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Wednesday, May 27, 2020

May 27, 2020

Location: Maritime Hammock Sanctuary, Melbourne Beach

I'm an exotic Brown Anole
Because of my toes I'm good at running and jumping
My life span is only about 18 months but
I spend 10 to 12 of that breeding and humping.

Sources: Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce Indian River Lagoon Species Inventory - Anolis sagrei

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

May 26, 2020

Location: Maritime Hammock Sanctuary, Melbourne Beach

I am known as a Gopher Tortoise
I'm the only tortoise found east of the Mississippi
I love basking in the sun and herbaceous plants
Thats my nature, I'm not just a hippie.

Sources: Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission - Gopher Tortoise

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Monday, May 25, 2020

May 25, 2020

Location: Fellsmere, my house

I am a female Spinybacked Orbweaver
My mate looks much different from me
He's much smaller with a gray abdomen
This is sexual dimorphism that's easy to see.

Sources: UF | IFAS Featured Creatures Spinybacked Orbweaver

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Sunday, May 24, 2020

May 24, 2020

Location: Fellsmere, my house

I'm adult Southern Black Racer,
I'm a non-venomous very fast snake
If you startle me, I will be gone in a flash,
You won't have time for a double take.

Note: Make sure you click the photo to enlarge this one, you can see his cute little snakey tongue!

Sources: UF Florida Museum - Coluber constrictor priapus

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Saturday, May 23, 2020

May 23, 2020

Location: Fellsmere, my house

I am a Worm-eating Warbler
Although my diet's more varied than worms
You can find me in shrubs and hanging on leaves
Eating caterpillars and other stuff that squirms.

Sources: Cornell Lab All About Birds - Worm-eating Warbler

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Friday, May 22, 2020

May 22, 2020

Location: Fellsmere, my house

I'm an adult Saddleback Caterpillar Moth,
I'm different than when I was a young squirt
I was a green and red caterpillar with venomous spines,
That could cause you a whole world of hurt.

Note: Knowing that some butterflies, such as the Monarch are poisonous as caterpillars, and retain this poison as adults, I was curious if any venomous properties are retained from the spines in the adult Saddleback moth. I sent mail to Dr. Christopher S. Bibbs, the author of the article linked below and he responded with the following:

"The adult moth is harmless. Urticaria is an unusual phenomena among insects, and essentially requires that the venom be delivered via capillary action through almost fiberglass like tubes internal to the spines. Because of this way of delivering, adult moths simply lack the physical ability to “sting” like the caterpillars do.

The only exception I am aware of is the Cecropia moth. These have limited to virtually no occurrence in Florida, but are quite common nocturnal moths in the northeastern US. They have a scant few little spines on the abdomen, but it isn’t very good at using them.

Rest assured that the moths of any other urticating species in the US (flannel moths, puss moths, io moths, etc.) have harmless adults."

Sources: UF | IFAS Featured Creatures Saddleback Caterpillar

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Thursday, May 21, 2020

May 21, 2020

Location: Fellsmere, my house

I am known as a Gray Catbird
I wear a little black hat
My song can last up to 10 minutes long
And my calls allegedly sound like a cat.

Note: I say "allegedly" because to be honest, I just don't hear it, but then, having lived with them all my life, I am all too familiar with what cats sound like. Especially at 3 a.m. when they decide they want a snack.

Sources: Cornell Lab All About Birds - Gray Catbird

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

May 20, 2020

Location: Fellsmere, my house

This is known as Clerodendrum thomsoniae
More commonly, Bleeding Glory-Bower
It is non-native and grows very fast
And provides hundreds of tiny red flowers.

Note: When I bought this as a tiny clipping at a "native plant" auction, it was labeled as a "Bleeding Heart". I was expecting it to grow in to the kind of bleeding hearts I grew up with up north, which I adore. It grew up to be totally not the same thing at all, so I was a little disappointed, but despite it being neither native nor a bleeding heart, it is still kind of pretty, and I've managed to keep it alive for over a decade now.

Sources: South Florida Plant Guide - Bleeding Heart Vine

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

May 19, 2020

Location: Fellsmere, my house

I am a female Northern Cardinal,
I'm giving myself a bath
In the springtime I'll defend my territory
Stay away or you'll feel birdie wrath!

Note: A few minutes after I took this photo, I watched this bird whomp a Worm-eating Warbler for venturing too close to her nest. If you aren't familiar with Worm-eating Warblers, tune in Saturday when that bird will be featured. (Just so you don't worry, the warbler was unscathed and both birds came out of the skirmish fine.)

Sources: Cornell Lab All About Birds - Northern Cardinal

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Monday, May 18, 2020

May 18, 2020

Location: Fellsmere, my house

This is a Scarlet Powder-Puff
It's non-native, but not considered a problem
It's used as an attractive, ornamental hedge
With its dark leaves and pink showy blossoms.

Sources: University of Florida IFAS Extenstion Calliandra haematocephala: Powderpuff

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Sunday, May 17, 2020

May 17, 2020

Location: Fellsmere, my house

I am a Great Crested Flycatcher,
I nest in nest boxes or natural cavities
I often use snakeskin when making my nest
And I have a relentlessly persistent personality.

Sources: Cornell Lab All About Birds - Great Crested Flycatcher

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Saturday, May 16, 2020

May 16, 2020

Location: Fellsmere, my house

I am known as a Mourning Dove,
You've probably seen me outside your home
If you want me to make a nest in your yard,
You can invite me by building a cone.

Sources: NC State Extension - Nest Structures for Mourning Doves

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Friday, May 15, 2020

May 15, 2020

Location: Fellsmere, my house

I am one of many Eastern Gray Squirrels
Your birdseed will be gone where we accumulate
I'm known to be quite promiscuous -
It only takes me 30 seconds to copulate.

Sources: University of Michigan Museum of Zoology Animal Diversity Web - Sciurus carolinensis eastern gray squirrel

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Thursday, May 14, 2020

May 14, 2020

Location: Fellsmere, my house

We are Painted Buntings,
Often victims of a horrible crime
We are caught and then sold on the black market
Which contributes to our population decline.

Note: As described in the linked article, "If you come across an illegal trap or a caged bunting, call or text the commission’s Wildlife Alert Hotline at (888) 404-3922 (FWCC), or send an email to Tip@MyFWC.com."

Sources: Birdwatching Daily - The black-market value of colorful Painted Bunting

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson (Photos from From top to bottom: female, female, male.)

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

May 13, 2020

Location: Laramie, Wyoming

This is Xanthoparmelia chlorochroa,
Also called Tumbleweed Lichen
It is thought to be occasionally toxic
To some ruminants such as antelope and bison.

Guest Photographer: Joy Handley

Sources: Experimental reproduction of tumbleweed shield lichen
(Xanthoparmelia chlorochroa) poisoning in a domestic sheep model

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

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

May 12, 2020

Location: Laramie, Wyoming

This is known as Phlox hoodii
It forms a low carpet of pale pink or white
In North America, it's native throughout the west
Where it grows near sagebush in dry, sandy sites.

Guest Photographer: Joy Handley

Sources: USDA Fire Effects Information System (FEIS) - Phlox hoodii

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

Monday, May 11, 2020

May 11, 2020

Location: Laramie, Wyoming

These are signs that a North American Beaver,
Has been here, that adorable scamp.
He gnaws a tree to a tip,
Then with a firm grip,
Drags it back to his home sweet dam!

Guest Photographer: Joy Handley

Sources: University of Michigan Museum of Zoology Animal Diversity Web - Castor canadensis American beaver

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

Sunday, May 10, 2020

May 10, 2020


Location: Laramie, Wyoming

These are Pronghorm Antelopes,
They live in the west and eat sage and grass.
They stay warm in cold weather with air-filled hair,
And they can't jump but can run really fast.

Note: Make sure you read the article linked below, it has a fascinating section on their anatomy that describes why they can run but not jump.

Guest Photographer: Joy Handley

Sources: University of Michigan Museum of Zoology Animal Diversity Web - Antilocapra americana pronghorn

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

Saturday, May 9, 2020

May 9, 2020

Location: Laramie, Wyoming

These are Hooker's Townsend Daisy
They are in the Aster family
They are common in the US northwest
You can find them in plains, grasslands and valleys

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.

Guest Photographer: Joy Handley

Sources: Montana Field Guides - Hooker's Townsend-daisy - Townsendia hookeri

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

Friday, May 8, 2020

May 8, 2020

Location: Aarhus, Denmark, private residence

I am a European Robin,
I'm nothing like the American one
I am smaller overall, I'm rounder than tall
And I'm Flycatcher, not a thrush, who'd have thunk?

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.

Guest Photographers: Anne and Sven

Sources: When is a Robin not a Robin? When it's a Thrush.

Photo © 2020 Ann and Sven, text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Thursday, May 7, 2020

May 7, 2020

Location: Aarhus, Denmark, private residence

I am a Eurasian Bullfinch,
I live in orchards, gardens and forests
I eat buds, shoots, and leaves from many plants
And invertebrates as the situation warrants.

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.

Guest Photographers: Anne and Sven

Sources: Cornell Lab of Ornithology Birds of the World - Eurasian Bullfinch

Photo © 2020  Ann and Sven,  text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

May 6, 2020

Location: Aarhus, Denmark, private residence

I am a juvenile Eurasian Tree sparrow
When I hatched I was nekkid, with no natal down
Right now my colors are still pretty dull but,
Soon my head will be bright chestnut-brown.

Interesting fact: Although this photo was taken in Denmark, there is a small, localized (but expanding) population of these birds in the US. Details in the linked article. 

Guest Photographers: Anne and Sven

Sources: Cornell Lab of Ornithology Birds of the World - Eurasian Tree Sparrow

Photo © 2020 Ann and Sven,  text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

May 5, 2020

Location: Aarhus, Denmark, private residence

I am known as a Eurasian Jackdaw,
Like the American Crow, I'm in the Corvus genus.
I'm omnivorous and eat grains, bats and other birds eggs,
An offense that can be quite egregious.

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.

Guest Photographers: Anne and Sven

Sources: Cornell Lab of Ornithology Birds of the World - Eurasian Jackdaw

Photo © 2020 Ann and Sven, Text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Monday, May 4, 2020

May 4, 2020

Location: Aarhus, Denmark, private residence

I am known as a Crested Tit,
My favorite trees are pine
I eat invertebrates and mate for life
When I find a Tit that like, it's all mine!

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.

Guest Photographers: Anne and Sven

Sources: Cornell Lab of Ornithology Birds of the World - Crested Tit

Photo © 2020 Ann and Sven, text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Sunday, May 3, 2020

May 3, 2020

Location: Aarhus, Denmark, private residence

I am known as a Coal tit
I am known to frequent bird feeders
I have a grey back and I wear a black cap
And am also an insect eater.

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.

Guest Photographers: Anne and Sven

Sources: RSPB - Coal Tit

Photo © 2020  Anne and Sven, text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Saturday, May 2, 2020

May 2, 2020

Location: Aarhus, Denmark, private residence

I am a Great Green Bush Cricket
Katydids are in my family
If you look close, you can see that I'm pooping
Some of the caterpillars and flies that I eat.

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.

Guest Photographers: Anne and Sven

Sources: Wikipedia - Tettigonia viridissima

Photo © 2020 Ann and Sven, text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Friday, May 1, 2020

May 1, 2020

Location: Location

I am a Spotted Oleander Moth
In Florida, I am an exotic
But I've got some white spots, and red and blue wings
So I look just a bit patriotic.

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 Featured Creatures - Spotted Oleander Moth

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