Tuesday, August 9, 2022

August 9, 2022

I am known as an Oak Toad
I blend in well with my surroundings
Hognose and Garter snakes both like to eat me
It's good my camouflage can be confounding.

Location: St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park, Fellsmere

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

Photo and text © 2022 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Monday, August 8, 2022

August 8, 2022

I am a Proctacanthus heros
I am a type of robber fly
I have a tiny "beak" on which I impale prey
Which includes Cicadas, Wasps, and Horseflies.

Location: St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park, Fellsmere

Sources: https://gophertortoisecouncil.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=104:sandhill-robbers&catid=31

Photo and text © 2022 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Sunday, August 7, 2022

August 7, 2022

This is a feather from a Northern Flicker
Pigmentation is based on the bird's diet
Metabolic processes also contribute -
It's easier to be natural than to try to tie-dye it.

Special thanks to today's guest photographer, David Simpson.

Location: Little League Park, Fellsmere

Sources: https://birdsoftheworld.org/bow/species/norfli/cur/appearance

Photo and text © 2022 Dee Fairbanks Simpson



Saturday, August 6, 2022

August 6, 2022

This is a Black Vulture feather
The second photo shows several
Although it looks like some vultures exploded, 
They just molted, it's nothing distressful.

Location: Little League Park, Fellsmere

Sources: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/news/the-basics-feather-molt/

Photo and text © 2022 Dee Fairbanks Simpson



Friday, August 5, 2022

August 5, 2022

This is Paraguayan Purslane
It was first recorded in the US in the 1950's
It grows quite well in disturbed sites
From pastures to parking lots in the middle of cities.

Location: South Carolina Ave, Fellsmere

Sources: https://www.jstor.org/stable/41966600

Photo and text © 2022 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Thursday, August 4, 2022

August 4, 2022

I am a young Cooper's Hawk
When I get older, my head will be darker
Right now I'm a warm reddish-brown color
But my long, striped tail's an identifying marker.

Location: South Carolina Ave, Fellsmere

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

Photo and text © 2022 Dee Fairbanks Simpson



Wednesday, August 3, 2022

August 3, 2022

This is known as Shoestring Fern
It can grow from 1 to 23 inches
It is Epiphytic and grows on palm trees
And it's long green strands are reminiscent of Grinches.

Location: St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park, Fellsmere

Sources: http://floranorthamerica.org/Vittaria_lineata

Tuesday, August 2, 2022

August 2, 2022

I am a Common Nighthawk
I have a tiny beak and big black eyes
When I sit on a snag the same color as me
I become a master of disguise.

Location: St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park, Fellsmere

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

Photo and text © 2022 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Monday, August 1, 2022

August 1, 2022

This photograph was taken
Just a few days after a wild fire
But do not despair, it's not a bad thing
For many species, fire's required*

Note all of the green in the photo
This is new plants already coming back up
The Scrub Jays who live here safely left and came back
To feast on the insects who, post-fire,  erupt!

* Special thanks to Sammy McGee for introducing me to the term "fire required". Please make sure you click the link for a great article that describes the benefits of fire

Location: St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park, Fellsmere

Sources: https://sfyl.ifas.ufl.edu/media/sfylifasufledu/pinellas/natural-resources/The-Benefits-of-Fire.pdf

Photo and text © 2022 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Sunday, July 31, 2022

July 31, 2022

I am a Mangrove Tree Crab
I spent my larval stages in the sea
Then I got older and came closer to shore
Where I reside in a Mangrove tree.

Location: Riverside Park, Vero

Sources: https://sta.uwi.edu/fst/lifesciences/sites/default/files/lifesciences/images/Aratus%20pisonii%20-%20Mangrove%20Tree-climbing%20Crab.pdf

Photo and text © 2022 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Saturday, July 30, 2022

July 30, 2022

I belong to the Genus Archytas
I'm a species of Tachinid fly
There are more than 1,300 to choose from
So, if I don't know who I am, that is why.

Location: Goodwin Wildlife Management Area, Broadmoor Unit, Fellsmere

Sources: https://www.flawildflowers.org/know-your-native-pollinators-tachinid-flies/

Photo and text © 2022 Dee Fairbanks Simpson



Friday, July 29, 2022

July 29, 2022

We are both Four-spotted Pennants
Macropterous is a word that describes us
This just means we have long functional wings
Eating mosquitoes and midges is what drives us.

Location: Goodwin Wildlife Management Area, Broadmoor Unit, Fellsmere

Sources: http://www.wildsouthflorida.com/four-spotted.pennant.dragonfly.html

Photo and text © 2022 Dee Fairbanks Simpson



Thursday, July 28, 2022

July 28, 2022

This is Turkey Tangle Frogfruit
Also known as Carpetweed
Bees and butterflies like it
Including Phaon crescent and hairstreaks.

Location: Goodwin Wildlife Management Area, Broadmoor Unit, Fellsmere

Sources: https://www.flawildflowers.org/flower-friday-phyla-nodiflora

Photo and text © 2022 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

July 27, 2022

I am a Jagged Ambush Bug
Phymata americana, most likely
It's difficult to tell for sure though - 
My shape and color can vary widely.

Location: Goodwin Wildlife Management Area, Broadmoor Unit, Fellsmere

Sources: https://bugguide.net/node/view/4833

Photo and text © 2022 Dee Fairbanks Simpson



Tuesday, July 26, 2022

July 26, 2022

I am known as an Osprey
I can live almost any place
As long as there's shallow water and lots of fish
And a nest site so I can mate. 

Location: Goodwin Wildlife Management Area, Broadmoor Unit, Fellsmere

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

Photo and text © 2022 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Monday, July 25, 2022

July 25, 2022

This plant is known as Phasey Bean
It is a native plant in Mexico
In Florida it's considered a high invasion risk
Because it can spread in a manner most bellicose.

Location: Goodwin Wildlife Management Area, Broadmoor Unit, Fellsmere

Sources: https://plants.ifas.ufl.edu/plant-directory/macroptilium-lathyroides/

Photo and text © 2022 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Sunday, July 24, 2022

July 24, 2022

We are Mormidea pamas
We don't look too different as we age
We were eggs, then nymphs, and now we're adults
We're hemimetabolous so we skip the pupal stage. 

Location: Goodwin Wildlife Management Area, Broadmoor Unit, Fellsmere

Sources: https://eol.org/pages/608968

Photo and text © 2022 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Saturday, July 23, 2022

July 23, 2022

I am an Oebalus ypsilongriseus
I am a type of Rice Stink Bug
I'm predated by other insects and birds,
But there's only so much of me that they can chug -
But the date on which rice is planted
Can prevent me from running amok.

Location: Goodwin Wildlife Management Area, Broadmoor Unit, Fellsmere

Sources: https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/publication/IN1009

Photo and text © 2022 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Friday, July 22, 2022

July 22, 2022


I am known as a Luna Moth
I'm mostly green with a furry white tummy
My antennae are quadripectinate*
And I don't like owls cause they think that I'm yummy.

Very special thanks to today's guest photographer, Megan Berg.

* Check out the glossary linked below to find out what quadripectinate means, as well as many other moth-related terms!

Location: Kitty Hawk Woods Reserve, Kitty Hawk NC

Sources: https://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/misc/moths/luna_moth.htm
http://pnwmoths.biol.wwu.edu/about-moths/glossary/

Photo and text © 2022 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Thursday, July 21, 2022

July 21, 2022

I am a Hawaiian Beet Webworm Moth
When I was a caterpillar, I ate spinach, Beets, and chard
As an adult, I don't consume anything
I just live in gardens and yards

Location: Goodwin Wildlife Management Area, Broadmoor Unit, Fellsmere

Sources: https://bugguide.net/node/view/9731

Photo and text © 2022 Dee Fairbanks Simpson



Wednesday, July 20, 2022

July 20, 2022

I am a male Eastern Amberwing
In the US, I'm one of the smallest dragonflies
You know I'm male, because my wings are amber
And you know I'm trust worthy, look into my big red eyes!

Location: Goodwin Wildlife Management Area, Broadmoor Unit, Fellsmere

Sources: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eastern_amberwing#/media/File:Eastern_Amberwing_9268.jpg

Photo and text © 2022 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

July 19, 2022

This plant is known as Wild Cowpea
It grows quickly on a creeping vine
The vine can grow to be over six feet long
In coastal uplands, pinelands,  and disturbed sites.

Location: Goodwin Wildlife Management Area, Broadmoor Unit, Fellsmere

Sources: https://www.regionalconservation.org/beta/nfyn/plantdetail.asp?tx=Vignlute

Photo and text © 2022 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Monday, July 18, 2022

July 18, 2022

I am known as a Cockatiel
I've either been abandoned or I've escaped
I'm only native to Australia, 
For me, Florida's a failure,
And I will soon not have a g'day, mate. 

(This bird will most likely succumb to illness, predators or starvation soon as it is clearly a captive bird who has no idea how to survive outside of a cage inside a human's home.)

Location: Goodwin Wildlife Management Area, Broadmoor Unit, Fellsmere

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

Photo and text © 2022 Dee Fairbanks Simpson



Sunday, July 17, 2022

July 17, 2022

I am a male Red-winged Blackbird
I'm known to have a quite varied diet
Grain, snails, dragonflies and spiders, Yum!
Don't knock it until you've tried it!

Location: Goodwin Wildlife Management Area, Broadmoor Unit, Fellsmere

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

Photo and text © 2022 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Saturday, July 16, 2022

July 16, 2022


I am a Handsome Meadow Katydid
I'm considered a poikilotherm
My song changes with the temperature
And you don't want to know what I do with sperm*.

* But if you do want to know, go to the "Courtship, Mating, and Life Cycle" section of this page, there are even photos! 

Location: Goodwin Wildlife Management Area, Broadmoor Unit, Fellsmere

Sources: 

Photo and text © 2022 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Friday, July 15, 2022

July 15, 2022

I am an Aplos simplex nymph
When I grow up, I will be brown
But for now, I'm green with orange stripes
And a head that's distinctively round.

Special thanks to today's very special guest photographer, Kim O'Malley. Kim found this Aplos simplex in MA, but they can also be found throughout the eastern US, including Florida.

Location: Private residence, Attleboro,  Mass

Sources: https://www.inaturalist.org/taxa/750918-Aplos-simplex

Photo © 2022 Kim O’Mally and text © 2022 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Thursday, July 14, 2022

July 14, 2022

I am a Red-headed Woodpecker
I am known to stash food in a cache.
But I also eat insects such as flies
Which I dart out and catch in a flash!

(Special thanks to guest photographer, David Simpson. Not gonna lie though - I am seriously ticked off at him. I gave him my camera and asked him to see if he could get a photo of the RHWP while I was assisting banding scrub jays. He came back with these two photos. The RHWP is one of my nemesis birds which I have NEVER gotten a decent photo of. And David had the nerve to get TWO fantastic shots! I especially love the first one!)


Location: St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park, Fellsmere

Sources: https://abcbirds.org/bird/red-headed-woodpecker/

Photo © 2022 David Simpson and text © 2022 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

July 13, 2022


(continued from yesterday)

I am a baby Florida Scrub-Jay
But now I've got lovely jewelry
When I got it, I pooped on a volunteer's pants
I was tired of bird-banding tomfoolery.

Location: St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park, Fellsmere

Sources: To see an example of research made possible by having banded birds, see: Mumme, Ronald L., Reed Bowman, M. Shane Pruett, and John W. Fitzpatrick. “Natal Territory Size, Group Size, and Body Mass Affect Lifetime Fitness in the Cooperatively Breeding Florida Scrub-Jay.” The Auk 132, no. 3 (2015): 634–46. http://www.jstor.org/stable/90009076.

Photo and text © 2022 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

July 12, 2022

I am a baby Scrub Jay
You can tell cause I have a brown head
I also don't wear any jewelry yet
But I will soon, now that I've fledged. 

(To be continued...)

Location: St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park, Fellsmere

Sources: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Florida_Scrub-Jay/id

Photo and text © 2022 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Monday, July 11, 2022

July 11, 2022

These are wild Muscadine grapes,
They grow in the wild on a vine
They can be eaten by humans, raccoons and deer
And if stomped on can be made into wine. 

Location: My yard, Fellsmere

Sources: https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/publication/HS100

Photo and text © 2022 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Sunday, July 10, 2022

Jul 10, 2022

I am a baby White-tailed Deer
I appear to be alone at the moment
But my mom and dad are probably close by
And they do not appreciate human encroachment.

(I saw some people who got way too close to this deer today. If you see a baby dear, or any young wild animal, it is always best to leave it alone. As described in the article linked below, deer are generally pretty chill, but if you get too close to one of their babies, they will try to hurt you. Just because you don't see the parent, it does not mean it can't see you.)

Location: St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park, Fellsmere

Sources: https://www.outdoorsbeing.com/do-deer-attack-humans/

Photo and text © 2022 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Saturday, July 9, 2022

July 9, 2022

I am Long-headed Toothpick Grasshopper,
My antennae are shaped like swords
With my color and shape I blend in with weeds
And enjoy the camouflage that they afford.

(This photo was taken on the front bumper of a friends car - clearly Long-headed Toothpick Grasshoppers are easier to see when they are not hiding in the grass!)

Location: St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park, Fellsmere

Sources: https://entnemdept.ufl.edu/ghopper/strid.pdf

Photo and text © 2022 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Friday, July 8, 2022

July 8, 2022

This plant is known as Largeflower Rose Gentian
It has a star in the middle of its bloom
It likes full sun, grows well from seeds
And despite it's name doesn't require much room.

Location: St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park, Fellsmere

Sources: https://www.flawildflowers.org/flower-friday-sabatia-grandiflora/

Photo and text © 2022 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Thursday, July 7, 2022

July 7, 2022

This plant is Orange Milkwort
Sometimes also called Bog Bachelor Button
Ants often help to disperse its seeds
Because they are elaisome gluttons.

Location: St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park, Fellsmere

Sources: https://sfyl.ifas.ufl.edu/media/sfylifasufledu/duval/horticulture/homowner-hort-pdfx27s/Polygala_lutea.pdf

Wednesday, July 6, 2022

July 6, 2022

I am known as an Orange Blister Beetle
Because my hemolymph causes blisters
Hemolymph is basically invertebrate blood - 
But without red blood cells, unlike human critters.

Location: St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park, Fellsmere

Sources: https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/publication/IN323

Tuesday, July 5, 2022

July 5, 2022

These plants are Yellow Milkwort
Although there are many, they are solitary
For plants this means there is one flower per plant
Not two or three, it's not arbitrary.

Location: St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park, Fellsmere

Sources: https://www.flawildflowers.org/flower-friday-polygala-rugelii/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glossary_of_botanical_terms#solitary

Photo and text © 2022 Dee Fairbanks Simpson



Monday, July 4, 2022

July 4, 2022

I am known as a Scarletsnake
I'm non venomous and basically docile
Sadly I get confused with the Coral snake
Who although venomous, is not particularly hostile.

* Please refer to the links below to learn how to tell them apart. There are a ton of rhymes that people can use such as "Red touches black, friend of Jack, Red touches yellow, kill a fellow." Unfortunately, due to color variations and the fact that people don't always remember the rhyme correctly, it is not the best way to tell the species apart. 

Location: St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park, Fellsmere

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

Sunday, July 3, 2022

July 3, 2022

I am a Wingless Meadow Katydid
I have small simple eyes called ocelli
I eat plants in the Xyris genus
And I have ridiculously long antennae. 

Location: St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park, Fellsmere

Sources: https://eol.org/pages/502614

Photo and text © 2022 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Saturday, July 2, 2022

July 2, 2022

I am called "Common Eastern Velvet Ant"
But I'm actually a wasp that can make you go "OW!"
My venom isn't actually that toxic*
And it's a myth that I can kill a cow. 

*As with other bees and wasps, for most people the sting will hurt but not kill you. However, some people are allergic to certain venoms and can die from a sting, just as some people are allergic to peanuts or shellfish.

Location: St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park, Fellsmere

Sources: https://link.gale.com/apps/doc/A536999730/HRCA?u=googlescholar&sid=googleScholar&xid=b699e504

Photo and text © 2022 Dee Fairbanks Simpson