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Wednesday, January 29, 2020

January 29, 2020

Location: Maritime Hammock Preserve, Cocoa Beach

I am a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Where I breed can vary by region
Here in the east I prefer to live near oaks, ash, or maples,
It depends on where's the best eatin'.

Sources: Audubon Guide to North American Birds - Blue-gray Gnatcatcher


Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

January 28, 2020

Location: Maritime Hammock Preserve, Cocoa Beach

I am a White-eyed Vireo,
Though it’s my”spectacles” that are white, not my eyes
My hobbies include singing in thickets
And eating caterpillars, moths, and flies.

Sources: Cornell Lab All About Birds - White -eyed Vireo


Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Monday, January 27, 2020

January 27, 2020

Location: St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park, Fellsmere

I am a female Smooth Ox Beetle
If I was male, I would have a horn
Someday I’ll lay eggs in a burrow underground
And my larvae will eat roots after they're born.

Sources: BugGuide.net

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Saturday, January 25, 2020

January 26, 2020

Location: David's pants, then my hand, Sebastian River Preserve State Park, Fellsmere

I am a male Regal Jumping Spider,
I'm much smaller than my partner
I've got black and white fringe on all of my legs
I'm smiley-face butted charmer.

Sources: University of Florida IFAS Extension - Regal Jumping Spider, Phidippus regius

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

January 25, 2020

 Location: Fellsmere Grade Recreation Area

I am a Southern Leopard Frog
My back is spotted and my tummy is pasty.
Despite my size, this Snowy Egret
Seems to think that I will be tasty.

Sources: UF Wildlife Johnson Lab - Southern Leopard Frog

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Friday, January 24, 2020

January 24, 2020

Location: Sebastian Inlet State Park

I am a male Magnificent Frigatebird
You know I'm male cause you can see my gular sac
I inflate my sac when I'm looking for love
And all the girl birds are gobsmacked.

Sources: Cornell Lab All About Birds - Magnificent Frigatebird

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Thursday, January 23, 2020

January 23, 2020

Location: Sebastian Inlet State Park

I am an immature Brown Pelican
You can tell cause my head is brown
I live on the coast, I don't like to boast
But I can dive from 65 feet and not drown!

Sources: Cornell Lab All About Birds - Brown Pelican

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

January 22, 2020

Location: Sebastian Inlet State Park

We are a pair of adult Brown Pelicans
We use our gular sacs as a fishing net
We dive in head first, with fish we emerge
Nous ne mangeons pas comme une alouette

Special thanks to Heather Stapleton for the translation assistance.

Sources: Mental Floss: 10 Fun Facts About Pelicans
Wikipedia: Alouette (song) 

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

January 21, 2020

Location: Fellsmere, My house

I am known as Salt Marsh Moth,
I only look like this for 4 or 5 days -
I emerge from my chrysalis, mate and lay eggs,
And then - I just pass away.

Sources: UF | IFAS Featured Creatures: Saltmarsh Caterpillar

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Monday, January 20, 2020

January 20, 2020

Location: Fellsmere Grade Recreation Area

This is known as Bur-Marigold,
It grows well near ponds and streams
And although shown here is a Plushback Fly,
This plant has special value to native bees.*

* To quote the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, "special value" is defined as "Recognized by pollination ecologists as attracting large numbers of native bees."

Sources: Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - Bidens laevis

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Sunday, January 19, 2020

January 19, 2020

Location: Fellsmere Grade Recreation Area

I am known as a Plushback Fly
I'm in the Eristalinae, or Drone Fly, family
Even though I can pollinate plants
I don't have a stinger like a bee.

Sources: USDA Forest Service - Drone Flies: Flies in (Really Good) Bee Costumes

Behavioural mimicry of honeybees (Apis mellifera) by droneflies (Diptera: Syrphidae: Eristalis spp.) 

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Saturday, January 18, 2020

January 18, 2020

Location: Junny Rios Martinez Park, Cocoa

I am Red-bellied Woodpecker
Though my red belly is not always evident
But take a look at my forehead and crown
You will see the red there is quite prevalent.

Sources: Animal Diversity Web - Red-bellied Woodpecker

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Friday, January 17, 2020

January 17, 2020

Location: Junny Rios Martinez Park, Cocoa

I am a Yellow-throated Warbler
I don't have a prealternate molt
But for a warbler I have a very long beak,
And of course, a bright yellow throat.

Sources: Cornell Lab  Neotropical Birds - Yellow Throated Warbler

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Thursday, January 16, 2020

January 16, 2020

Location: Junny Rios Martinez Park, Cocoa

I am known as a Palm Warbler,
I breed in Canada's Boreal forest
I travel to Florida for the winter
Just like all of the other tourists

Sources: Boreal Songbird Initiative

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

January 15, 2020

Location: Private residence, Cocoa

I am an American Robin
Turdus migratorius is my Latin name
Turdus is not a slur or an insult,
"Thrush" and "Turdus" mean exactly the same.

And, for the record, "migratorius" simply means "migratory".

Sources: True Thrush

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

January 14, 2020

Location: Lake Poinsett, Cocoa

I am known as a Red-shouldered Hawk
I make a loud screech that you might have heard.
I have a hooked beak, and big, taloned feet
You might say I'm a buteo-ful bird.

Sources: Cornell Lab All About Birds - Red-shouldered Hawk

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Monday, January 13, 2020

January 13, 2020

Location: Gleason Park, Satellite Beach

We are a pair of White Ibis
Water depth determines if we can dine -
If it's too deep,
Our prey, we can't reach,
If it's too low - our prey, we won't find.

Sources: Animal Diversity Web - Eudocimus albus White Ibis

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Sunday, January 12, 2020

January 12, 2020

Location: Sebatian Inset State Park

I am a non-breeding Ruddy Turnstone
If I were breeding I would be more ruddy
When I see a girl I fancy, I do a little prancing,
Then we mate and become life-long buddies.

Sources: Cornell Lab All About Birds - Ruddy Turnstone

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Saturday, January 11, 2020

January 11, 2020

Location: Seminole State Park, Donalsonville, GA

I am a Pandion haliaetus
Or, "Osprey" to all of my friends
I'm sitting here eating my dinner
Sushi's great with a Chianti wine blend.

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Friday, January 10, 2020

January 10, 2020

Location: Seminole State Park, Donalsonville, GA

I am known as a Fox Squirrel,
I'm an omnivore and eat seeds and bugs
I'm can climb trees quite well and am agile,
But can be taken by owls from above.

Sources: Animal Diversity Web - Sciurus niger Eastern Fox Squirrel

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Thursday, January 9, 2020

January 9, 2020

Location: Seminole State Park, Donalsonville, GA

I am known as a Canada Goose
I usually mate for life
I play the field for about 4 years,
Settle down, then have goslings with my wife.

Sources: Cornell Lab All About Birds - Canada Goose

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

January 8, 2020

Location: Jim Woodruff Dam, Gadsden and Jackson counties, Florida/Decatur County, Georgia

I'm known as an American Coot.
Hey! I'm an American Coot too!
Wow! By some amazing coincidence,
I think we are all American Coots!

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

January 7, 2020

Location: Jim Woodruff Dam, Gadsden and Jackson counties, Florida/Decatur County, Georgia

I am known as a Pine Warbler
I am a short distance migrant
In the south in the fall
I don't migrate at all
And I'm male so my yellow's more vibrant.

Sources: (1)

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Monday, January 6, 2020

January 6, 2020

Location: Jim Woodruff Dam, Gadsden and Jackson counties, Florida/Decatur County, Georgia

I am an Eastern Bluebird
I'm tired and in a bad mood
If I lived in the west,
That would be the best
My kids would stay and help me to raise the next brood.

Sources: Animal Diversity Web Sialia sialis Eastern Bluebird

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Sunday, January 5, 2020

January 5, 2020

Location: Jim Woodruff Dam, Gadsden and Jackson counties, Florida/Decatur County, Georgia

I am known as a Lesser Scaup
I'm swimming around with a few of my buddies
If I start to act crazy and do a ballet
It could be amphipods are stuck to my tummy.

Sources: Cornell Lab All About Birds - Lesser Scaup

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Saturday, January 4, 2020

January 4, 2020

Location: Private residence, Blountston

This is Sunshine Mimosa
It can be spread through cuttings or seeds
It is host plant to the Little Sulphur butterfly
And it's pollinated by bees.

Look closely at the Google map screen shot. Our amazing friends Karen and Travis build a labyrinth in their back yard, you can see it on the right hand side of the screen shot. This Sunshine Mimosa was right smack in the center of the Labyrinth. Too cool for words. 

Sources: Florida Native Plant Society - Mimosa strigillosa

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Friday, January 3, 2020

January 3, 2020

Location: Private residence, Blountston

This is Ilex vomitoria
Its name is intentional, not a fluke
Native Americans used it in a ceremonial tea
Which was consumed in large quantities then puked.

Sources: LiveScience - Caffeinated 'Vomit Drink' Nauseated North America's First City

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Thursday, January 2, 2020

January 2, 2020

Location: Private residence, Blountston

This is Shining Sumac,
You might remember it from a few weeks ago
It's winter now and this plant is further north
So its leaves have a rosy red glow.

Sources: Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center Plant Database - Rhus copallinum 

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

January 1, 2020

Location: Private residence, Blountston

I am a type of paper wasp
In Florida, I am a native
I'm most likely a Polistes dorsalis
I live in a hive that's cooperative.

(Note: In addition to the Wikipedia article, check out this scientific paper on which some of the Widipedia article is based. It descr)

Sources: Wikipedia - Polistes dorsalis

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson