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Saturday, March 23, 2019

March 23, 2019

Location: Ocala National Forest

This is known as Spanish Moss,
Although it not moss, nor is it from Spain.
It's tiny, grey scales can hold water
To keep it alive during times of no rain.

Sources: 10 Things You Should Know About Spanish Moss

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Friday, March 22, 2019

March 22, 2019

Location: Ocala National Forest

This is known as Mistletoe
It's a parasite that grows on trees
It steals water and minerals from its host
Which is how in the winter it can stay green.

Sources: How Mistletoe Became Everyone's Favorite Parasite

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Thursday, March 21, 2019

March 21, 2019

Location: Ocala National Forest

I am an American Goldfinch
I'm either immature or a non-breeding female.
If I was male I'd have more yellow on me
And black on my head, wings and tail.

Sources: Cornell Labs All About Birds - American Goldfinch

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

March 20, 2019

Location: Ocala National Forest

I am a Tufted Titmouse
Shown here in a better light
I have a dark patch just above my beak
My wings are gray and my tummy is white.

Sources: Cornell Labs All About Birds - Tufted Titmouse

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

March 19, 2019

Location: Ocala National Forest

I am a Tufted Titmouse
You can ID me by my silhouette.
My head looks like a tiny version of
A Blue Jay's head with a pointy crest.

Sources: Cornell Lab All About Birds - Tufted Titmouse

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Monday, March 18, 2019

March 18, 2019

Location: Palm Coast, Waterfront Park

I am a female Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Males have a red throat, but mine is white.
I use my tail for balance
When perching on trees upright.

Sources: Cornell Lab All About Birds - Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Sunday, March 17, 2019

March 17, 2019

Location: Ocala National Forest

I am a Red-headed Woodpecker
I catch insects by pecking on trees.
I also catch insects in flight,
And occasionally eat fruit and seeds.

Sources: Cornell Lab All About Birds - Red-headed Woodpecker

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Saturday, March 16, 2019

March 16, 2019

Location: Big Day

I am a Red-bellied Woodpecker
As woodpeckers go, I'm medium size.
My tongue is barbed and I have sticky spit,
Which helps me catch bugs and their allies.

Sources: Cornell Lab - All About Birds - Red-bellied Woodpecker

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Friday, March 15, 2019

March 15, 2019

Location: Ocala National Forest

I am a Downy Woodpecker
The Red-Cockaded looks similar to me.
But I don't have a large white cheek patch,
And I'm less of a rarity.

Sources: Cornell Lab All About Birds - Compare Red-cockaded and Downy Woodpecker
Audubon Guide to North American Birds - Red-cockaded Woodpecker

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Thursday, March 14, 2019

March 14, 2019

Location: Ocala National Forest

I'm a Red-cockaded Woodpecker
I have an itty-bitty red cockade.
It identifies me, but it's seldom seen,
But alas, it is why I was named.

Sources: Cornell Lab All About Birds - Red-cockaded Woodpecker

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

March 13, 2019

Location: Polk County, Circle B Bar Reserve

On the left is a Common Gallinule
On the right, an American Coot.
An easy way to tell them apart
Is by the color of their snoot.

Sources: Cornell Lab All About Birds - Compare American Coot with Common Gallinule

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

March 12, 2019

Location: Polk County, Circle B Bar Reserve

I'm known as an Anhinga
You can see I've a bulge in my neck.
It's in the shape of an armored catfish.
I'll just sit here and let him digest.

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Monday, March 11, 2019

March 11, 2019

Location: Polk County, Circle B Bar Reserve

I'm known as an Anhinga.
I'm taking a little lunch break.
I'm going after this Armored Catfish
The way Dee attacks chocolate cake.

Sources: Eat the Invaders - Armored Catfish

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Sunday, March 10, 2019

March 10, 2019

Location: Polk County, Circle B Bar Reserve

I'm known as an Armored Catfish
Shown here with my friend the Anhinga
He's such a great guy, he invited me
Back to his place for dinner.

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Saturday, March 9, 2019

March 9, 2019

Location: Polk County, Circle B Bar Reserve

I am a Great Blue Heron
Having a little lunch snack
Hey wait a minute, what the heck?
My lunch is fighting back!

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Friday, March 8, 2019

March 8, 2019

Location: Polk County, Circle B Bar Reserve

I am known as a Cray-fish snake
I'm mid-sized and live in the water.
I like to eat crayfish - hence my name -
I think Herons are bully marauders.

Sources: Savannah River Ecology Laboratory - Glossy Crayfish Snake (Regina rigida)

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Thursday, March 7, 2019

March 7, 2019

Location: Polk County, Circle B Bar Reserve

We are a pair of Blue-wing Teal
We do not mate for life.
We'll get together, have a few kids.
Then next year I'll find a new wife.

Sources: Cornell Lab All About Birds - Blue-winged Teal

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

March 6, 2019

Location: Polk County, Circle B Bar Reserve

I am an exotic Island Apple Snail
In Florida, I'm the largest snail species known.
This Limpkin is giving new meaning
To eating me out of house and home.

Sources: Florida's Apple Snails

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

March 5, 2019

Location: Polk County, Circle B Bar Reserve

I am a Banded Water Snake
People confuse me with a Cottonmouth.
I am harmless, but Cottonmouths are not
But we are both found throughout the south.

(Please read the excellent article linked below for detailed information on how to tell the harmless Banded Watersnake from the venomous Cottonmouth snake. Another great resource is the Florida Snake ID group on Facebook.)

Sources: UF Wildlife - Johnson Lab: Harmless Watersnake or Venomous Water Moccasin?

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Monday, March 4, 2019

March 4, 2019

Location: Polk County, Circle B Bar Reserve

I'm a Black Bellied Whistling Duck
I like to nest in tree cavities.
My duckings will jump right out of my nest
Within one or two days of hatching.

Sources: Audubon Guide to North American Birds - Black-bellied Whistling Ducks

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Sunday, March 3, 2019

March 3, 2019

Location: Polk County, Circle B Bar Reserve

I am known as Barred Owl
There is a threat that cannot be ignored.
There is a predator who will eat me and my young -
You know him as the Great Horned.

Sources: Cornell Lab All About Birds- Barred Owl

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Saturday, March 2, 2019

March 2, 2019

Location: Sebastian, Riverwalk

In the center, I am a Ring-billed Gull
Surrounded by my Grackle friends
One of them has a much shorter tail
I think someone was mean to his end.

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Friday, March 1, 2019

March 1, 2019

Location: Sebastian Inlet

I am known as a Willet
I'm a large shorebird with a thick, straight bill.
John James Audubon really liked me
Especially on the grill.

Sources: Cornell Lab All About Birds - Willet

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Thursday, February 28, 2019

February 28, 2019

Location: Sebastian, Riverwalk

I'm a male Boat-tailed Grackle
Snakes, rats and gators are my predators.
I have a harem, but if I want to get down,
I have to first fight off all my competitors.

Sources: Cornell Lab All About Birds - Boat Tailed Grackle

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

February 27, 2019

Location: Sebastian, Riverwalk

I am a Female Boat-tailed Grackle
I'll eat anything including other birds eggs.
I'll eat out of dumpsters and in city parks
Picking at picnicker's dregs.

Sources: Cornell All About Birds - Boat Tailed Grackle

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

February 26, 2019

Location: Sebastian Inlet

A Tricolored Heron (t.r) and a Snowy Egret
Can mate but the result will barren.
The young will be multicolored, and have yellow feet,
And might be mistaken for a Reef Heron.

(Note: I photographed the bird mentioned in the article below back in 2013, and all these years I thought it was the Reef Heron, which it was identified as at the time. I just saw this article and realized that my life list is a lie.)
Sources: Heron Hybrid

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Monday, February 25, 2019

February 25, 2019

Location: Sebastian Inlet

At the top there is a Great Egret
At the bottom there is a Snowy.
The  Snowy Egret is slender and lithe,
The Great Egret is a tad more doughy.

Sources: Cornell Lab All About Birds - Compare Great Egret and Snowy Egret

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Sunday, February 24, 2019

February 24, 2019

Location: Titusville, Blackpoint Wildlife Drive
Text.

I am known as a Snowy Egret
I look like a delicate flower.
But don't be surprised, prim looks aside,
My loud, screechy call might make you cower.

Sources: Audubon Guide to North American Birds - Snowy Egret

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Saturday, February 23, 2019

February 23, 2019

Location: Fellsmere, St. Sebastian Preserve State Park

I am known as a Great Egret
I'll be in full breeding plumage soon.
Notice my lores are starting to turn green,
And my plumes will soon make the girls swoon.

Sources: Cornell Lab All About Birds - Great Egret

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Friday, February 22, 2019

February 22, 2019

Location: Sebastian Inlet

I'm known as a Brown Pelican
I have a seven to eight foot wing span.
I eat up to four pounds of fish every day
With this beak, you're not surprised that I can!

Sources: American Bird Conservancy - Brown Pelican

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Thursday, February 21, 2019

February 21, 2019

Location: Sebastian Inlet

We are known as Royal Terns
You can find us by the shore
We're not as popular in California
Cause there aren't many Sardines there anymore.

Sources: Audubon Guide to North American Birds

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

February 20, 2019

Location: Sebastian Inlet

I'm known as a Forster's Tern
I look like I have a black eye.
I look like an upside down checkmark with wings
When I'm preparing to take a dive.

Sources: Wikipedia Commons, Forster's Tern in Flight

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

February 19, 2019

Location: Sebastian Inlet

I am known as a Caspian Tern
Invade my colony, and I'll make you bleed.
But Bald Eagles, hey that's another thing -
When I see one I immediately flee.

Sources: Cornell All About Birds - Caspian Tern

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Monday, February 18, 2019

February 18, 2019

Location: Sebastian Inlet

I am known as a Royal tern
I wear a black cap - but only when breeding.
I dive into the sea to catch me some fish -
But only when I am feeding.

Sources: Cornell All About Birds - Royal Tern

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Sunday, February 17, 2019

February 17, 2019

Location: Sebastian Inlet

On the left, there is is a Ring-billed Gull.
On the right, there is a Laughing.
The Ring-bill gull is a larger bird,
Other than size, the differences can be baffling.

Sources: Cornell Lab All About Birds - Compare Ring-billed and Laughing Gulls

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Saturday, February 16, 2019

February 16, 2019

Location: Sebastian Inlet

I'm known as a Ring-billed Gull
I like to feast at garbage dumps
Where landfills change to closed incinerators,
Our numbers begin to slump.

Sources: Cornell Lab All About Birds - Ring-billed Gull

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Friday, February 15, 2019

February 15, 2019

Location: Sebastian Inlet

I'm known as a Laughing Gull
I nearly went extinct because of the feather trade
Then my numbers started increasing,
Today you can find me in salt marshes, oceans and bays.

Sources: Audubon Guide to North American Birds - Laughing Gull

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Thursday, February 14, 2019

February 14, 2019

Location: Sebastian Inlet

I'm known as a Bonaparte's Gull
I look less like a gull than a tern.
My population is stable -
I'm a species of least concern.

Sources: Audubon Guide to North American Birds - Bonaparte's Gull

Endangered Species Categories and Criteria

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Special Bonus Valentines Day Post

Location: Palm Coast, Spray Fields

We are a pair of Red-shoulderd Hawks
Getting down and dirty
What a great way to start Valentines day -
It's only 7:30!

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

February 13, 2019

Location: Sebastian Inlet

I'm known as a Black Skimmer
Sometimes I flop on the beach
With my tummy and chin resting on the sand
Don't wake me up, I beseech!

Sources: The Black Skimmer: A Scissor-beaked Night Hunter 

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

February 12, 2019

Location: Sebastian Inlet

I am a Black Skimmer
In case you aren't aware -
I have multiple special talents,
Including picking my armpit in midair.

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Monday, February 11, 2019

February 11, 2019

Location: Sebastian Inlet

I'm known as a Black Skimmer
I am a tactile feeder.
I skim the water surface looking for food
And I'm known to be a small fish eater.

Sources: Cornell Lab  All About Birds - Black Skimmer

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Sunday, February 10, 2019

February 10, 2019

Location: Titusville, Blackpoint Wildlife Drive

I'm known as a Black Skimmer
The top of my bill's shorter than the bottom.
It's orange and black, but don't be taken aback,
The way that I eat is quite awesome.

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Saturday, February 9, 2019

February 9, 2019

Location: Titusville, Blackpoint Wildlife Drive

We are two Roseate Spoonbills
We nearly went extinct because of plumage hunters.
Today the poultry industry
Provides feathers for decorations and dusters.

Sources: The ethics of wearing feathers: it's not just live-plucking that's a problem

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Friday, February 8, 2019

February 8, 2019

Location: Location

We are known as American Coot
We are common throughout the US.
You might confuse us with a Common Gallinule,
But their beak is more colorful, ours is less.

Sources: Audubon Guide to North American Birds - American Coot

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Thursday, February 7, 2019

February 7, 2019

Location: Titusville, Blackpoint Wildlife Drive

We are a flock of White Ibis
Startled into the air, probably by a predator.
When in flight, we use a small muscle
At the base of our tail, called the Levator.

Sources: Cornell Lab - All About Bird Anatomy

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

February 6, 2019

Location: Titusville, Blackpoint Wildlife Drive

I am a male Blue-wing Teal
When I want to impress girls, I submerge my head.
I raise up my tail and stick my feet in the air,
I look ducky - well, that's what she said.

Sources: Audubon Guide to North American Birds - Blue Wing Teal

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

February 5, 2019

Location: Titusville, Blackpoint Wildlife Drive

I am a male Northern Shoveler
I strain food with my spatulate bill.
I swim slowly while skimming the surface.
And filter food till I get my fill.

Sources: Audubon Guide to North American Birds - Northern Shoveler

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Monday, February 4, 2019

February 4, 2019

Location: Fellsmere, St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park

I am a Pine Warbler
From here, you can't see the bars on my wings
But my voice is the same, and I'm in a pine tree,
And you can still see my broken eye ring.

Sources: Cornell Lab All About Birds - Pine Warbler

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Sunday, February 3, 2019

February 3, 2019

Location: Fellsmere, St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park

I'm known as a Pine Warbler
Scientifically: Setophaga pinus
I like to hang out near the top of tall pines,
So you can call me "your highness".

Sources: Cornell Lab All About Birds - Pine Warbler

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson