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Tuesday, August 4, 2020

August 4, 2020

Location: Fellsmere, St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park

I am a male Northern Bobwhite
You can tell by my black eyestripe
If I were female my eyestripe would be lighter brown
In the southwest you might see a rare Masked Bobwhite.

Sources: Cornell Lab All About Birds - Northern Bobwhite

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Monday, August 3, 2020

August 3, 2020

Location: Mattawamkeag, Maine

I am a female Eastern Dobsonfly
During breeding I can lay 1000 eggs
My mate has large sickle-like jaws
And as adults we live three to eight days.

Special thanks to guest photographer (and my big brother) Wayne Blanchard. 

Sources: UF | IFAS Featured Creatures - Eastern Dobsonfly

Photo © 2020 Wayne Blanchard, text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Sunday, August 2, 2020

August 2, 2020

Location: Fellsmere, St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park

I am a baby Gopher Tortoise
I am an ectotherm, which means I depend on the sun.
My mom laid between six and 8 eggs
I'm probably the only one left having fun*.

* As mentioned in the article below, "Within a few weeks of eggs being laid, up to 87% of nests may be predated upon, according to one study."

Sources: Animal Diversity Web: Gopherus polyphemus (Florida) Gopher Tortoise

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Saturday, August 1, 2020

August 1, 2020

Location: Taylor Creek/Nubbins Slough Conservation Area, Okeechobee

I am a White Peacock butterfly
Landing on some Frog Fruit
This was my host plant when I was caterpillar
But now I'm covered by scales and am far less hirsute.

Sources: Butterflies and Moths of North America: White Peacock

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Friday, July 31, 2020

July 31, 2020

Location: Taylor Creek/Nubbins Slough Conservation Area, Okeechobee

I am a male Red-winged Blackbird
Unlike me, my mate is hard to recognize
She has brown stripes and does not have red wings, 
But we have identical beak, legs and eyes,

Sources: Cornell Lab All About Birds - Red-winged Blackbird

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Thursday, July 30, 2020

July 30, 2020

Location: Taylor Creek/Nubbins Slough Conservation Area, Okeechobee

I am known as an Anhinga
Surviving in this age is no easy task
I spread my wings to social distance
But my beak keeps poking holes in my mask!

Sources: Birds Have Their Own Disease Problems That Sometimes Become Ours

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

July 29, 2020

Location: Taylor Creek/Nubbins Slough Conservation Area, Okeechobee

I am a Great Egret
I hang out in shallow water to hunt frogs and fish
I strike quickly using my long neck and beak
And eat my prey with panache and relish.

Sources: Cornell Lab All About Birds - Great Egret

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

July 28, 2020

Location: Taylor Creek/Nubbins Slough Conservation Area, Okeechobee

I am a Great Blue Heron
Trying to have lunch but not succeeding
I'm starting to think that catfish
Are better to catch than for eating.

These pictures were taken about 45 minutes apart. The poor bird really didn't seem to have made any progress in getting his lunch down between when we first saw him and when we left him. 

Sources: Cornell Lab All About Birds - Great Blue Heron

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Monday, July 27, 2020

July 27, 2020

Location: Fellsmere, St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park

These are tracks of a canine
A Coyote or possibly a dog
If it were a feline you wouldn't see claw marks,
If it were an ungulate, it would be split like a log.

Deer, bob cats, and coyotes are all common where this photo was taken.

Sources: Pre/Post Site Teacher Materials - Animal Tracks

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Sunday, July 26, 2020

July 26, 2020

Location: Fellsmere, St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park

This is Rosy Camphorweed,
Also called Marsh Fleabane
It smells very nice, which make me love it twice,
Allegedly it can also make fleas go away!

Sources: Wikipedia - Erigeron

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Saturday, July 25, 2020

July 25, 2020

Location: Fellsmere, St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park

This is Hypericum tenuifolium
Better known as St. Johns wort
It can allegedly be used to treat depression
And it's much prettier than Voldemort.

Sources: https://www.healthline.com/health-news/is-st-johns-wort-safe-080615#1

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Friday, July 24, 2020

July 24, 2020

Location: Fellsmere, St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park

I am a Downy Woodpecker,
I like to eat suet and sunflower seeds
My beak is proportionally small to the size of my head
Away from the tree is the way that I lean.

Sources: Cornell Lab All About Birds - Downy Woodpecker

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Thursday, July 23, 2020

July 23, 2020

Location: Curry Island, Glades County

I am a Pygmy Rattlesnake
I'm small, but thick for my size
I'm venomous and have a rattle on my tail
And vertical pupils in my cat-like eyes.

Special thanks to guest photographer, David Simpson.

Sources: Florida Museum - Sistrurus miliarius barbouri

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

July 22, 2020

Location: Fellsmere, St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park

I am a Florida Softshell Turtle
I'm a carnivore and can be quite mean
I have sharp claws and powerful jaws
That help me to consume meat
Don't ever mistake me for a tortoise
If you see me crossing a street.

Note: I almost stopped to help one of these cross a street once as I do with Gopher Tortoises. Luckily, I was warned to never pick these guys up as they are large, heavy and will defend themself if you attempt to touch them or pick them up, no matter how good your intentions.

Sources: USGS NAS - Apalone ferox


Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

July 21, 2020

Location: Fellsmere, St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park

I am an Eastern Amberwing,
I'm a very small dragonfly
I'm frequently mistaken for a wasp
And am rapid and erratic in flight.

Sources: University of Wisconsin Milwaukee College of Letters and Science Field Station - Eastern Amberwing Dragonfly (Family Libellulidae)

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Monday, July 20, 2020

July 20, 2020

Location: Fellsmere, St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park

I am an immature Eastern Towhee,
I sing the same song as my dad and mum
I look nondescript like a sparrow unless,
I'm flying away, then you'll see white near my bum.

Sources: Cornell Lab All About Birds - Eastern Towhee

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Sunday, July 19, 2020

July 19, 2020

Location: Fellsmere, St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park

I am a Northern Flicker
You can find me on the ground eating ants
Sometimes I get into a "fencing duel"
To impress a female I hope to romance.

Sources: Cornell Lab All About Birds - Northern Flicker

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Saturday, July 18, 2020

July 18, 2020

Location: Medicine Bow National Forest, Wyoming

This is Leucocrinum montanum
Called Star Lily due to the star formed by its tepals
Although it appears that this flower has 6 petals,
It is actually 3 pairs of petals and sepals.

Special thanks to guest photographer, Joy Handley.

Sources: USDA U.S. Forest Service Plant of the Week - Star Lily

Photo © 2020 Joy Handley, text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Friday, July 17, 2020

July 17, 2020

Location: Medicine Bow National Forest, Wyoming

This is the Pinus flexilis
Also known as the Limber Pine
It is a critical food source for small mammals and birds
And is sometimes used for railroad ties.

Special thanks to guest photographer, Joy Handley.

Sources: USDA Fire Effects Information System - Pinus flexillis

Photo © 2020 Joy Handley, text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Thursday, July 16, 2020

July 16, 2020

Location: Medicine Bow National Forest, Wyoming

This is Quaking Aspen,
It grows in mountains and colder states.
It tolerates cold and most soil types,
And in the slightest breeze, its leaves shake.

We continue our quarantine trips to see nature in other places. Special thanks to today's guest photographer, Joy Handley.

Sources: Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - Populus tremuloides

Photo © 2020 Joy Handley, text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

July 15, 2020

Location: Vero Beach, Private Residence

I am known as a Giant Sphinx,
It's hard to tell from this view
If my wings were spread, and you could see my hindwing,
You'd ID me by a yellow base with a dark "tooth".

Check out the link below to see the specific marks on a specimen with its wings spread. 

Special thanks to guest photographer, Heather Stapleton.

Sources: Butterflies and Moths of North America - Giant Sphinx

Photo © 2020 Heather Stapleton, text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

July 14, 2020

Location: Laramie, Wyoming, private residence

This is another plant from Wyoming
Penstemon eriantherus is its name.
It is in the Scrophulariaceae family
The Florida plant Verbascum's family is the same.

Today I continue my special series of guest photographers who are sheltering in place. I hope you all enjoy this trip around the world (and some a little closer!) 

Special thanks to today's guest photographer, Joy Handley.

Sources: Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - Penstemon eriantherus
Atlas of Florida Plants - Verbascum

Photo © 2020 Joy Handley, text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Monday, July 13, 2020

July 13, 2020

Location: (Top) Wyoming, Medicine Bow National Forest
(Bottom) Fellsmere, St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park

At the top here is Oxytropis lambertii from Wyoming
At the bottom, in Florida is a Butterfly Pea
Different states, on the same date, Dee and Joy
Both found plants in the Fabaceae (Pea) family
It’s easy to appreciate and marvel at
Botanical diversity!

Special thanks to guest photographer, Joy Handley.

Sources: Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - Oxytropis lambertii 

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - Centrosema virginianum

Oxytropis lambertii photo © 2020 Joy Handley
Butterfly Pea photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Sunday, July 12, 2020

July 12, 2020

Location: Fellsmere, St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park

This is someone in the Tabanidae family
Possibly a Striped Horse Fly
Tabanids are native and beneficial pollinators
But the females have mean, nasty bites. 

Sources: UF | IFAS Features Creatures - Deer flies, Yellow Flies and Horse Flies

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Saturday, July 11, 2020

July 11, 2020

Location: Fellsmere, my house

I am a Leucauge argyra,
Eating lunch? For me it's no issue.
Into my web, my prey climbs,
I inject it with digestive enzymes,
Then drink up my prey's liquified tissue!

Note: Make sure you click to enlarge this one, you can see her spinnerets on her butt!

Sources: UF | IFAS Featured Creatures Orchard Orbweavers

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Friday, July 10, 2020

July 10, 2020

Location: Fellsmere, St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park

I am a Spotted-winged Grasshopper
Throughout the Americas, you can find my friends and I
We are a type of slant face grasshopper
In the family Acrididae.

Sources: Wikipedia - Orphulella pelidna

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Thursday, July 9, 2020

July 9, 2020

Location: Fellsmere, my house

I am a Brown Marmorated Stink Bug
I'm non-native and a pest to veggies and fruit.
I am also hemimetabolous
Which means I don't go the pupation route.

Update: I have been informed that this ID might not be correct. Need to do further research. 

Sources: UF | IFAS Featured Creatures -  Brown Marmorated Stink Bug

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

July 8, 2020

Location: Fellsmere, St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park

This is Bejaria racemosa
It's common name is Tarflower,
Bees and other insects like this plant
But they get stuck on it's sticky flower.

Sources: Florida Native Plant Sociey - Bejaria racemosa

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

July 7, 2020

Location: Fellsmere, St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park

This is Shaggy Portulaca,
It is a low-growing succulent
It is known to grow and spread quickly
You might even say that it's growth is truculent.

Sources: World of Succulents

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Monday, July 6, 2020

July 6, 2020

Location: Vero Beach, Pelican Island NWR

This is a Hygroscopic Earthstar
Hygroscopic means "attract moisture from the air"
The rays open and close around the puffball,
Like the Wolf-fart puffball, which is shaped like a pear.

Note: Wolf-fart puffball is my new favorite fungi. And I didn't make it up - check the linked article!

Sources: Astraeus hygrometricus and its various Aspests By: Dr Nadia, Yawar Hayat (Hazara University Mansehra)

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Sunday, July 5, 2020

July 5, 2020


Location: Fellsmere, St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park

I am an immature Florida Scrub-Jay,
You can tell cause I've got a brown head
Also cause I make jokes like:
"I know you are" and "That's what she said."

Sources: Cornell Lab All About Birds - Florida Scrub Jay

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Saturday, July 4, 2020

July 4, 2020

Location: Fellsmere, St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park

I am a Common Ground Dove
I've got a tiny pink-orange beak
I'm mostly light brown with dark spots
And you'll think I'm coooo-cooo when I speak.

Sources: Cornell Lab All About Birds - Common Ground Dove

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Friday, July 3, 2020

July 3, 2020

Location: Orchid Island, Captain Forster Hammock Preserve Conservation Area

This is Broad-leaved Cattail
It grows throughout the US except for Hawaii
It grows in colder places like Canada
And in Florida and other states with high heat.

Sources: Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - Typha latifolia

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Thursday, July 2, 2020

July 2, 2020

Location: Fellsmere, St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park

I am a male Gray Wall Jumping Spider,
Diptera are my favorite snack
I don't build webs to catch my prey
I just jump when I want to attack.
I have excellent vision with my 2 front eyes
And I can see colors, not just white and black.

Sources: UF | IFAS Featured Creatures - Jumping Spiders

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

July 1, 2020

Location: Vero Beach, Private residence

We are male Zebra longwings
We might be roosting or doing something more nefarious -
Sometimes we hang on a females chrysalis and -
When she hatches, try to play her like a Stradivarius.

Special thanks to guest photographer, Heather Stapleton.

Sources:  Florida Wildflower Foundation - Know your native pollinators: Zebra longwings

Photo © 2020  Heather Stapleton, text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

June 30, 2020

Location: Vero Beach, private residence

This is known of the Queen of the Night
It only blooms after dark
The flowers can be up over 8 inches wide
And its stamens look kind of like sparks.

Special thanks to guest photographer Heather Stapleton.

Sources: Biology Online - Selenicereus grandiflorus

Photo © 2020 Heather Stapleton,  text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Monday, June 29, 2020

June 29, 2020

Location: Fellsmere, Broadway

I am a Red-tailed Flesh Fly
I am common throughout the US
The subarctic is the only place I don't live
I eat dead things with a touch of finesse.

Sources: UF | IFAS Featured Creatures - Red-tailed Flesh Fly

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Sunday, June 28, 2020

June 28, 2020

Location: Fellsmere, Broadway


I am a Three-spotted Skipper
I lay eggs on leaves that my caterpillars eat
I have several broods from spring through the fall
The caterpillars hang out in nests made of rolled leaves.

Sources: Butterflies and Moths of North America - Three-spotted Skipper (Cymaenes tripunctus)

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Saturday, June 27, 2020

June 27, 2020



Location: Indian River Drive, Sebastian

I am a Western Honey Bee
In Florida,  I pollinate 3/4 of all crops
I contribute millions to the US economy
And to almost all foods for which you shop.

Sources: UF | IFAS BugWeek@UF Incredibugs - Honey Bee

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Friday, June 26, 2020

June 26, 2020

Location: Fellsmere, St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park

We are Horse's Paper Wasps
As shown here, we commonly nest on metal beams
Females malaxate liquid from prey that workers catch
And feed the remaining solids to the babies.

Sources: Wikipedia - Polistes major major

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson