Tuesday, October 20, 2020

October 20, 2020


I am known as a Loggerhead Shrike,
I impale my prey but for different reasons:
If prey is toxic, I impale it to bake poison out,
I also impale to impress girls if it is breeding season.

Location: Fellsmere Stick Marsh

Sources: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Loggerhead_Shrike/lifehistory

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Monday, October 19, 2020

October 19, 2020

I am a Spotted Sandpiper
When I was a chick I was precocial
I was able to walk when I was 4 hours old
By 18 days, I could fly and was fully mobile.

Location: Fellsmere Stick Marsh

Sources: https://animaldiversity.org/accounts/Actitis_macularius/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Precociality

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Sunday, October 18, 2020

October 18, 2020

I am a Great Blue Heron
My legs are long and my body's big and round
You might think that I'm big and fat, 
But I only weight 5 to 6 pounds.

Like all birds, Great Blue Herons keep their weight down by having hollow bones.

Location: Fellsmere Stick Marsh

Sources: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Great_Blue_Heron/overview

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Saturday, October 17, 2020

October 17, 2020

I am a female Boat-tailed Grackle
I like to eat stuff that I find in the water
Such as tadpoles, frogs, mussels and shrimp
But sometimes I also eat other birds sons and daughters

Location: Fellsmere Stick Marsh

Sources: https://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/boat-tailed-grackle

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Friday, October 16, 2020

October 16, 2020

I am a Red-bellied Woodpecker
I was altricial when I was born
My mom and dad took care of me for about 10 weeks
Then made me leave the nest - that's just the norm. 

Location: Fellsmere Stick Marsh

Sources: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Altriciality
https://animaldiversity.org/accounts/Melanerpes_carolinus/

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Thursday, October 15, 2020

October 15, 2020

I'm known as a Limpkin, 
I can be found from Florida to Argentina
My body is large and brown with white spots
But my legs are long and lithe like a ballerina.

Location: Fellsmere, Stick Marsh

Sources: https://animaldiversity.org/accounts/Aramus_guarauna/

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

October 14, 2020

I am a male Carolina Wren, 
I am small and can be hard to see
Allegedly I sing a tea-kettle-tea-kettle song
But I sing a lot and my song varies frequently.

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

Sources: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Carolina_Wren/sounds

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

October 13, 2020

I am a Southern Two-striped Walkingstick, 
Sometimes I'm called "the devil's darning needle"
I discharge a secretion to defend myself
Against birds, mice, and beetles and people.

Caution: These bugs can and will aim for eyes, which although won't kill you, can hurt very badly.

Location: Fellsmere, my house

Sources: http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/misc/walkingstick.htm

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Monday, October 12, 2020

October 12, 2020

I am a Black-velvet Leatherleaf slug, 
I am the color of soot
I am native to the Caribbean and south Florida
And my genitals are next to my foot.*

* Apologies to sensitive readers, but I had to include this fact - it just seems like such a wildly inconvenient place to keep ones genitals. And to be honest, I had no ideas slugs have feet. I still learn something new every day I write this blog. 

Location: Fellsmere, my house

Sources: http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/misc/gastro/slugs_of_florida.htm

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Sunday, October 11, 2020

October 11, 2020

This is Common Jewelweed
It's an annual that attracts pollinators like bees
The stem juice can be used to treat Athelete's Foot
But for humans, there is poison in the berries.

Location: Hiawassee, GA

Sources: https://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=IMCA

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Saturday, October 10, 2020

October 10, 2020

This is Clematis virginiana
Also known as Virgin's-Bower
It is toxic to cats, dogs and humans
There's poison in its leaves, sap and flowers.

Location: Hiawassee, GA

Sources: https://plants.ces.ncsu.edu/plants/clematis-virginiana/

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Friday, October 9, 2020

October 9, 2020

I am an Eastern Harvestman, 
Like a spider, I have 8 legs. 
Notice that I am missing a few of them - 
If I'm caught, I'll self- amputate to get away.

Location: Hiawassee, GA

Sources: https://www.insectidentification.org/insect-description.asp?identification=Eastern-Harvestman

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Thursday, October 8, 2020

October 8, 2020

I am known as an American Toad
Snakes will try to eat me if they get the chance.
But my warty skin secretes poison, 
And if that fails, I pee my pants!*

To quote the article referenced below: "When these toads are faced with a predator that is immune to their poison they will sometimes urinate on themselves to become a less attractive meal."

Location: Hiawassee, GA

Sources: https://animaldiversity.org/accounts/Anaxyrus_americanus/

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

October 7, 2020

This is Sweet Everlasting, 
Also called Rabbit Tobacco
It blooms in the early autumn
And it flowers are white to pale yellow.

Location: Hiawassee, GA

Sources: https://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=PSOBO

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

October 6, 2020

I am a baby White-tailed Deer, 
I'll lose my spots when I'm around 5 months old
The rest of my fur will turn more uniform brown
Except under my tail which will stay white and bold.

Location: Hiawassee, GA

Sources: https://myfwc.com/wildlifehabitats/profiles/mammals/land/deer/

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Monday, October 5, 2020

October 5, 2020

These are Carolina Horsenettles,
They have a prickly stem
These plants are pretty but be careful
Or you will get stuck when you handle them.

Location: Hiawassee, GA

Sources: https://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=soca3

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Sunday, October 4, 2020

October 4, 2020

I am known as an Eastern Newt,
In the front I have 4, in back I have 5 toes
I'm found in ponds or shallow fresh water
Where I help to control mosquitos.

Location: Hiawassee, GA

Sources: https://animaldiversity.org/accounts/Notophthalmus_viridescens/

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Saturday, October 3, 2020

October 3, 2020

I am known as a Little Yellow butterfly
When I was a caterpillar I ate partridge pea
As an adult I prefer to drink nectar
From plants in the Aster family.

Location: Hiawassee, GA

Sources: https://www.butterfliesandmoths.org/species/Pyrisitia-lisa

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Friday, October 2, 2020

October 2, 2020

I am called a Common Buckeye,
Because my eyespots resemble the eye
Of a deer or a buck, and they bring me good luck
And can scare predators away when I fly. 

Location: Hiawassee, GA

Sources: http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/bfly/common_buckeye.htm
https://pixels.com/featured/big-eye-deer-brian-wallace.html

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Thursday, October 1, 2020

October 1, 2020

I am a female Ruby-throated Hummingbird, 
My legs are short and my wings beat fast
But not fast enough to avoid predators - 
Including Loggerhead Shrikes and cats. 

Location: Hiawassee, GA

Sources: https://animaldiversity.org/accounts/Archilochus_colubris

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

September 30, 2020

I am a Great Golden Digger Wasp
Notice my orange side spots
I'm the only Digger Wasp that is harassed by birds
Who try to steal bugs that I've caught. 

(Special thanks to my dad-in-law who found this and called me over to take a picture of it.)

Location: Hiawassee, GA

Sources: https://www.insectidentification.org/insect-description.asp?identification=Great-Golden-Digger-Wasp

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

September 29, 2020

I am known as Katydid Wasp
Like the Spider Wasp, I'm named for my prey. 
I sting Katydids, leaving them paralyzed but alive
Leaving victims that can't get away
Which my larvae consume very slowly -
It can take about 10 long days.

Location: Hiawassee, GA

Sources: http://bugoftheweek.com/blog/2020/8/17/katydids-crickets-and-grasshoppers-beware-great-black-wasps-and-katydid-wasps-are-in-the-air-sphex-spp

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Monday, September 28, 2020

September 28, 2020

This is a Red Morning Glory
Its flower is about the size of a penny
It's a food source for both song and hummingbirds
And is also pollinator-friendly.

Location: Hiawasee, GA

Sources: https://plants.ces.ncsu.edu/plants/ipomoea-coccinea/

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Sunday, September 27, 2020

September 27, 2020

I'm known as a Rainbow Scarab
I am a "tunneler" type of Dung Beetle
I create a tunnel under a dung pat, lay eggs, and
Make brood balls for my little poop eaters.

Location: Hiawassee, GA

Sources: http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/BENEFICIAL/BEETLES/Phanaeus_vindex.htm

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Saturday, September 26, 2020

September 26, 2020

I am a female Eastern Fence Lizard
I am considered a tree dweller
During breeding season males are bright blue underneath
Which is what I prefer in a feller. 

(For the next week I will be featuring critters and plants found at my inlaw's place in GA. Much thanks to them for their hospitality and patience with my bugs and other squirmy things:-)

Location: Hiawassee, GA

Sources: https://srelherp.uga.edu/lizards/sceund.htm

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Friday, September 25, 2020

September 25, 2020

I am a Downy Woodpecker
You might confuse me with the Hairy
But I have white spots on my outer tail feathers,
And they're bigger than me - if you're comparing.

Location: Fellsmere, St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park

Sources: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Downy_Woodpecker/species-compare/68929231

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Thursday, September 24, 2020

September 24, 2020

I'm known as a Smooth Ox Beetle
I live in pine forests and am mostly nocturnal
I build a burrow, lay eggs and leave leaf litter
For my kids to eat when they hatch, how maternal!
Location: Fellsmere, St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park

Sources: https://www.insectidentification.org/insect-description.asp?identification=Ox-Beetle

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

September 23, 2020

I am known as a Spider Wasp
So named for what I eat
I paralyze a spider with my venom
And leave it for my babies to feast.

(I went out to see my beautiful garden spider, and was horrified to find this wasp attacking her. Besides the fact that it was already too late (see the last photo below) I understand that nature must take its course; wasp babies have to eat too.  I highly suggest getting a free JSTOR account and reading the article listed in the sources below for details of what the wasp does with the spider.)

Location: Fellsmere, my yard

Sources: Martins, R. (1991). Nesting Behavior and Prey of Poecilopompilus algidus fervidus and Tachypompilus xanthopterus (Hymenoptera: Pompilidae). Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society, 64(2), 231-236. Retrieved September 20, 2020, from http://www.jstor.org/stable/25085276

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

September 21, 2020

I am a Spicebush Swallowtail butterfly
Named after my favorite caterpillar food
As an adult I feed on honeysuckle and thistles,
But I'll check out Spotted Horsemint and Salvia too. 

Update: I was asked how to differentiate between a Spicebush and a Black Swallowtail. Check out this page which has great comparisons between similar butterflies, specifically, look at the ventral views: 

https://www.butterfliesathome.com/black-swallowtail-butterfly-comparison.htm

Location: Fellsmere, my yard

Sources: https://www.butterfliesandmoths.org/species/Papilio-troilus

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

September 22, 2020

I am a Yellow Garden Spider,
Some people think my web looks like I'm writing
I make a vertical zig zag out of my silk
And catch bugs who think my web looks inviting. 

(I found this beauty in my native plant garden. Tune in tomorrow for the unhappy end of our brief relationship...)

Location: Fellsmere, my yard

Sources: http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/MISC/SPIDERS/yellow-garden-spider.html

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Sunday, September 20, 2020

September 20, 2020

I am a Zebra Longwing, 
The Florida state butterfly
only my mate knows if I'm a girl or a guy.

Location: Fellsmere, my yard

Sources: http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/bfly/zebra_longwing.htm
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sexual_dimorphism

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Saturday, September 19, 2020

September 19, 2020

I am a Tropical Checkered-Skipper
I live in the southern US and Cuba
My wingspan is from 1 to 1.5 inches, 
And my weight is far less than a tuba.

Location: Fellsmere, my yard

Sources: https://www.butterfliesofcuba.com/burnsius-oileus---tropical-checkered-skipper.html

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Friday, September 18, 2020

September 18, 2020

I am a Marbled Grasshopper
You can find me along the eastern US coast 
I can also be found around the Great Lakes
And I stridulate whither I goest.

Location: Fellsmere, St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park

Sources: http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/ghopper/band.pdf

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Thursday, September 17, 2020

September 17, 2020


I am a male Delaware Skipper, 
If I was female I would have darker markings
I like to drink nectar from flowers
So the air still smells sweet when I'm farting.

Location: Fellsmere, St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park

Sources: https://www.butterfliesandmoths.org/species/Anatrytone-logan

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

September 16, 2020


I'm known as a Bumble Bee, 
In Florida 5 species are found
We are differentiated by the pattern of black and yellow
To ID for sure, you'd have to view all the way round.

Location: St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park

Sources: http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/misc/bees/bumble_bees.htm

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

September 15, 2020

I am a male Whirlabout butterfly
If I was female, I'd be dark brown
In the afternoon you can find me perched, waiting
For a girlfriend so we can dart around. 

Location: Fellsmere, St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park

Sources: https://www.butterfliesandmoths.org/species/Polites-vibex

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Monday, September 14, 2020

September 14, 2020

This is known as Pickerelweed
It's found on the banks of ponds and ditches
It is well loved by butterflies and other bugs
As well as duckies, reptiles and fishes.

Location: Fellsmere, St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park

Sources:  https://gardeningsolutions.ifas.ufl.edu/plants/ornamentals/pickerel-weed.html

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Sunday, September 13, 2020

September 13, 2020

I am known as a Common Nighthawk,
I'm cute and my feathers are spiffy
I'm hear to tell you today is quite special
David Simpson is officially fifty.

Special thanks to today's guest photographer and birthday boy, David Simpson. Be sure to wish him a very happy 50th birthday today! 

Location:  Everglades Agricultural Area, Palm Beach County

Sources: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Common_Nighthawk/id

Photo © 2020 David Simpson,  text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Saturday, September 12, 2020

September 12, 2020

I am some type of a Horse Fly
Determining ID is pretty hard work
But when I bite your butt while you're trying to twerk
You will call me a big stinging jerk.

Location: Fellsmere, St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park

Sources: http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/livestock/deer_fly.htm

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Friday, September 11, 2020

September 11, 2020

I am known as a White Peacock butterfly,
I like to fly low to the ground.
My typical lifespan's only 1 to 4 months
So enjoy me while I am around.

Location: Fellsmere, St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park

Sources: https://animaldiversity.org/accounts/Anartia_jatrophae/

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Thursday, September 10, 2020

September 10, 2020

This is Tillandsia setacea
Commonly called Southern Needleleaf
In Florida, this plant is not threatened
Mexican bromeliad weevils have bigger things to eat.

Location: Fellsmere, St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park

Sources: http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/frank/savebromeliads/floridas-bromeliads/Tillandsia-utriculata.html
http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/frank/savebromeliads/floridas-bromeliads/Tillandsia-setecea.html

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

September 9, 2020

I am known as a Blue Dasher,
Pachydiplax longipennis is my scientific name
That doesn't mean what you think it does -
"longipennis" means long-winged - for shame!

Location: Fellsmere, St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park

Sources: https://uwm.edu/field-station/blue-dasher-dragonflies-family-libellulidae/

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

September 8, 2020

I am known as a Loggerhead Shrike
I wear a black mask, like a robber
What I do to bugs involving barbed wire
Impresses the girls but looks somewhat macabre.

Location: Fellsmere, St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park

Sources: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Loggerhead_Shrike/id

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson