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Thursday, April 30, 2020

April 30, 2020

Location: Vero Beach, private residence

This is a Southern Magnolia
It can grow to be 90 feet high
You can train it to be an espalier plant
If you have lots and lots of spare time.

Guest Photographer: Heather Stapleton

Sources: UF | IFAS Gardening Solutions Southern Magnolia

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

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

April 29, 2020

Location: Vero Beach, private residence

This flower is known as Amaryllis
It is native to South Africa
It grows well as an ornamental in Florida
With bright colors and petals like taffeta.

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!) Thanks so much to all of the guest photographers.

Guest Photographer: Heather Stapleton

Sources: UF | IFAS Gardening Solutions Amaryllis

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

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

April 28, 2020

Location: Vero Beach, private residence

I am a female Mournful Sphinx moth
I'd have three pointed lobes if I was male.
When I was a caterpillar I ate plants from the grape family
But now my leaf-eating days are curtailed.

Guest Photographer: Heather Stapleton

Sources: Sphingidae of the United States of America - ENYO LUGUBRIS (LINNAEUS, 1771) 

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

Monday, April 27, 2020

April 27, 2020

Location: Comberbach, Cheshire, UK

I am a Common Wood Pigeon,
I mostly eat plant matter from flowers to grain
Occasionally I also eat invertebrates
Such as 5 species of snails found in Spain.

Guest Photographer: John Gregory

Today I continue my special series of guest photographers who are sheltering in place. I hope you all enjoy this trip around the world! Thanks so much to all of the guest photographers.

Sources: Cornell Lab of Ornithology Birds of the World - Common Wood Pigeon

Photo © 2020 John Gregory,  text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Sunday, April 26, 2020

April 26, 2020

Location: Anchorage, Alaska

Hi there ! I am known as Moose
From the Algonquin word meaning "twig eater"
I have no sweat glands so only live where it's cold,
And my antlers can span over 2 meters.

Guest photographer: Rachel Simpson

This week marks the start of my special series of guest photographers who are sheltering in place. I hope you all enjoy this trip around the world!

Sources: University of Michigan Museum of Zoology Animal Diversity Web - Alcs alces

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

Saturday, April 25, 2020

April 25, 2020

Location: Fellsmere, my house

This is Dune Sunflower
There are 3 subspecies throughout our state
You should not plant the subspecies together,
They can hybridize, and that is not great.

Note: The different subspecies are determined by geography. For best results, plant the subspecies that is appropriate for your location as described in the article linked below. 

Sources: Florida Wildflower Foundation - Flower Friday: Dune Sunflower

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Friday, April 24, 2020

April 24, 2020

Location:  Fellsmere, my house

This is Indian Blanket
Also called Blanketflower or Firewheel
It requires dry, sunny conditions
Easy maintenance is part of its appeal.

Sources: Florida Wildflower Foundation - Flower Friday: Blanket Flower

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Thursday, April 23, 2020

April 23, 2020

Location: Fellsmere, my house

This is Tillandsia utriculata
It's an endangered giant air plant
Because of Mexican Bromeliad Weevils
And loss of habitat, such as pinelands.

Sources: UF | IFAS - Florida's Native Bromeliads

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson


Confidential to - you know who you are: I heard a rumor that one of my readers (and steadfast supporter and promoter of this blog) is celebrating another trip around the sun today. Wishing you a very happy birthday from me and NummyMuffinCoocolButter!

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

April 22, 2020



Location: Fellsmere, my house

I am a male Virginia Opossum
I'm nocturnal, but sometimes come out in the day.
I use my bifurcated member to have some fun
I mate once or twice, and then pass away.

Sources: Physiological and Biochemical Zoology: Ecological and Evolutionary Approaches - Seasonal Changes in the Physiology of Male Virginia Opossums (Didelphis virginiana): Signs of the Dasyurid Semelparity Syndrome? 

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

April 21, 2020

Location: Fellsmere, my yard

These are the seeds of the Rosary Pea,
It's native to India and parts of Asia
Birds are unaffected by Rosary Pea seeds,
But for humans, it's effective for euthanasia.

Sources: UF | IFAS Center for Aquatic and  Invasive Plants - Abrus precatorius 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - Facts About Abrin

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Monday, April 20, 2020

April 20, 2020

Location: Fellsmere, my house

I'm known as a Blue Dasher
I'm a carnivore and eat lots of bugs
I'll defend my feeding territory
With aggressive displays and fisticuffs!

Sources: Fights at the Dinner Table: Agonistic Behavior in Pachydiplax longipennis (Odonata:
Libellulidae) at Feeding Sites 

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Sunday, April 19, 2020

April 19, 2020

Location: Fellsmere, my house

I am a Red-bellied Woodpecker
I've got black and white marks on my back
I also have a long, sticky, pointed tongue
That I use to get bugs from crevices and cracks.

Sources: University of Michigan Museum of Zoology Animal Diversity Web - Melanerpes carolinus red-bellied woodpecker

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Saturday, April 18, 2020

April 18, 2020

Location: Fellsmere, my house

This is Hibiscus sabdariffa
Commonly known as Florida Cranberry or Roselle
Its seeds, leaves, and roots can be use medicinally
And its fruit can be eaten as well.

Sources: UF | IFAS Gardening Solutions - Roselle

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Friday, April 17, 2020

April 17, 2020

Location: Fellsmere, my house

I am a Bowl-and-doily Spider,
So named because of the web that I weave
Males will get into a fight to the death
To determine with whom I should breed.

Sources: A Test of the Sequential Assessment Game: Fighting in the Bowl and Doily Spider Frontinella pyramitela

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Thursday, April 16, 2020

April 16, 2020

Location: Fellsmere, my house

I am a Mabel Orchard Orbweaver,
I'm sometimes mistaken for a Black Widow.
But unlike them, I'm not medically significant
To humans and have never been so.

Sources: UF | IFAS Featured Creatures - Orchard Obweaver, Orchard Spider

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

April 15, 2020

Location: Fellsmere, my house

I am a baby Pineapple
I am a terrestrial bromiliad
Despite my fruit's world-wide popularity
My ancestors weren't mentioned in The Iliad.

Sources: Missouri Botanical Garden - Ananas comosus

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

April 14, 2020


Location: Vero Beach, private residence

I am an Eastern Screech-Owl
I take well to human-made boxes
I communicate with other owls antiphonally -
Which means I call, and then wait for responses.

Special Guest Photographer Heather Stapleton

Sources: Cornell Lab - All About Birds - Eastern Screech-Owl

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Monday, April 13, 2020

Let Me Know What's in Your Yard!

Dear faithful readers

Due to current "shelter in place" rules, I am photographing only stuff I see in my yard these days. If you are also sheltering in place, feel free to submit photos of anything you find in your yard.

I invite my non-Florida readers to submit photos also. The only rule is that the photo must be taken by you, and be of a living thing you found in your yard or house (spiders, plants, birds, etc.). Please submit only photos, I will verify the ID and write the poem.

Email the photo to me, and include "Submission for Dee at 8 a.m." as the subject. Include in the email that I have your permission to use the photo on my blog, as well as how you would like to be credited.

I am looking forward to your submissions!

April 13, 2020

Location: Vero Beach, private residence

I am a Southern Carpenter Bee,
I can cause damage to unpainted wood
But I rarely sting and I pollinate your plants,
So overall, I am mostly good.

Thanks to our special guest photographer, Heather Stapleton

Sources: UF | IFAS Features Creatures - Large Carpenter Bees

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Sunday, April 12, 2020

April 12, 2020

Location: Fellsmere, St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park

I am a Ghost Bulimulus
I crawl on bushes as land snails do
I mostly eat plants and algae
Who would think I could do this much poop?!

Sources: Jaxshells.org - Bulimulus sporadicus (d’Orbigny, 1835)

Note: The taxomic name was recently changed from Bulimulus sporadicus to Bulimulus bonariensis.

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Saturday, April 11, 2020

April 11, 2020

 Location: Fellsmere, St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park

I am known as a Pine Warbler
But from the top photo, that's hard to detect.
The stripes on my wings aren't as obvious
When I'm fleeing a photographer like a bat outta heck!

Sources: Cornell Lab All About Birds - Pine Warbler

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Friday, April 10, 2020

April 10, 2020

Location: Fellsmere, St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park

We are baby Bald Eagles,
Our mom's not right here, so we cry
But if we make a racket, or something attacks us,
Mom'll be here in a flash, she's nearby.

Note:  Often when I do my EagleWatch, I will see the babies sitting in the nest but no parents. But I have noticed that if the babies start raising a ruckus, the mom in there instantly, so obviously she was close by the whole time. What a good mom! 

On a sad note, this was my last eagle watch of the year due to the state park (as well as everything else) being closed. But I am glad I saw them get this big, they should be fledging in the near future. The folks at the park said they will let me know how they are doing, so check back, I will try to update this post when I hear that they have fledged.


Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Thursday, April 9, 2020

April 9, 2020

Location: Goodwin Waterfowl Management Area, Broadmoor section, Fellsmere

I am known as Black-necked Stilt,
I look for invertebrates to eat
I have long pink legs and at the end
3 long toes on my big pink feet.

Sources: Cornell Lab All About Birds - Black-necked Stilt

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

April 8, 2020

Location: Goodwin Waterfowl Management Area, Broadmoor section, Fellsmere

This is a Glossy Ibis and a Purple Gallinule
Compare and contrast their size
The Glossy Ibis is almost as big as a goose
The Gallinule only comes up to his thighs.

Sources: Cornell Lab All About Birds - Purple Gallinule

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

April 7, 2020

Location: Goodwin Waterfowl Management Area, Broadmoor section, Fellsmere

I am a Glossy Ibis
I've got a big body and long, skinny neck
From the front view I bear a resemblance
To Geordi LaForge on Star Trek.

Sources: Cornell Lab All About Birds - Glossy Ibis

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Monday, April 6, 2020

April 6, 2020

Location: Goodwin Waterfowl Management Area, Broadmoor section, Fellsmere

Gray-headed Swamphen is my name now
Though I used to be Purple Swamphen
My body is purple and my head is grey
And my beak and front shield are both red.

Sources: Cornell Lab - Birds of North America - Grey-headed Swamphen

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Sunday, April 5, 2020

April 5, 2020

Location: Goodwin Waterfowl Management Area, Broadmoor section, Fellsmere

I am a Turkey Vulture
From below you can see that my primaries are white
All the way from the tips to my armpit,
But they look solid brown in a slight different light.

Sources: Cornell Lab All About Birds - Turkey Vulture

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Saturday, April 4, 2020

April 04, 2020

Location: Goodwin Waterfowl Management Area, Broadmoor section, Fellsmere

Although my name is Lesser Yellowlegs
My legs are actually quite long
I use them to chase prey through water
And I have a short, two-note "tu-tu" song.

Sources: Cornell Lab All About Birds - Lesser Yellowlegs

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Friday, April 3, 2020

April 3, 2020

Location: Goodwin Waterfowl Management Area, Broadmoor section, Fellsmere

We are known as Wood Storks
As a species, we are threatened birds
Due to agriculture and changing hydrocyles
Yet we are a species of least concern.

Sources: Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission - Wood Stork 

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Thursday, April 2, 2020

April 2, 2020

Location: Goodwin Waterfowl Management Area, Broadmoor section, Fellsmere

I am an American Bittern
Botaurus lentiginosus is my scientific Id
In Latin, "Bo" means "Oxen", and "Taurus" is bull
"Lentiginosus" means I'm freckled, you see.
But what exactly do oxen and bulls
Have anything to do with me?

Note: According to Wikipedia, "Pliny gave a fanciful derivation from Bos (ox) and taurus (bull), because the bittern's call resembles the bellowing of a bull."  I went and listened to the calls of the American Bittern, which to me sound nothing at all like a bull (unless perhaps that bull is trying to swallow a giant frog). So then I listened to the calls of a Eurasian Bittern, which I guess sound a little more like a bull, if you have never heard an actual bull. But it still didn't make a lot of sense to me, so I looked for the source.

One of my favorite resources on the internet is Project Gutenberg, which has thousands of books published before 1924, and is where I found a copy of Pliny the Elder's Natural History. To quote from the Birds chapter of the book,

"There is one bird, found in the territory of Arelate, that imitates the lowing of oxen, from which circumstance it has received the name of “taurus.”"

This statement is footnoted with:

"The “bull.” This cannot possibly be the bittern, as some have suggested, for that is a large bird."

So I am still unsure as to how the bittern got this scientific name, but if you have never seen it, I highly recommend perusing some of Pliny the Elder's work. In particular, check out these sections discussing eggs:
Some of the quotes are very interesting and made me appreciate scientific endeavors throughout history. There is not a lot of information in this tome (other than bird names) that you will find in any modern bird guide or encyclopedia. This to me, is the beauty of scientific knowledge - it is corrected and updated as our knowledge grows. And it makes me wonder what bird guides will look like a thousand years from now.

Sources: Project Gutenberg

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

April 1, 2020

Location: Goodwin Waterfowl Management Area, Broadmoor section, Fellsmere

I am known as a Pied-bill Grebe,
I am truly a work of art.
You can see in my eyes, a vague look of surprise,
I hope nobody heard me just fart.

Sources: Cornell Lab All About Birds - Pied-billed Grebe

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson