Wednesday, May 22, 2019

May 22, 2019

Location: Fellsmere, New York Ave

We are known as Red Imported Fire Ants
We cause damage both painful and ecological
We are known to ruin soybean crops and attack
Ground dwelling birds with a vengeance pathological.

Sources: UF | IFAS Featured Creatures - Red Imported Fire Ants

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

May 21, 2019

Location: Fellsmere, Rails to Trails

I am a male Sachem butterfly
If I were female I'd have a white spot on my wing.
I spend my day perched down low on the ground
Looking for a female who's up for a fling.

Sources: Butterflies and Moths of North America - Sachem Atalopedes campestris (Boisduval, 1852) 

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Monday, May 20, 2019

May 20, 2019

Location: Viera, Viera Wetlands

We are about a dozen baby Alligators
Well disguised by our baby stripes
You have to look really hard to see us
Don't take a swim or you'll be very surprised!

Sources: Smithsonian's National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute - American Alligator

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Sunday, May 19, 2019

May 19, 2019

Location: Viera, Viera Wetlands

I am an adult Great Horned Owl
I'm an aggressive hunter and I'll persist.
My eyes don't move but I can swivel my head
Almost like the girl in The Exorcist.

Note: My mom loved owls, so this post is to honor her on what would have been her 87th birthday. This is a captive owl that is used for education, which we saw at the Viera Wetlands festival.

Sources: Cornell Lab All About Birds - Great Horned Owl

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Saturday, May 18, 2019

May 18, 2019

Location: Viera, Viera Wetlands

We are baby Anhingas
Right now we are pink, white and tan
When we grow up, we will be black and sleek
For right now, at least, that's our plan.

Sources: Cornell Lab All About Birds - Anhinga

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Friday, May 17, 2019

May 17, 2019

Location: Viera, Viera Wetlands

We are baby Great Blue Herons
We still live with mom in the nest.
Although our feathers help us blend in well,
Right now, they still look like a mess!

Sources: Cornel Lab All About Birds - Great Blue Heron

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Thursday, May 16, 2019

May 16, 2019

Location: Viera, Viera Wetlands

I am known as a Harris's Hawk
I like high perches, like a balcony.
I am social and don't mind humans,
So I'm often used for falconry.

Note: This was a captive bird that was used in a falconry demonstration at the Viera Wetlands Festival.

Sources: Cornel Labs All About Birds - Harris's Hawk

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

May 15, 2019

Location: Fellmere, Rails to Trails

I am an Eastern Coachwhip
My head's black but my body is tan
If you look close you can see I'm eating a big rat
I bet you are wondering how I can!

There's a myth that says I dislocate my jaw
But that is not actually true -
I have ligaments and tendons to help me
Open wide when I need to chew.
And one last thing - though I'm non-venomous
If you try to catch me, I will bite you.

Sources: How Do Snakes Swallow Large Animals?

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

May 14, 2019

Location: Little League Park, Fellsmere

I am a baby Pilleated Woodpecker
I don't have a big crest yet like my mom and dad.
But you can already see my red mustache,
So you know I'm not a lass, I'm a lad.

Sources: Cornell Lab All About Birds - Pileated Woodpecker

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Monday, May 13, 2019

May 13, 2019

Location: Fellsmere, Rails to Trails

I am another Asian Lady Beetle
Don't confuse me with a Ladybug.
I have much more white on my face,
As well as a much larger radius.

Sources: Asian Lady Beetle vs. Ladybug

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Sunday, May 12, 2019

May 12, 2019

Location: Fellsmere, Rails to Trails

I am a Florida Ivory Millipede
I don't really have 1000 feet.
But I do have 4 feet on each body segment,
And detritus is what I like to eat.

Sources: UF | IFAS Blogs - Rise of the Millipedes

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Saturday, May 11, 2019

May 11, 2019

Location: Fellsmere, Rails to Trails

This is Canna flaccida
The yellow's not petals, they are stamens
This plant is also called Golden Canna
In terms of the laymen.

Sources: UF | IFAS Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants - Canna flaccida

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Friday, May 10, 2019

May 10, 2019

Location: Fellsmere, Rails to Trails

I am a Twin-spot Skipper
I have two pairs of white spots on my wings
I am the only butterfly in the Oligoria genus
I like nectar from thistle, among other things.

Sources: Butterflies and Moths of North America - Twin-spot Skipper

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Thursday, May 9, 2019

May 9, 2019

Location: Fellsmere, Rails to Trails

I am an adult Asian Lady Beetle
Although I am great at my job
My drawback is in the winter
I show up at houses in a huge mob.

Note: If you are brave, read the linked article to see a few hundred thousand of these beetles hanging around together. I'm just glad it's not my house!

Sources: UF | IFAS Featured Creatures - Multicolored Asian Lady Beetle

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

May 8, 2019

Location: Fellsmere, Rails to Trails

I am the larvae of an Asian Lady Beetle
Harmonia axyridis, scientifcally.
I was introduced to the US to control arthropod pests
I do my job quite effectively.

Sources: UF | IFAS Featured Creatures - Multicolored Asian Lady Beetle

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

May 7, 2019

Location: Fellsmere, Rails to Trails

This is a species of sweat bee
In the Halictidae family.
I posted this picture for my honeybee
Today is our 14th anniversary

Sources: 2003 and now

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Monday, May 6, 2019

May 6, 2019

Location: Fellsmere, Rails to Trails

This is Dee beside Cirsium nuttallii
It's a very large type of Thistle.
Although it is loved by pollinators
Touching its thorns will make humans bristle.

Sources: Native Florida Wildflowers - Nuttall's Thistle - Cirsium nuttallii

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Sunday, May 5, 2019

May 5, 2019

Location: Sebastian, Friendship Park

I am a Florida Scrub Jay
You can see on my ankles that I am banded.
That doesn't mean that I committed a crime
Scientists just want to know where I've landed.

Sources: What to Do if You Spot a Banded Bird

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Saturday, May 4, 2019

May 4, 2019

Location: Sebastian, Rails to Trails

I am a Great-crested Flycatcher
I have a yellow tummy and thick, dark beak.
I don't just eat flies, I also like fruit
And my call is a loud, abrupt "weeeeep"

Sources: Cornell Lab All About  Birds - Great-crested Flycatcher

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Friday, May 3, 2019

May 3, 2019

Location: Fellsmere, St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park

We are known as Dung Beetles
We are in the Scarabaeinae family
We speed the decomposition of manure
And reduce pests like flies, all naturally.

Note: Make it a point to read the linked article below, it is super interesting!

Sources: The humble dung beetle is a great ally in the fight against climate change

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Thursday, May 2, 2019

May 2, 2019

Location: Vero Beach, Riverside Park

I'm known as a Green Heron
I'm one of the few birds known to use tools
I use fishing lures to attract dumb fish
Who didn't spend enough time in schools!

Sources: Cornell Lab All About Birds - Green Heron

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

May 1, 2019

Location: Jensen Beach, Hawk's Bluff Trail

I am a Gulf Fritillary butterfly
I live in the southern US to south of the West Indies.
I was an egg, then a larva, then in a pupa,
Which I escaped by doing a strip-tease.

Sources: UF | IFAS Featured Creatures - Gulf fritillary butterfly

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

April 30, 2019

Location: Fellsmere, Fellsmere Grade Recreation Area

I am a Roseate Spoonbill
In South America I'm a resident breeder
In Florida I breed in three areas,
And I'm a crayfish, shrimp, and crab eater.

Sources: Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission - Roseate Spoonbill Platalea ajaja

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Monday, April 29, 2019

April 29, 2019

Location: Fellsmere, Rails to Trails

I am the larva of a Sweet Potato Moth
Spodoptera dolichos is what scientists call me.
At this age, I am considered polyphagous,
Which means there are many different foods I can eat.

Sources: Bugguide.net - Sweet Potato Moth

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Sunday, April 28, 2019

April 28, 2019

Location: Fellsmere, Rails to Trails

This is Tropical Soda Apple
It's fruit is eaten by cattle, hogs and deer.
They poop out the fruit, which contains hundreds of seeds,
And the plant can produce 50 thousand seeds in a year.

Sources: USDA National Invasive Species Information Center - Tropical Soda Apple

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Saturday, April 27, 2019

April 27, 2019

Location: Fort Pierce, downtown

I am a female Peter's Rock Agama
I don't have a red head like my mate
I was brought to Florida via the pet trade
Now I'm established cause people let me escape.

Sources: FFWCC Nonnative Iguanas and Relatives

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Friday, April 26, 2019

April 26, 2019

Location: Fort Pierce, downtown

I am a male Peter's Rock Agama
I like to eat insects and bugs.
I also eat small mammals and reptiles
Which I catch with my mucousy tongue.

Sources: Wikipedia Agama Agama

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Thursday, April 25, 2019

April 25, 2019

Location: Fort Pierce, downtown

I'm a Northern Curly-Tailed lizard
I like to eat Brown Anoles
This is actually good thing
They are non native and need population control.

Sources: Wild Florida - Norther Curly Tailed Lizard

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

April 24, 2019

Location: Jensen Beach, Hawk's Bluff Trail

We are a flock of Cedar Waxwings
Note our black masks and yellow tips on our tails
Our wings have red tips,
How we get our kicks
Is eating lots of fruit, we don't eat, we inhale!

Note: Make sure you click to enlarge this picture, they are an incredibly pretty bird.

Sources: Cornell Lab All About Birds - Cedar Waxwing

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

April 23, 2019

Location: Fellsmere, Fellsmere Grade Recreation Area

I'm a non-breeding adult Palm Warbler
You can see my little red cap
If I were breeding, I'd be brighter yellow
And my cap would be a much fuller hat.
Sources: Cornell Lab All About Birds - Palm Warbler

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Monday, April 22, 2019

April 22, 2019

Location: Fellsmere, St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park

I am an air-breathing land snail
I like to hang out in grass that is weedy
Scientists call me Bulimulus sporadicus
But you can call me "speedy"

Sources: Bilimulus, Wikipedia
Bulimulus sporadicus (d’Orbigny, 1835) - JaxShells.org

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Sunday, April 21, 2019

April 21, 2019

Location: Fellsmere, my house

I am a male Painted Bunting
My wife looks nothing like me
I am beautiful like a rainbow
She is boring and yellowish-green.

Sources: Cornell Lab All About Birds - Painted Bunting

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Saturday, April 20, 2019

April 20, 2019

Location: Vero Beach, Memorial Island

We are a pair of Eastern Screech Owl
Although it looks like a mom baby-feeding
In fact we are both adults and we are
Pair-bonding by allopreening.

Sources: Social Behavior of North American Owls

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Friday, April 19, 2019

April 19, 2019

Location: Vero Beach, Memorial Island

I'm an adult Eastern Screech Owl
Trying to chill during the day.
Unfortunately our peace was disturbed
By incredibly annoying Blue Jays!

Note: In the Pish-free Birding class that we teach, one method of finding birds without using calls that we talk about is to let other birds tell you what is there. This picture is a great example of that - While playing Pokemon, my friend Rhett heard some Blue Jays screaming their heads off. Eventually, he realized that there was this pair of very well hidden Eastern Screech Owls sitting in the tree above the bench in the park. Although the Owls were minding their own business, eventually they got tired of being annoyed by the Blue Jays and flew off. Fortunately, I was able to snap a couple pictures before they left. Thanks to Rhett for the great find!

Sources: Cornell Lab All About Birds: What’s Going On When I See Little Birds Going After A Big Bird?

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Thursday, April 18, 2019

April 18, 2019

Location: Vero Beach, Riverside Park

I am a Cuban Brown Anole
In Florida, I am ubique
I have not changed in 20 million years
I've reached my evolutionary peak.

Sources: Reptile Magazine: Cuban Brown Anole No Longer Evolving, Scientists Say

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

April 17, 2019

Location: Vero Beach, Riverside Park

I'm known as a Marsh Rabbit
My tail is small and grayish-brown
I'm a good swimmer and like to hang out near water
But not-so-much Watership Down.

Sources:
Marsh Rabbit - Sylvilagus palustris
Watership Down

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

April 16, 2019

Location: Melbourne, Eau Gallie, Pineapple Park

I'm a Virginia Creeper Sphinx Moth
I can be found from Florida to Maine
And as far west as New Mexico
But I'm rare in the western part of my range.

Sources: Butterflies and Moths of North America - Virginia creeper sphinx 
Darapsa myron

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Monday, April 15, 2019

April 15, 2019

Location: Vero Beach, Riverside Park

This is a native Sea Grape
It has large leathery leaves and bright red veins.
Female Sea Grapes produce flowers and fruit
But the males aren't fruitful like dames.

Sources: Coccoloba uvifera: Seagrape

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Sunday, April 14, 2019

April 14, 2019

Location: Fellsmere, St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park

I am a female wild Turkey
I am a popular dinner time food.
As is my lazy husband
Who never helps me out with our brood.

Sources: Cornell Lab All About Birds - Wild Turkey

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Saturday, April 13, 2019

April 13, 2019

Location: Fellsmere, St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park

I am a male Northern Bobwhite
I'm short and plump and my tummy's white speckled.
My face is black and white striped,
And my wings have darker brown freckles.

Sources: Cornell Lab All About Birds - Northern Bobwhite

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Friday, April 12, 2019

April 12, 2019

Location: Fellsmere, St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park

I'm a American White Pelican
I'm one of the largest North American birds.
But due to habitat loss and human disturbance
I'm a species of moderate concern.

Sources: Cornell Lab - All About Birds - American White Pelican

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Thursday, April 11, 2019

April 11, 2019

Location: Fellsmere, St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park

I am a Tricolored Heron
I found a stick to take back to my mate.
She will arrange it to make the nest pretty
And we'll hatch eggs in our palatial estate.

Sources: Cornell Lab All About Birds - Tricolored Heron

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

April 10, 2019

Location: Fellsmere, St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park

I am a Roseate Spoonbill
This is how I feed:
I swing my beak side-to-side in the water
Trying to find a treat.

Sources: Smithsonian's National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute - Roseate Spoonbill 

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

April 9, 2019

Location: Fellsmere, St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park

I am known as a Black Vulture
Check out my pretty white legs
Humans say it's gross that they are covered in poop
But I've known I'm pretty since I was an egg.

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Monday, April 8, 2019

April 8, 2019

Location: Fellsmere, St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park

I am a Black Vulture
Eating a large dead fish.
I find fresh flowers on the table
Makes the dead fish smell extra delish'

Note: Last week I held a contest, Guess whose wing? The winners were Joy Handley (Facebook) and Rochelle Hood (email subscriber). I had one person guess Black Vulture, and here is my explanation about how it can be tricky to identify the difference in their wings:

This is a little tricky - when you see vultures fly, you only see them from underneath. From that vantage point, it is easy to see that black vultures have black wings, but wear white gloves, but turkey vultures have white from their finger tips to their arm pit. On the ground though, you will notice that the white on the black vulture is on both the top and bottom of the wing, but on the Turkey Vulture, the white is only on the underside of the wing. Notice in the 2 pictures below - in the first one, the Turkey Vulture is facing us, so you see the whitish underside of the wing. But in the second picture, he has his back to us, so you hardly see the white.





Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Sunday, April 7, 2019

April 7, 2019

Location: Sebastian, Rails to Trails

We are baby Eastern Lubber Grasshoppers
We hatch in large numbers, all at one time.
When we are adults we eat and eat and eat
And eat just about everything in sight!

Sources: UF|IFAS Features Creatures - Eastern Lubber Grasshopper

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Saturday, April 6, 2019

April 6, 2019

Location: Fellsmere, Stick Marsh

I am a Great Southern White butterfly
Biden's Alba is the plant that I'm on.
I also like nectar from Verbena.
I only life a short time, then I'm gone.

Sources: Butterflies and Moths of North America - How long do butterflies and moths live?

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Friday, April 5, 2019

April 5, 2019

Location: Fellsmere, Stick Marsh

I'm known as a Limpkin
I like to eat Apple Snails
I use my beak to pull them from their shell
But occasionally I fails.

Sources: Cornell Lab All About Birds - Limpkin

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson