Thursday, April 15, 2021

April 15, 2021

This plant is known as Sea Ox-Eye
It is known to be salt tolerant
It propagates easily when the flowerhead turns brown
But before that, it's bright yellow and prominent.

Location: Indian River Lagoon Preserve State Park

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

Photo and text © 2021 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

April 14, 2021

I am a Great Southern White butterfly
It's harder to tell that with my wings closed
My colors change with the wet and dry seasons
Which is a moot point if this is how I'm posed.

Location: Indian River Lagoon Preserve State Park

Sources: https://www.butterfliesandmoths.org/species/Ascia-monuste

Photo and text © 2021 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

April 13, 2021

This plant is known as Plantago virginica
Commonly known as Dwarf or Pale-Seed Plantain
It's a moderate allergen and there's debate
Whether it rhymes with mountain or pain.

Location: Indian River Lagoon Preserve State Park

Sources: https://www.pollenlibrary.com/Specie/Plantago+virginica/

Photo and text © 2021 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Monday, April 12, 2021

April 12, 2021

This plant is known as Pink Wood Sorrel,
It's an exotic ornamental
Its leaves look similar to shamrocks
And it's hard to control, at the risk of sounding judgmental.

Location: Indian River Lagoon Preserve State Park

Sources: https://plants.ifas.ufl.edu/plant-directory/oxalis-debilis/

Photo and text © 2021 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Sunday, April 11, 2021

April 11, 2021 - Ask David a Birding Question #1 - Why do some Bald Eagle nests fail?


I am pleased to announce a new feature on Dee at 8 a.m. I will be releasing videos featuring David where he answers your birding questions. If you would like to ask a question either post a comment here or send mail to Dee directly. We look forward to your questions. Here is our first installment, "Why do some Bald Eagle nests fail?" Enjoy!

Location: St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park

April 11, 2021

This is known as Natal Plum
It has dark leaves and it's fruit tastes like cranberries
In South Africa, it's called "Large Num-num"
And in other places, the name can vary.

Location: Indian River Lagoon Preserve State Park

Sources: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carissa_macrocarpa

Photo and text © 2021 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Saturday, April 10, 2021

April 10, 2021

I am a  Tropical Checkered-Skipper,
On my upper wing there's a white hourglass
Beside, a white spot, amongst other dots
A Common Checkered-Skipper doesn't have this much class. 

Location: Indian River Lagoon Preserve State Park

Sources: https://alabama.butterflyatlas.usf.edu/species/details/133/tropical-checkered-skipper

Photo and text © 2021 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Friday, April 9, 2021

April 9, 2021

This is Cutleaf Evening Primrose
It can grow to be 18 inches high
It flower has 4 heart-shaped petals
With 8 stamens and 1 pistil inside.

Location: Indian River Lagoon State Park

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

Photo and text © 2021 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Thursday, April 8, 2021

April 8, 2021

This is known as Marlberry
It is an evergreen shrub
It blooms and fruits throughout the year
And birds think the berries are good "grub".

Location: Indian River Lagoon Preserve State Park

Sources: https://flawildflowers.org/flower-friday-ardisia-escallonioides/

Photo and text © 2021 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

April 7, 2021

This flower is called BlueJacket
Spiderwort is another of its names
The stamen usually has bluish filament hairs
If they're pink, radiation could be to blame!

Location: Indian River Lagoon Preserve State Park

Sources: https://flawildflowers.org/flower-friday-tradescantia/

Photo and text © 2021 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

April 6, 2021

This was once a Mangrove Tree Crab,
Alas, he is no more
He is now just a crab dinner
For ants upon the shore.   

Location: Indian River Lagoon Preserve State Park

Sources: http://bioweb.uwlax.edu/bio203/s2014/case_zac2/habitat.htm

Photo and text © 2021 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Monday, April 5, 2021

April 5, 2021

I am a female Boat-tailed Grackle
I'm omnivorous and eat what I please
Including both land and aquatic insects
And occasionally grain and seeds.

Location: Fellsmere Grade Road, Headwaters Boat Ramp

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

Photo and text © 2021 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Sunday, April 4, 2021

April 4, 2021

I am a Cattle Egret
I'm in the same order as storks
I use my beak to catch insects disturbed by grazing cows
It's easier than using a fork.

Location: Fellsmere Grade Road, Headwaters Boat Ramp

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

Photo and text © 2021 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Saturday, April 3, 2021

April 3, 2021

This is Showy Rattlebox
It makes a rattling noise when its seeds are dried
It is also toxic to livestock,
Remove it from pastures so your ponies don't get sick or die. 

Location: Fellsmere Grade Road, Headwaters Boat Ramp

Sources: http://blogs.ifas.ufl.edu/bakerco/2019/12/03/wild-weeds-showy-cotalaria/

Photo and text © 2021 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Friday, April 2, 2021

April 2, 2021

I am known as a Belted Kingfisher, 
When I was young, I processed bones in my acidic tummy
By the time I fledged, this acid went away
And I started regurgitating just like my mummy.

Location: Fellsmere Grade Road, Headwaters Boat Ramp

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

Photo and text © 2021 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Thursday, April 1, 2021

April 1, 2021

I am a Great Horned Owl
Chillin' on my nest with my babies
Although I am beneficial to man
Occasionally my poop contains rabies.

(Special thanks to today's guest photographer and my sweetheart, David Simpson.)

Location: Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge

Sources: https://meridian.allenpress.com/jwd/article-pdf/12/3/444/2227084/0090-3558-12_3_444.pdf

Photo © 2021 David Simpson, text © 2021 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

March 31. 2021

I am an immature White Ibis
Water depth determines where I feed
Since I have to be able to eat
It also determines where my parents breed.

(Special thanks to today's guest photographer and my sweetheart, David Simpson.)

Location: Sebastian Inlet

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

Photo © 2021 David Simpson, text © 2021 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

March 30, 2021

This is Asimina reticulata
Also known as Dog Banana or Netted Pawpaw
It is host to a great many butterflies
Including Zebra swallowtail and Pawpaw sphinx moth.

Location: St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park, Fellsmere

Sources: https://flawildflowers.org/flower-friday-asimina-reticulata/

Photo and text © 2021 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Monday, March 29, 2021

March 29, 2021

I am known as a Red-legged Thrush, 
I also have a red eye-ring
I'm normally only found in the Carribean
And I'm omnivorous - I'll eat anything.

(Special thanks to guest photographer and my sweetheart David Simpson.)

Location: Miami

Sources: https://www.birdscaribbean.org/2020/06/from-the-nest-day-38/

Photo © 2021 David Simpson, text © 2021 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Sunday, March 28, 2021

March 28, 2021

This is Leavenworth's Tickseed
It can be used in cultivated flowerbeds and butterfly gardens
It attracts native butterflies, bees and wasps, 
Go to your native plant store to get one or a carton!

Location: Fellsmere Trailhead Preserve

Sources: https://www.fnps.org/plant/coreopsis-leavenworthii

Photo and text © 2021 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Saturday, March 27, 2021

March 27, 2021

I am an adult Egyptian Goose
Along with my babies, shown here feeding
I am generally a rather quiet, calm bird, 
But I get rather noisy when I am breeding. 

(Special thanks to my guest photographer and sweetheart David Simpson.)

Location: Crandon Park, Miami

Sources: https://www.fws.gov/fisheries/ans/erss/highrisk/ERSS-Alopochen-aegyptiaca-FINAL-April2018.pdf

Photo © 2021 David Simpson, text © 2021 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Friday, March 26, 2021

March 26, 2021

This is the work of an Eastern mole
It shows a trail of where it's dug underground
Although they are rarely seen in daylight
This is evidence that they are around.

Editorial: 
I always find interesting facts while researching this blog. Such as, moles dig two kinds of tunnels, deeper ones they live in, and more shallow ones called runways (such as the one shown here) that they use to gather food. 

Sometimes though, I find things I don't want to know.  Eastern moles are beneficial to humans because they eat pest insects and aerate soil for us. Despite that, when you Google Eastern mole runways, almost all of the results are about how to kill moles. It makes me sad that so many people prefer to kill a natural source of pest control over having occasional mounds of dirt on their lawn.

Location: St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park, Fellsmere

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

Photo and text © 2021 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Thursday, March 25, 2021

March 25, 2021

I am known as a Least Grebe
I'm the smallest in the Grebe family
I've bright golden eyes and white floof on my tail
And my color is darker when I breed.

I swallow small prey and my own feathers
When ever I need a meal
Feathers protect my digestive tract from bones
Which could be a quite painful ordeal.

(Special thanks to guest photographer and my sweetheart, David Simpson.)

Location: Crandon Park, Miami

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

Photo © 2021 David Simpson, text © 2021 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

March 24, 2021

This is Oakleaf Fleabane
Its flowers can be white, pink, yellow or blue
The flowers are smaller than the size of a penny
Spring and summer is when they bloom.

Location: Fellsmere Trailhead Preserve

Sources: https://flawildflowers.org/flower-friday-erigeron-quercifolius/

Photo and text © 2021 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

March 23, 2021

I am known as a male Redhead, 
Swimming with my buddy, the American Wigeon, 
I have a grey back, black tail, and red head
Considering my name, that last fact's a given.

(Special thanks to today's guest photographer and my sweetheart, David Simpson.)

Location: Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge

Sources: https://www.fws.gov/southeast/wildlife/birds/redhead/

Photo © 2021 David Simpson, text © 2021 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Monday, March 22, 2021

March 22, 2021

This is the poop of the Eastern Cottontail
In polite company - it isn't something we discuss
But if you're in the woods, and think this looks good, 
Trust me, it's NOT Cocoa Puffs!

Location: St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park, Fellsmere

Sources: http://blogs.ifas.ufl.edu/pinellasco/2020/09/29/animal-scat-and-poop/

Photo and text © 2021 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Sunday, March 21, 2021

March 21, 2021

I am a plant known as Pink Sundew
I am native to Florida and I am carnivorous
The dew on my leaves is actually mucus
That bugs get stuck on, and I eat them, delicious!

Location: St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park, Fellsmere

Sources: http://fnpsblog.blogspot.com/2011/12/look-at-drosera.html

Photo and text © 2021 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Saturday, March 20, 2021

March 20, 2021

This is a Cinnabar Bracket
It grows in the form of a conk that is thin and dry
You might think studying fungus is boring
But I know a mycologist who's a really fun guy.

Location: St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park, Fellsmere

Sources: http://plants.alaska.gov/pdf/Conks.pdf
https://www.inaturalist.org/taxa/974664-Trametes-sanguinea

Photo and text © 2021 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Friday, March 19, 2021

March 19, 2021

I am a Florida Scrub-Jay
I like to live in scrub area populated by oaks
I practice cooperative breeding which means
I live with extended relatives, including my folks.

Location: St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park, Fellsmere

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

Photo and text © 2021 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Thursday, March 18, 2021

March 18, 2021

I am a Northern Cloudywing
The white dots on my forewings ID me
I can be found from Florida to Canada
Laying eggs on plants in the Pea family.

Location: St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park, Fellsmere

Sources: https://www.butterfliesandmoths.org/species/Thorybes-pylades

Photo and text © 2021 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

March 17, 2021

I am a Halloween Pennant,
My wings are a distinctive orange and black
It's a little known fact* I'm of Irish descent
Specifically, O'lantern, Jack

*Disclaimer: Happy St. Patrick's Day. This "fact" is one that I totally made up cause it made me laugh. As described in the article linked below, Halloween Pennant develop from nymphs that are entirely aquatic until their last molt into the dragonfly you see here. 

Location: St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park, Fellsmere

Sources: http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/misc/odonata/Halloween_pennant.htm

Photo and text © 2021 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

March 16, 2021

This is Fetterbush Lyonia
It is in the Heath family
You can find it throughout the US south east
Where it's frequently sought out by bees.

Location: St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park, Fellsmere

Sources: https://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=lylu3

Photo and text © 2021 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Monday, March 15, 2021

March 15, 2021

This is Shiny Blueberry,
It's thought to be a hybrid species*
Wild turkeys, black bears, quail and humans
Have all been known to eat these. 

* Hybrid between Vacciniums tennelum and Vaccinium darrowii

Location: St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park, Fellsmere

Sources: https://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/plants/shrub/vacmys/all.html

Photo and text © 2021 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Sunday, March 14, 2021

March 14, 2021

This is an apparently failed Bald Eagle nest,
It's been over a month since the baby or adults have been seen
The baby might have been sick or predated
Or the nest was abandoned for reasons unforeseen.

(This is the nest I've been monitoring for a few years now. We do not know what happened to the baby or adults. I saw the adults recently, but there is no sign of the baby, I am pretty sure it has perished.)

Location: Fellsmere

Sources: https://cbop.audubon.org/conservation/human-activity-and-disturbances-near-active-bald-eagle-nests

Photo and text © 2021 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Saturday, March 13, 2021

March 13, 2021

I am known as Red-shouldered Hawk
You can see the red patch here on my shoulder
When I'm younger my feathers are just brown and white
I've got red and black feathers too now that I'm older.

Location: T.M. Goodwin Wildfowl Management Area

Sources: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Red-shouldered_Hawk/id

Photo and text © 2021 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Friday, March 12, 2021

March 12, 2021

I am a Tricolored Heron
Although technically I have more than three hues
There's white, and pink and some yellow, 
And a few different shades of grey-blue.

Location: Fellsmere Grade Recreation Area, Fellsmere

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

Photo and text © 2021 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Thursday, March 11, 2021

March 11, 2021

I'm known as a Brown Watersnake
I'm large and semi-aquatic
I give live birth to up to 60 babies
That's the price I pay for a night so rhapsodic.

Special thanks to my guest photographer and sweetheart, David Simpson.

Location: Fellsmere Grade Road, Fellsmere

Sources: https://www.floridamuseum.ufl.edu/florida-snake-id/snake/brown-watersnake/

Photo © 2021 David Simpson, text © 2021 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

March 10, 2021

I am a Yellow-rumped Warbler
I have very large breeding and non breeding ranges
I am a facultative migrant which means
Based on food and weather my winter home changes.

Location: Indian River Lagoon Preserve State Park

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

Photo and text © 2021 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

March 9, 2021

This fish is in the Genus Pterygoplichthys
This means it's a Sailfin Catfish
These fish are quite prolific; they
Hatch 2000 eggs in a shoreline crevice.

Location: Fellsmere Grade Recreation Area, Fellsmere

Sources: https://myfwc.com/wildlifehabitats/profiles/freshwater/sailfin-catfish/

Photo and text © 2021 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Monday, March 8, 2021

March 8, 2021

I am an Oleander caterpillar
When I grow up I'll be a Polka-Dot Wasp Moth 
But right now I'm orange with tufts of black hair
And my style's a little bit goth.

Location: Veteran's Park, Vero Beach

Sources: http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/orn/oleander_caterpillar.htm

Photo and text © 2021 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Sunday, March 7, 2021

March 7, 2021

I am a known as Golden-crowned Sparrow
I live on the west coast of the US and Canada
But I got lost and wound up in Florida
Which required bad directions and a whole lot of stamina.

Location: Indian River Lagoon Preserve State Park

Sources: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Golden-crowned_Sparrow/maps-range

Photo and text © 2021 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Saturday, March 6, 2021

March 6, 2021

We are Gray-headed Swamphens
Our blue-purple feathers sparkle and gleam
Although we are no longer called "Purple Swamphens"
We still have our deep purple dreams!

(Note: Happy birthday to my sistah Lynn, this birds for you!)

Location: Fellsmere Grade Recreation Area, Fellsmere

Sources: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TBImNrLzwqc
https://ebird.org/species/purswa3

Photo and text © 2021 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Friday, March 5, 2021

March 5, 2021

I am known as a Great Egret
I stand about one meter tall
Although I'm pretty big as birds go
I'll never fulfill my dream to play basketball.

Location: Stormwater park, Sebastian

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

Photo and text © 2021 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Thursday, March 4, 2021

March 4, 2021

This is known as a Moonflower
So called because it only blooms at night
This one though, is a scofflaw -
It's blooming right out in broad daylight!

Location: Indian River Lagoon Preserve State Park

Sources: https://www.fnps.org/plant/ipomoea-alba

Photo and text © 2021 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

March 3, 2021

I am a male Tropical Checkered-Skipper,
If I were female I would appear much darker
I have white hair scales that cover my wings
The female's scales are brown so she looks much sharper.  

Location: Indian River Lagoon Preserve State Park

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

Photo and text © 2021 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

March 2, 2021

I am a male Ceraunus Blue butterfly
I fly around when it's warm looking for a mate
She will lay eggs on a flower
And our caterpillars will emerge at a later date.

Location: Indian River Lagoon Preserve State Park

Sources: https://www.butterfliesandmoths.org/species/Hemiargus-ceraunus

Photo and text © 2021 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Monday, March 1, 2021

March 1, 2021

This is Helianthus debilis
Also known as Cucumberleaf Sunflower
It's also known as Beach Sunflower
It seems like common plant names change on the hour!

Location: Indian River Lagoon Preserve State Park

Sources: https://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=hede4

Photo and text © 2021 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Sunday, February 28, 2021

February 28, 2021

I am a Common Buckeye
I live in the southern US and Mexico
Our range is expanding northward
In Canada a few of us have summer homes.

Location: Indian River Lagoon Preserve State Park

Sources: http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/bfly/common_buckeye.htm

Photo and text © 2021 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Saturday, February 27, 2021

February 27, 2021

I am a Great Southern White butterfly
You can ID me by my turquoise antennal clubs
You can find me in coastal habitats
Fluttering amongst wildflowers and buds.

Location: Indian River Lagoon Preserve State Park

Sources: https://www.floridamuseum.ufl.edu/wildflowers/butterfly/great-southern-white/

Photo and text © 2021 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Friday, February 26, 2021

February 26, 2021

I am in the family of Penaeid Shrimps
Other species in my family are human food
Apparently we are quite tasty
And many birds like to snack on us too!

(Click to enlarge the photo - there is a shrimp in the Sanderling's mouth.)

Location: Sebastian Inlet State Park

Sources: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Penaeidae

Photo and text © 2021 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Thursday, February 25, 2021

February 25, 2021

I am known as a Royal Tern
In non-breeding plumage I look like Danny Devito
When I'm breeding I have full head of black hair
Sometimes it's better to go incognito.

(When I wrote this, I pictured a post-breeding male on the Maury Povich show saying, "I am NOT the father, that guy had a full head of black hair!")

Special thanks to Tanya R. for the Danny Devito comparison!

Location: Sebastian Inlet State Park

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

Photo and text © 2021 Dee Fairbanks Simpson