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Saturday, August 31, 2019

August 31, 2019

Location: Merritt Island, Indian River

You might mistake me for a Franklin’s Gull
In fact I wouldn’t doubt it.
But I am actually a Laughing Gull
And there’s nothing funny about it. 

Sources: Cornell Lab All About Birds - Compare Laughing Gull and Franklin’s Gull

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Friday, August 30, 2019

August 30, 2019

Location: Merritt Island, Indian River

I am a Common Bottlenose Dolphin
I can weigh up to 1400 pounds
I’m a social and intelligent mammal
And communicate using sounds.

Sources: NOAA Fisheries - Common Bottlenose Dolphin

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Thursday, August 29, 2019

August 29, 2019

Location: Melbourne, Ponce de Leon Landing

I am a Tringa semipalmata
More commonly known as a Willet
I use my sensitive bill to catch worms, snails and bugs
When my tummy is empty, that's how I fill it.

Sources: Cornell Lab All About Birds - Willet

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

August 28, 2019

Location: Melbourne, Ponce de Leon Landing

I am an Atlantic Ghost Crab
I am common along the coast
I'm mostly white with 8 legs and 2 claws
And my eyes look like black beans on posts.

Sources: iNaturalist - Atlantic Ghost Crab

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

August 27, 2019

Location: Melbourne, Ponce de Leon Landing

I am known as a Ruddy Turnstone
I live on rocky shores and beaches
Right now I am not considered threatened
But might be as my food source decreases.

Sources: American Bird Conservancy - Ruddy Turnstone

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Monday, August 26, 2019

August 26, 2019

Location: Melbourne, Ponce de Leon Landing

I am a Rusty Bird Grasshopper
You can find me on sand dunes or the beach
I am closely related to the Schistocerca alutacea,
But our boundaries rarely get breached.

Sources: Species Schistocerca rubiginosa - Rusty Bird Grasshopper

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Sunday, August 25, 2019

August 25, 2019

Location: Private residence, Vero Beach

This is the fruit of American Sweetgum tree
It contains a dispersal aid, and 2 seeds - tops.
You can collect the seeds when the fruit turns brown
Then wait for the seeds to drop.

(So, in addition to supporting Shelf Fungus and Western Honey Bees, this dying tree is still dropping fruit.)

Sources: University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, Department of Horticulture - Sweetgum

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Saturday, August 24, 2019

August 24, 2019

Location: Private residence, Vero Beach

We are Western Honey Bees
Living in the Sweetgum Tree
Although we are not native to Florida
We're welcome cause people like honey.

Sources: UF | IFAS Featured Creatures European Honey Bee

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

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