Beach, Memorial Island

I am an adult male House Finch
If I was young or female my head wouldn't be red.
My wings are short, which makes my tail look long,
And I have a big beak and a long, flat head.

Sources: Cornell Lab - House Finch

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Saturday, October 13, 2018

October 13, 2018

Location: Sebastian, Rails to Trails

I am known as Red-shouldered Hawk
I have a loud whistling shriek.
You hear it quite often, but sometimes,
It's just a Blue Jay imitating me.

Sources: Audubon Guide to North American Birds - Red-shouldered Hawk

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Friday, October 12, 2018

October 12, 2018

Location: Sebastian, Rails to Trails

This is Osmanthus americanus
Also known as Wild Olive or Devilwood.
It has small white flowers in the springtime.
And in winter, birds eat the fruit.

Sources: US Forest Service - Osmanthus americanus Devilwood

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Thursday, October 11, 2018

October 11, 2018

Location: Sebastian, Rails to Trails

This is Ludwigia Octovalvis,
Around here, it is not a foreigner.
Despite the common name Mexican Primrosewillow,
It really is native to Florida.

This plant can be found in marshes
Nearly everywhere in Florida you go.
In other countries though it's considered a weed
Which affects crops such as rice and cocoa.

Sources: CABI Invasive Species Compendium

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

October 10, 2018

Location: Sebastian, Rails to Trails

This is Ludwigia peruviana
It's an exotic, and it's spread is wide.
But it took many years to determine
The "Invasive, Class 1" label should be applied.

(The article linked below is a fascinating account of the detective work that goes into declaring whether or not a plant is native.)

Sources: Native or Not: Studies of problematic species - Primrose Willow Ludwigia peruviana

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

October 9, 2018

Location: St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park

This is Hypericum brachyphyllum
Coastal Plain St. John's Wort is it's common name.
You can find it in pine flatwoods and borrow pits,
And as the name implies, on coastal plains.

Sources: Flora of North America - Hypericum brachyphyllum

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Monday, October 8, 2018

October 8, 2018

Location: Hobe Sound, Jonathan Dickinson State Park

I am a Zebra Swallowtail Butterfly
My wings have black and white stripes.
When I'm a caterpillar I like to eat Pawpaw,
As an adult, nectar is what I like.

Sources: Butterflies and Moths of North America - Zebra Swallowtail 

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Sunday, October 7, 2018

October 7, 2018

Location: Hobe Sound, Jonathan Dickinson State Park


I'm a female Black and Yellow garden spider
I have three claws on each of my feet.
I use the extra claw when spinning my web
Or wrapping up tasty treats.

My boyfriend is much smaller than me,
He plucks my web strings to get my attention.
The we go on a date, have fun and mate,
The result is a spider convention!

Note: Many people see this spider and are instantly terrified based on it's size. Although all spiders have some venom, in general, in Florida, only the Black Widow and Brown Widow have venom that is harmful to humans. Although there are many alleged bites from Brown Recluse spiders, in reality there are very few confirmed Brown Recluse spiders in Florida. They are almost always brought in via luggage, cars, packing crates and so forth and have not been confirmed breeding here.

Note though, that spider bites can be similar to bee stings in that some people can have allergic reactions.  People who are allergic to bee stings can die from just one sting, whereas in the general population, bees (and most spiders) are not harmful, and in fact are quite beneficial to humans.

Sources: University of Michigan Museum of Zoology Animal Diversity Web - Argiope aurantia

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Saturday, October 6, 2018

October 6, 2018

Location: Hobe Sound Visitor Center

This is known as a Coconut Palm
It is common on tropical shores.
It produces coconuts that are eaten as food,
And Copra, used in soap, oil and more.

Sources: University of Florida IFAS Extension - The Coconut Palm in Florida

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Friday, October 5, 2018

October 5, 2018


Location: Hobe Sound, Jonathan Dickinson State Park

You can tell a Gopher Tortoise has been here
And that his digestion is working.
Its poop resembles a cigar with grass in it,
Scat hunting is part of nature observing.

Sources: Gopher Tortoise Burrow Identification Guide

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Thursday, October 4, 2018

October 4, 2018

Location: Hobe Sound, Jonathan Dickinson State Park

I'm known as an Oak Toad
I'm a tiny, tiny guy
And I'm often the color of the dirt
So I'm always well disguised.

(See if you can find him in here. I promise this isn't a joke, there really is at least on oak toad in this picture!)

Sources: Animal Diversity Web - Anaxyrus quercicus Oak Toad

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

October 3, 2018


Location: Hobe Sound, Jonathan Dickinson State Park

This is known as a Sand Live Oak
It has canoe-shaped leaves.
It's acorns are eaten by bears, squirrels and deer,
Any many different bird species.

Sources: Encyclopedia of Life - Quercus geminata, Sand Live Oak

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

October 2, 2018

Location: Hobe Sound, Jonathan Dickinson State Park

I'm a Red-headed Woodpecker
I'm easy to spot from a long distance.
Look for blocks of red, black and white,
I'm not mottled like the Red-Bellied, for instance.

(Thanks to David for pointing out this key identifier when identifying woodpeckers from a distance.)

Sources: Cornell Lab - Red-Headed vs. Red-Bellied Woodpecker

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Monday, October 1, 2018

October 1, 2018


Location: Hobe Sound, Jonathan Dickinson State Park

I am a female Halloween Pennant
I do the deed in a way quite dramatic.
My mate grasps my head, and we form a circle -
It helps that I practice acrobatics.

Sources: UF | IFAS Featured Creatures - Halloween Pennant

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson