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Friday, August 23, 2019

August 23, 2019

Location: Private residence, Vero Beach

This is "Shelf" or "Bracket" fungus
Growing on the Sweetgum Tree
The fungus causes the tree to rot inside
And is a sign that the tree is not healthy.

Sources: Utah State University Department of Biology Intermountain Herbarium - Shelf Fungi

USDA Field Guide to Common Macrofungi in Eastern Forests and Their Ecosystem Functions


Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Thursday, August 22, 2019

August 22, 2019

Location: Private residence, Vero Beach

This is an American Sweetgum
It was struck by lighting in the recent past
The tree appears to have no life left
But let's not judge it too fast...

(To be continued....)

Sources: Gardening Know How - Trees Hit By Lightning: Repairing Lightning Damaged Trees

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

August 21, 2019

Location: Private residence, Vero Beach

These is Yellow Necklacepod
These are the seedpods, which are mature
The pods resemble a beaded necklace,
So the name is not too obscure.

Sources: The Florida Wildflower Foundation - Flower Friday: Yellow necklacepod

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

August 20, 2019

Location: Private residence, Vero Beach

This is a Southern Magnolia
The seed pod, specifically.
When it opens red berries are revealed
Then eaten by squirrels and birds, typically.

Sources: Propagating Magnolia Seeds: How To Grow A Magnolia Tree From Seed

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Monday, August 19, 2019

August 19, 2019

Location: Private residence, Vero Beach

I am a Florida Carpenter Ant
Look close you can see my jaw
But I won't chew up your house like black carpenter ants
Already rotten wood's what I like to gnaw.

Sources: UF | IFAS University of Florida Featured Creatures - Florida Carpenter Ant

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson




Sunday, August 18, 2019

August 18, 2019

Location: Fellsmere, my house

I am a juvenile Black Racer
When I grow up I'll be black with a white underside
I'm non-venomous, so just let me live in your yard
And appreciate the rat control I provide.

Sources: Savannah River Ecology Laboratory, University of Georgia - Black Racer (Coluber constrictor)

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Saturday, August 17, 2019

August 17, 2019

Location: Private residence, Vero Beach

I'm a male Dilemma Orchid Bee
I'm metallic green and I have a long tongue
I use my back legs to store perfume
To attract someone to bear my young.

Sources: UF | IFAS Featured Creatures - Green Orchid Bee

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Friday, August 16, 2019

August 16, 2019


Location: Private residence, Vero Beach

This is the work of a Leafcutter Bee
She chewed the leaf and flew off with the bits.
She will use the chewed leaf to protect her eggs
In a hole that already exists.

Sources: Honeybee Conservancy - Leafcutter Bee

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Thursday, August 15, 2019

August 15, 2019

Location: Trailhead Preserve, Fellsmere

I am an Eastern Lubber Grasshopper
In bio classrooms,  my fate is dissection.
I'm easily ID'd cause I'm large and don't jump
And have a colorful yellow-orange complexion.

Sources: UF | IFAS Featured Creatures - Eastern Lubber Grasshopper

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

August 14, 2019

Location: Riverview Coffee, Tea, & Books, Sebastian

I am a Great Blue Heron
I am a carnivore
I usually eat fish, sometimes frogs or birds
And occasionally a vole or gopher.

I stopped by the bookstore to feed my habit, and this guy was staring longingly in the window the whole time I was there. It was a very hot day and I think he wanted some ice coffee!

Sources: Audubon Guide to North American Birds - Great Blue Heron

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

August 13, 2019

Location: Vero Beach, private residence

These are known as Muscadine Grapes
They make tasty jellies and wines
There are dozens of Muscadine cultivars
For those who prefer their grapes by design.

Sources: California Rare Fruit Growers - Muscadine Grape

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Monday, August 12, 2019

August 12, 2019

Location: Melbourne, Hundred Acre Hollows

This is Canadian Horseweed
Also called Canadian Fleabane
It is native but can be invasive,
250,000 seeds per plant are hard to contain.

Thanks to Jim Stahl and Carol Hebert for ID help with these plants.

Sources: CABI Invasive Species Compendium - Conyza canadensis (Canadian fleabane)

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Sunday, August 11, 2019

August 11, 2019

Location: Melbourne, Hundred Acre Hollows

This is known as Pink Purslane
"Kiss-me-quick" is another common name -
Because it opens its flowers in the morning
But closes them quickly, by midday.

Thanks to Jim Stahl and Carol Hebert for ID help with these plants.

Sources: UF | IFAS Blogs - Wildflower, weed, … or groundcover?

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Saturday, August 10, 2019

August 10, 2019

Location: Melbourne, Hundred Acre Hollows

I am a Florida Ceraunus Blue butterfly
I look grey, but my inner wings are blue
I have one eyespot on my hind wing
If I was from the southwest, there'd be two.

Sources: Butterflies and Moths of North America - Ceraunus Blue

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Friday, August 9, 2019

August 9, 2019

Location: Melbourne, Hundred Acre Hollows

This is Vitis rotundifolia
In North America, the first cultivated grape.
From Humans and Raccoons, to deer, birds, and bugs -
It has a taste nearly everyone craves.

Sources: University of Florida IRAS Extension - The Muscadine Grape

The Arbor Gate Blog - How do I keep the birds OUT of my grapes?

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Thursday, August 8, 2019

August 8, 2019

Location: Melbourne, Hundred Acre Hollows

This is the scat of a Bobcat
Also known as the Florida Lynx
It's a close relation to panthers and house cats,
And very distantly related to Sphinx.

Sources: Sciencing - Facts on Wild Bobcats in Florida

Ancient History Encyclopedia - Sphinx

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

August 7, 2019

Location: Melbourne, Hundred Acre Hollows

I am an Eastern Leaf-footed Bug
Shown here sitting on Bitter Melon
I've been known to attack citrus and pecan crops
In which case, growers send me to heaven.

Sources: UF | IFAS Featured Creatures - Leaffooted Bug

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

August 6, 2019

Location: Melbourne, Hundred Acre Hollows

I am a Seven-spotted Ladybird,
I'm non-native but a great biological control.
I primarily take care of Aphids,
One of 12 Ladybird species to fulfill this role.

Note: Click to read the article below to find out how they got the name "Ladybird"

Sources: UF | IFAS Featured Creatures - ladybirds, ladybeetles, ladybugs

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Monday, August 5, 2019

August 5, 2019

Location: Melbourne, Hundred Acre Hollows

This is Melinis repens
Commonly known as Natal Grass
It is native to South Africa
But here it's in the Category 1 Invasive class.

Its light, fluffy seeds easily blow in the wind
Which helps with its propagation.
Natal grass then spreads quite quickly
Displacing native vegetation

Sources: UF | IFAS Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants - Melinis repens

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Sunday, August 4, 2019

August 4, 2019

Location: Melbourne, Hundred Acre Hollows

This is Momordica charantia
It's in the Cucumber family
It's an invasive exotic, it's seeds are quite toxic,
But its fruit has potential to be used medicinally.

Sources: UF | IFAS Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants - Momordica charantia

BioMed Research International - Effects of Momordica charantia L. on the Blood Rheological Properties in Diabetic Patients

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Saturday, August 3, 2019

August 3, 2019

Location: Melbourne, Hundred Acre Hollows

This is Eastern Prickly Pear
Although quite pointy, it's a good food source.
Parts of the plant can be used in drinks,
Desserts, candies, and even the main course.

Note: In addition to being edible by humans, Prickly Pear is also eaten by birds, bugs, mammals, and especially Gopher Tortoises. If you want to know more about what Gopher Tortoises like to eat, check out my video, Gopher Tortoise Friendly Plants at Hundred Acre Hollow

Sources: UF | IFAS Gardening Solutions - Prickly Pear

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Friday, August 2, 2019

August 2, 2019

Location: Melbourne, Hundred Acre Hollows

I am a Smooth Ox Beetle
I like to live in coastal plains.
I like to eat fruit, my larvae eats roots,
And we both prefer sandy terrains.

Sources: Bug Guide - Species Strategus antaeus

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Thursday, August 1, 2019

August 1, 2001

Location: Melbourne, Hundred Acre Hollows

I'm known as a Brown Thrasher
I'm the only Thrasher east of the Rockies
I'm a great singer with a large repertoire,
But I never get played by disk jockeys.

Sources: Cornell Lab of Ornithology Birds of North America - Brown Thrasher

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

July 31, 2019

Location: Melbourne, Hundred Acre Hollows

I'm known as a Marl Pennant,
I like brackish ponds and lakes
I'm commonly found in the southern US
Year round, when I'm in my range.

Sources: Odonata Central - Marl Pennant

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

July 30, 2019

Location: Melbourne, Hundred Acre Hollows

I'm a Mimus polyglottos
AKA Northern Mockingbird or just "Mocker"
My name literally means "many tongued mimic
On moonlit spring nights I am quite the smooth talker.

Sources: PBS Nature Works - Northern Mockingbird Mimus polyglottos

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Monday, July 29, 2019

July 29, 2019

Location: Melbourne, Hundred Acre Hollows

I am an Ornate Bella Moth
I'm pinkish-orange and I am diurnal
This means you can find me during the day
Unlike most moths, who are nocturnal.

Sources: UF|IFAS Featured Creatures - Ornate bella moth

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Sunday, July 28, 2019

July 28, 2019

Location: Melbourne, Hundred Acre Hollows

This is a barn for a Mason Bee
One of the best pollinators around.
They don't sting and are sweet,
They nest in tubes or in reeds,
Their effect on flowers and fruits is profound.

Bonus: Check out this video I made to learn more about Mason Bees.  Please "like" the video and subscribe to my YouTube channel, and if you would like to see more videos, leave a comment and let me know what critter I should feature next!

Sources: Everything You Need to Know Before Keeping Mason Bees

Discover Life - Osmia chalybea

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Saturday, July 27, 2019

July 27, 2019

Location: Melbourne, Hundred Acre Hollows

This is Gaillardia pulchella
Commonly known as Indian Blanket.
It's good to leave spent flowerheads on the ground
To give Goldfinches a colorful banquet.

Sources: Missouri Botanical Garden - Gaillardia pulchella

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Friday, July 26, 2019

July 26, 2019

Location: Melbourne, Hundred Acre Hollows

This is known as Partridge Pea
Also called the Sleeping Plant
Gamebirds like to eat its seedpods,
And its nectar is enjoyed by ants.

Sources: Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center Plant Database - Chamaecrista fasciculata

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Thursday, July 25, 2019

July 25, 2019

Location: Melbourne, Hundred Acre Hollows

This is Helianthus debilis debilis
Also called East Coast Dune Sunflower
It is attractive to butterflies and birds
But gets sunflower rust if there are too many rain showers.

Sources: UF|IFAS Gardening Solutions - Beach Sunflowers

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

July 24, 2019

Location: Melbourne, Hundred Acre Hollows

This is known as Dog Fennel
It is a perennial herb that is somewhat weedy.
It can be found in clearings and roadsides,
When crushed, its leaves can smell unpleasantly seedy.

Sources: Missouri Botanical Garden - Eupatorium capillifolium 'Elegant Feather'

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

July 23, 2019

Location: Melbourne, Hundred Acre Hollows

This is Galactia elliottii
Elliott's Milkpea, more commonly
It is an herb that produces legumes
And is in the pea family.

Sources: Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center Plant Database - Galactia elliottii

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Monday, July 22, 2019

July 22, 2019

Location: Vero Beach, Veteran's Park

I'm a Black-bellied Whistling-Duck,
I nest late in the summer.
David says I have gaudy colors
Which makes me feel bad, what a bummer.

(Note: Had a great day at Hundred Acre Hollows but now I'm tired and punchy so I asked David to help me write my blog so I can go to bed. This is what we came up with ;-)

Sources: David. Blame David.

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Sunday, July 21, 2019

July 21, 2019

Location: Sebastian, St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park

I am known as a Sandhill Crane
I forage prairies and grasslands for grains.
I don't hunt in open water the way herons do.
Nor do I scrunch my neck up, that would be a pain.

Sources: (1)

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Saturday, July 20, 2019

July 20, 2019

Location: Sebastian, Rails to Trails

This is Fewflower Milkweed,
Butterflies love it but to other bugs it's toxic.
It is the host to Queens and Monarchs
It makes them healthier, not sick.

Sources: Florida Native Plant Society - Asclepias lanceolata

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Friday, July 19, 2019

July 19, 2019

Location: Fellsmere, My house

I am a Cuban Brown Anole
I'm making native Green Anoles go extinct.
In some cases Green Anoles are higher and harder to see,
To that fact I am inextricably linked.

Sources: Anole Annals: Are Brown Anoles in Florida Really Driving Green Anoles to Extinction?

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Thursday, July 18, 2019

July 18, 2019

Location: Fellsmere, St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park, red trailhead

These holes were made by Antlions
Their larvae are called Doodlebugs
Antlions are beneficial to people and plants
But Ants tend to see them as thugs.

Sources: How Antlion Larvae Eat Without a Mouth

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

July 17, 2019

Location: Fellsmere, Rails to Trails

I am a West Indian Bulimulus,
Bulimulus guadalupensis is my scientific name.
I am an exotic species in Florida
Puerto Rico is from whence I came.

Sources: UF|IFAS Featured Creatures - Tree snails of Florida

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

July 16, 2019

Location: Fellsmere, Broadway

I am a Southern Flatcoil
In Florida I'm the most common land snail.
The Rosy Wolfsnail's one of my predators,
I'm a meal on a very small scale.

Sources: Predator Of Polygyra cereolus (Mühlfeld, 1816) Southern Flatcoil

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Monday, July 15, 2019

July 15, 2019

Location: St. Augustine, St. Augustine Alligator Park

This flower's in the family Portulaca
It is an ornamental and non-native.
It looks nice and makes a good ground cover
But it can also become an invasive.

Sources: Gardening Know How - Portulaca Flower: Tips For Portulaca Care

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Sunday, July 14, 2019

July 14, 2019

Location: St. Augustine, St. Augustine Alligator Park

I am a Galapagos Tortoise
I can weigh more than 500 pounds
I can live for well over 100 years
I spend my days eating and sleeping around.

(Note: This is a captive, resident tortoise at the Alligator Farm.)

Sources: National Geographic Photo Ark - Galápagos Tortoise

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Saturday, July 13, 2019

July 13, 2019

Location: St. Augustine, St. Augustine Alligator Park

We are young Roseate Spoonbills
We live in Florida, South America and the Tropics.
Boys have slightly larger bills than girls,
But you'll only notice if you have really good optics.

Sources: NH PBS NatureWorks - Roseate Spoonbill - Platalea ajaja

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Friday, July 12, 2019

July 12, 2019

Location: St. Augustine, St. Augustine Alligator Park

I am a Hooded Vulture
Rapid population decline is my fate -
Due to habitat loss, hunting and electrocution,
And poison from things that I ate.

(Note: This is a captive, resident bird at the Alligator Farm.)

Sources: Birdlife International Data Zone - Hooded Vulture Necrosyrtes monachus

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Thursday, July 11, 2019

July 11, 2019

Location: St. Augustine, St. Augustine Alligator Park

I am a Cape Griffon Vulture
In Africa, one of the largest birds.
I'm also one of the most endangered,
For reasons like migration patterns of game herds.

In addition, I also get poisoned,
Accidentally on ranches and farms.
Because people poison the carcasses
Of their animals that predators harm.

(Note: This is a captive, resident bird at the Alligator Farm.)

Sources: PBS Nature: The Beauty of Ugly - Why is the Cape Griffon Vulture going extinct?

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

July 10, 2019

Location: St. Augustine, St. Augustine Alligator Park


This is known as a Bald Cypress tree
Many birds really like it's seeds.
The tree also attracts colonial wading birds,
Who make their nest in the branches and leaves.

Sources: Florida Native Plant Society

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

July 9, 2019

Location: St. Augustine, St. Augustine Alligator Park

I'm a baby Wood Stork
Shown here with my mom
She feeds me and takes care of me
In the tree tops with great aplomb.

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Monday, July 8, 2019

July 8, 2019

Location: St. Augustine, St. Augustine Alligator Park

I am a West African Crowned Crane
I'm 3 1/2 feet tall and weigh almost 8 pounds
Sometimes I dance cause I'm happy
And I roost in trees, not on the ground.

(Note: This is a captive, resident bird at the Alligator Farm.)

Sources: Cougar Mountain Zoo - West African Crowned Crane

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Sunday, July 7, 2019

July 7, 2019

Location: St. Augustine, St. Augustine Alligator Park


I'm an immature Tricolored Heron
I'm more reddish where my mom is blue-grey
Right now I eat what my mom feeds me,
When I'm grown I'll eat by dancing ballet.

Sources: Cornell Lab All About Birds - Tricolored Heron

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Saturday, July 6, 2019

July 6, 2019

Location: St. Augustine, St. Augustine Alligator Park

I am a breeding male Ruddy Duck,
When I'm not breeding my bill is black.
To attract a girl I whack my bill on my chest
I guess I'm a bit of a quack.

Sources: Cornell Lab All About Birds  - Ruddy Duck

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson