These rare white deer twins were born this summer and have found a safe home at Dan Daniel Park and on the Riverwalk
CLICK the large photo above to go to my web site. CLICK the image of the DAILY photos to enlarge the pictures. CLICK the photos to the right to go to the blog for that particular day. My name is David Hoffman. I teach English and journalism at Averett University, but I have two side interests - writing and photography. I also enjoy walking daily with my English setter, Sadie, and my wife, Elizabeth, on the Danville, Virginia, Riverwalk. As a novice to studying nature, I am fascinated by the slightest facets of the great outdoors, but most of my pictures are of birds - I don't know a lot about them, but I am learning more and enjoying taking pictures of them daily. I also take pictures of plants, other animals, and insects. All pictures posted for each day were taken on the day of my blog entry.
Leave a comment if you have the time or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
CHECK OUT TIFFANY AND PATRIK'S WEDDING PICTURES (click picture below)
Monday, September 3, 2012
"What is this bug?" I asked.
In mid-August I took a picture of this thinking it was a bee. However, when I got home and downloaded my photos, I looked closely and realized it didn't have a stinger, like most bees.
I asked a colleague at Averett if she knew what it is. She said that that is a "bee moth" or a "humming-bird moth."
Whatever it is, it is very pretty.
Each day on the Riverwalk I see something I have never seen before. This is just on of those unique creatures I have seen while observing the beauty of nature.
(May 21, 2011) This has been a week when bluebird houses have come into my mind as a result of three distinct events. One event took place in our yard and the other two were moments I experienced on the Riverwalk.
In the picture above there is a swallow in a bird house on the Riverwalk (Bluebird House #22). This bird house was the scene of an invasion this week. On Thursday afternoon, I had parked in the public works department parking lot and was walking with Sadie near that box located 50 yards or so from the bridge going across the small creek near the restroom.
As Sadie, our English setter, and I approached the birdhouse, I noticed something sticking out of it. I thought that a bird's tail was sticking out; as I approached closer, I realized that it was not a bird's tail and thought that someone had put a stick in the opening. When I got even closer, I noticed that the "stick" had eyes; a small black snake was in the house and, I assume, the eggs or small swallows were no longer there.
I had my camera with me but forgot to put the memory card back into the camera after downloading pictures the day before, so I was carrying an expensive paperweight that was useless to me. The small snake looked at us for a few minutes and then retreated back into the box (#22). I was saddened by this, but when I mentioned it to my daughter, Christy, she said, "Well, snakes have to eat, too." That is the reality of the Riverwalk. There is new life and death everyday on the trail.
A second event occurred this morning on the Riverwalk. As I approached the dam below Dan Daniel Park, I noticed that the bluebird house there wasn't there anymore. The pole was there, but the house was missing. Perched on top of the pole was a single swallow wondering, I assume, what had happened to his house. It is possible that those who look after the birdhouses may have taken it down for some reason; however, if someone had stolen the house, that person faces a fine up to $10,000 and jail time. I hope it was the former.
A third event happened at our house this week. Elizabeth, my wife, had taken Sadie out and they walked near the bluebird house we have in our yard. It is the time of year when there are either eggs or babies in the houses. As Elizabeth and Sadie got near the birdhouse, they were swooped down upon by a squadron of angry bluebirds. Sadie, the bird dog, cowered and Elizabeth took Sadie into the house. I thought about the embarrassment of what could have happened with the headlines reading "Bird Dog and Owner Pecked to Death by BLUE BIRDS" How embarrassing would that be?
We went out to the Riverwalk this morning and plan another walk this afternoon - the weather is beautiful with sunny skies and temps in the low 80s. It has been and will be another good day on the Riverwalk.
(October 3, 2010) It has been over two weeks since I last posted, but I have been on the Riverwalk everyday with Sadie and seeing many unusual things. Because of the heavy teaching load I am doing this semester, I haven't had time to take my camera, so we have been doing our 2-5 miles everyday, and I have been recording mental images of all I see. Here are a few of those mental images.
The season has changed from summer to fall since I last posted here. The warm mornings, the extreme heat of the afternoons and the hot evenings have given way to the very cool mornings, the pleasant afternoons, and the chilly evenings on the Riverwalk. Sadie has been enjoying the cooler weather as she runs and runs through the foliage along the side of the trail.
Here's a fish story: A few weeks ago a couple of ladies asked me if I had talked to the fisherman fishing at the dam near Dan Daniel Park. I told I hadn't, and they said that he had had a very interesting thing happen the day before. He was fishing at the same spot, reeled in a 8-10 inch fish, and before he could get it off the hook, a great blue heron swooped down and took the fish off the hook. The man, they said, couldn't believe what he had seen, so that morning he had brought a camera in hopes of repeating the event.
During the past few weeks, I have been walking at Angler's Park most mornings and evenings. I sometimes head towards Dan Daniel Park, but will often just walk around the large field. There I have seen a large number (a dozen or more) of crows in the trees as I walk in the mornings. An occasional flock of geese and ducks flies over in the mornings, but few land at Angler's Park - until the rains came during this past week. The marsh had nearly dried up, but now there is once again life both seen and heard. The frogs sound their chorus after the rains but are rarely seen except when one ventures across the path heading to the open field. Sadie tip toes over the small hopping objects, sniffs them, they remain still, and I pull her away, not totally for the safety of the small frogs but for Sadie's benefit since when she has had a frog in her mouth, she suffers after wards for about 10-15 minutes as her mouth foams from whatever toxin the frogs use for defense. She has never killed a frog because she quickly spits out any frog that she gets into her mouth.
Recently, I have seen some beautiful woolly worms along the trail - pure white, brown with black stripes, and red ones. The butterflies are less plentiful now, but a couple of days ago I was near the bridge at the marsh in Angler's Park and saw several dozen tiny (less than a half inch wing span) swallowtail or monarch butterflies. They were fluttering around some tiny daisies growing alongside the marsh. No camera, but it was a beautiful moment in the morning sun.
This morning I ventured forth, again, without my camera. As we made a final circle around the large field at Angler's Park (the trail to Dan Daniel Park is closed because of flooding), I saw a spider web like I had never seen before; it glistened in the morning sun. It was in the shape of a sunflower with the designer/spider sitting right in the middle. The artistry amazed me. I walked back to the car and decided to drop Sadie off at home and go back with my camera. I walked across the bridge at the marsh and tried to find the beautiful web, but the sun was now at a different height in the sky. The web, I discovered, was further away from the bridge than I had recalled. I found it, took some pictures and headed back across the bridge.
I will try to spend more time taking pictures on the Riverwalk as we continue our daily walks. It was another good, but muddy, day on the Riverewalk.
(SEPTEMBER 13, 2010) The best times to take pictures of nature are during the first hour the sun comes up and during the hour before the sun goes down. That's, pretty much, a given based upon experience. However, what do we miss from the time after the sun goes down until the sun comes up in the morning?
That idea came to mind yesterday (Sunday) morning when Sadie and I returned home from the park at about 8:00. As I turned into the driveway, I saw 8-10 wild turkeys in our back yard. Sadie saw them, too. When they saw my Jeep, they wobbled into the woods. Once in the house, Sadie ran from window to window to see if she could see these strange looking birds. She didn't. They were long gone into the dense woods.
Sunday evening I decided to take Sadie to Angler's Park and let her run on a long leash. We were out there about 45 minutes and decided to head back to the car. I heard the buzzing of a small golf cart and saw a police officer driving towards the parking lot. He drove over to us and started talking. Sadie enjoyed the kindness of this officer as he rubbed her head.
As we talked, I mentioned some of the things I had seen on the Riverwalk over the years, and the officer mentioned that during his 5 years, on the police force, he has spent some time in the park after dark and saw animals that are nocturnal. He had seen red foxes, bobcats, coyotes, and a herd of deer numbering as many as 50 in the large field at Angler's Park. He said that he had also heard reports of bears traveling through (black bears) but hadn't seen any himself. He said that the bears tend to travel near water and that it is just a matter of time that some who venture along the trail will see one. He affirmed, what I learned this summer at Grandfather Mountain, that they will not attack unless threatened or if their cubs are threatened. I hope they don't take a dog barking as a threat because I know Sadie could not refrain from doing so if she saw one.
It is something to think about. What animals can be found in the park at dark? I don't think I'll be venturing down there to see any time soon - especially with my dog, Sadie.
Though I haven't entered new pictures or essays during the past couple of weeks, it has been a good two weeks on the Riverwalk. Life is at work there in the form of humans and nature. It's a good place to be - in the daylight, anyway.
(AUGUST 22, 2010) INS didn't come to the Riverwalk this morning looking for illegal immigrants, but there were plenty of background checks going on.
In the nearly 200 pictures taken this morning, I checked each one to see what the background would be since I have had more than one photo ruined because a tree was going out of a bird's back or a pole in the background looked like it was impaling the main subject. See the picture of Sadie and how the background fence looks like it is coming out of Sadie's head making her look like a merry-go-round animal.
However, there are times when the background over-shadows the main subject. For example, this morning the sky was beautiful. I took a picture of a small bird on a wire and captured some of the morning sky in the background. The silhouette of the bird is nice against the sky, but the sky becomes a picture within itself.
Woolly worms were out in plentiful numbers this morning. I saw two white woolly worms and a green one. The white ones were on green leaves, moving slowly around. The green contrast with the white worm helped to provide the contrast, but it also showed the worm in its natural setting.
The green woolly worm was on a fence post. The texture of the wood provided an interesting picture within itself. The green worm, with black dots on its back, moved slowly along the board.
Upon first getting to the trail this morning, I saw a heron sitting on a dam in front of the Brantley Steam plant. The bird was perched on a dry part of the dam with a large wall behind it. The wall was concrete with some white stripes. The reflection of the wall in the river provided an interesting photo in itself.
A goose in the foliage, a flower among the brush, and a tiger swallow tail butterfly sitting on a group of flowers all provide their own unique backgrounds. As a photographer, it is just as important to look at what in front as well as what is behind.
OK . . . here comes a little philosophy. Life, itself, is kind of like that. We can see what's in front of us, but we carry a background that is either attractive in itself or not so attractive. We cannot erase our own backgrounds, our histories, but, thanks to Photoshop, many a photo wrecked by a crummy background has been saved. Just thought I'd toss that in.
Last week I read that dragonflies and damselflies are the "raptors" of the insect world. That is they prey on other insects.
After having taken a number of photographs of these beautiful insects, I could not believe it. The dragonflies and damselflies flit around and have vibrant coloring ranging from brown to red to blue. I could not believe that they preyed upon other insects - until this morning.
I was near the Public Works department when I saw a beautiful swallow tail butterfly flying overhead. As I looked closer at the butterfly, I realized that it was not flying on its own power. There was a dragonfly carrying the butterfly - to breakfast, I assumed.
OBSERVATION #2: As we walk on the Riverwalk, other walkers will often stop to watch Sadie as she points at insects, and they will comment about how pretty she is. They will stay for several minutes as she gently moves toward the insect she has spotted. There are comments like, "She sure is pretty," "She is poetry in motion," "She is very graceful," or "She knows what she is doing."
This morning, as we were walking along in the grass, a new comment was heard. A man said, "That's a fine animal there."
To me that was a much stronger comment than the others since she was "fine" among ALL animals, not just dogs. It would be like someone looking at my Jeep Liberty and say, "That's a fine Jeep there." That doesn't usually happen. They just say, "That sure is cute." Sheesh!
That thought came to mind as we wandered past some flowers that had a very pleasant fragrance. It reminded me of my prom, for some reason. I thought that the sweet smell from the flowers must have been a perfume that I had whiffed that night, perhaps worn by my date.
As I continued thinking about the smell, I realized that the aroma reminded me of the prom because that "sweet smell" at the prom was ME. I was wearing Jade East, and, for some reason, those flowers smelled like that to me.
On our way back to the car, I saw two young girls (perhaps 6 and 8) running among the geese on the shore. They started across the path as Sadie and I approached. I noticed an adult woman (their mother, I assumed) and another little girl, perhaps 12 or so, sitting on a bench. The littlest girl came towards Sadie and asked if she was friendly. I drew Sadie towards me, held her close and told the girl that Sadie was friendly, and the little girl came over and petted Sadie. The second little girl came over as the mother watched from the bench along with the other little girl.
The two littlest girls said that they had 3 dogs at home. One of the dogs is named, "Hot Rod," and the middle girl said that she had come up with that name. Her mother corrected her and said that the girl's father had come up with the name. As I was leaving, the two had gotten into a fairly head on argument about who had named the dog "Hot Rod." They were cute little girls enjoying an outing in the woods with their mother, and Sadie and I had indirectly caused a rift between the mother and child. Oh, well.
Someone had stopped to watch Sadie stalk, jump and miss a small butterfly. The woman commented that she surely has the bird dog instinct even when she is using that instinct to pursue bugs.
In response, I quoted my wife, Elizabeth, and said, "Yep. My wife says that if it flies it dies." I then added. "However, whenever it flies, 99 times out of 100 it doesn't die because Sadie doesn't have a very good record of success."
This evening I took Sadie to Angler's Park for a walk around the large field. It was near dark, and I noticed little white ghost like creatures crawling around on some weeds in the marsh. The marsh was crawling with dozens of little white woolly worms. They glowed in the twilight of the evening.
(AUGUST 20, 2010) It was cool this morning compared to recent mornings, though the humidity did start to kick in as we completed our walk.
The sky was overcast with threats of rain.
Yesterday, I didn't take an umbrella, and a friend, who had carried his, asked, "Where's your umbrella? It's going to rain."
I said, as I looked at his umbrella, "Oh, ye of little faith. I have faith that it will not rain today."
Yesterday, I was wrong and he was right.
Today, as we passed each other again, he wasn't carrying an umbrella, and he said, "I know it is not going to rain today."
I asked, "How do you know that?"
He said, as he looked to heaven, "I just know." He was right again.
The Riverwalk looked as bleak as if it were the dead of winter instead of summer, except for the foliage all around. However, when there seemed to be little life in the woods, all of a sudden, a burst of colors would spring forth from the dark woods. Yellow flowers, pink flowers, blue flowers, red flowers, white flowers, butterflies, spiders, and other bright and colorful treats awaited me as I rounded every corner in this otherwise dark and dreary world.
One can become depressed and uninspired with such gloominess, but I looked for the little gifts of color and saw the life that was bursting forth on this day. Those bursts brought joy, and when there weren't the colors of nature, I looked at Sadie, and her face burst forth in pure radiance against the dark background.
I recognized how this morning was like the DEAD of winter with the darkness and dreariness, and then I started thinking about how at times of death of a friend, family member or acquaintance, there is the sadness that accompanies this loss. BUT, like on a dark day on the Riverwalk, there are those splashes of color on such days when those who are still living talk about the one who has died, and there is laughter and joy and radiance against the dark background of the day.
What lessons I have learned on the Riverwalk. I have accepted death in nature along the trail as I occasionally see dead birds or insects or other animals, and I have also enjoyed the rich beauty of that little portion of the natural world.
(OCTOBER 3, 2010) After walking this morning with Sadie, I went back to take a picture of this unusual spider web spun by the little guy in the center.
PARK IN THE DARK
(SEPTEMBER 13, 2010) Life in the park after dark is a very interesting and lively place.
CHICAGO BOTANIC GARDENS
(SEPTEMBER 5, 2010) A little over a week ago, I was at the Chicago Botanic Gardens. It was a photographer's delight, and I have been spending the past week looking over the pictures. Here are a few of them.
BACKGROUND CHECK ON THE RIVERWALK
(AUGUST 22, 2010) This morning on the Riverwalk, I was noticing that the backgrounds behind the main subject in a photograph are just as interesting as the photo itself. In fact, the background can make the photo stronger or weaken it
(AUGUST 21, 2010) Sometimes the walks on the Riverwalk provide many diverse encounters with nature and other humans that the mind is filled with many and varied obsrevations.
COLOR ON A CLOUDY DAY
(AUGUST 20, 2010) This was a cool, cloudy and dreary day on the Riverwalk. But the darkness gave way, at times, to bursts of color.
BIRDS FLYING IN THE RAIN
(AUGUST 19, 2010) Two rainy days in a row. Often it is only Sadie, the ducks and geese and me on the Riverwalk. Sometimes it is only Sadie and me.
IT'S ALL ABOUT SADIE
(AUGUST 17, 2010) "It's All About Sadie" is why I walk on the Rivewalk. People who have no idea what my name is will ride by on bikes or walk by and say, in passing, "Good Morning, Sadie."
INSECTS AT WORK
(AUGUST 16, 2010) "Busy as a Bee" is a comment cliche we often use. However, there is some truth in the busy-ness of bees (and butterflies and moths).
(AUGUST 14, 15, 2010) Here are some pictures taken on the Riverwalk over the past two days.
BIRDS IN THE MORNING
(AUGUST 12, 2010) During the summer time, it is sometimes difficult to see the birds because of the foliage. This morning was no different, but there were birds in the sky, on the wires, and in the darkness of the trees and ground cover.
DEATH AND PENANCE ON THE RIVERWALK
(AUGUST 11, 2010) This morning Sadie was successful in catching the beautiful butterfly above. I was, needless to say, upset, but Sadie was just doing what she does - hunt.
CATTAILS, INCHWORMS, AND WTH? (what the heck?)
(AUGUST 9, 2010) This morning at Angler's Park the morning was full of cattails, inchworks and WHAT THE HECK? We had a short walk, but marshy area was full of nature in all of its confusion.
NEAR PERFECT PICTURE
(AUGUST 7, 2010) Sadie and I were late getting to the Riverwalk this morning, so I didn't take my camera. However, a picture I took yesterday had no place in yesterday's entry, but it is worth sharing here.
EYES ON THE RIVER
(AUGUST 6, 2010) This morning on the Riverwalk, Sadie and I came EYE TO EYE with a number of the critters that live in the woods next to the river.
LICHENS AND MUSHROOMS
(AUGUST 5, 2010) This morning I felt like the muckrakers from John Bunyan's Pilgrim Progress who were always looking down into the muck and never looked up. I remembered some comments made by the naturalists at Grandfather Mountain about lichens and mushrooms on the forest floor. Here are some examples of each.
RAIN, WATER and the RIVER
(AUGUST 4, 2010) What started off as a rainy walk this morning ended with bright sunshine. However, the signs of a recent rain were evident throughout our walk with the water dripping from the plants, mushrooms in the dark, moister areas, and the new blooms of the flowering plants.
(AUGUST 3, 2010) Some people argue that nature is perfect in its shape and form. That is not always the case.
PRETTY, UGLY & PRETTY UGLY
(AUGUST 2, 2010) This was another cloudy but cool morning. The woods were full of pretty, ugly and some pretty ugly things.
FLOWERS ON A RAINY DAY
(AUGUST 1, 2010) It was a rainy day on the river this morning, but the bright flowers helped to make the walk more pleasant.
PREDATOR AND PREY
(JULY 31, 2010) Below the surface of the beauty of nature lies a sort of tension among the animals as they strive each day and night to survive. The Riverwalk harbors both predators and prey; sometimes, the predator becomes the prey and the prey becomes the predator.
BUTTERFLIES, BEES, BEARS AND BIRDS AT BOONE
(JULY 30, 2010) For the past three days we have been in the awe inspiring mountains of Boone, NC, where we stayed in the Lovill House Inn. The gardens there are beautiful, and the butterflies and bees were plentiful and graceful as they moved from flower to flower. Of course, the pictures of the bear, golden eagle, and slate-colored junco were taken at Grandfather Mountain, not in the lovely backyard of the Lovill House Inn.
THE BUG WITH TWO HEADS
(JULY 26, 2010) Here is a story about a walker named Jim Bob Billy Ray Numbhead and what he saw this morning on the Riverwalk.
BEAUTY IS TRUTH, TRUTH BEAUTY
JULY 25, 2010) This quote from John Keats' "Ode on a Grecian Urn" kept coming to mind today as I experienced the beauty of nature on the Riverwalk. The banks, the sky and the trees were teeming with beauty.
STRANGE SIGHTS SEEN
(JULY 23, 2010) We all seem to be born to "strange sights" daily, but we often don't notice them. This morning was a morning of a number of "strange sights seen."
FISH GOT TO SWIM, BIRDS GOT TO FLY
(JULY 22, 2010) There are natural places for all animals. Fish in the water, birds in the sky, and humans on the land. Yet, what happens when fish can't swim, or birds can't fly, or humans lose their land?
(JULY 21, 2010) Sometimes being lost means looking for a map to find the way; sometimes it means being somewhere except where expected to be, and sometimes it means trying to find your way until something changes that makes the world clearer.
(JULY 20, 2010) Butterflies procreating on a window screen, the offspring of heron on the river, and buds ready to burst forth in full bloom are signs of nature renewing itself
(JULY 19, 2010) Because of a doctor's appointment early this morning, I didn't take my camera on the walk. However, I did take with me thoughts of the previous day's photo opportunities, and decided to use three of the pictures I didn't post on Sunday. Here are some photos and thoughts on PERFECTION.
(JULY 18, 2010) I saw these Canada geese seeming to hang on as the water rushed over the dam? Also, some young ducks were swimming incredibly close to the edge. Where these birds in danger of going over?
BUTTERFLIES ARE FREE
(JULY 17, 2010) The mimosa tree, about 3/4 of a mile from Dan Daniel Park, was full of butterflies today. The beauty of the pink flowers and the black and yellow butterflies, backed by a blue sky, made for a wonderful morning treat.
OUT OF FOCUS/IN FOCUS
(JULY 16, 2010) This morning a beautiful young deer was walking along the river nearby. I shot several shots of the deer and then it went into the woods. OUT OF FOCUS - all shots were OUT OF FOCUS. Sometimes that happens.
VARIOUS SHADES OF WHITE
(JULY 15, 2010) After seeing a uniquely white sparrow, I started noticing many different shades of white on the Riverwalk. But, wait, can there actually be "shades" of white? Hmmmm.....
DUMBER THAN DIRT
(JULY 12, 2010) This damselfly was looking right at me. The picture wasn't taken this morning but about a week ago at Boyds Mills, Pennsylvania.
(JULY 11, 2010) Four Cormorants. No, the Dan River hasn't gotten wider. This was taken last week on the Chesapeake Bay as we were coming back to Reedville, VA, from Tangier Island. I haven't taken my camera back to the Riverwalk since returning because I am still editing pictures from the trip.
CHESAPEAKE BAY BIRDS
(JULY 10, 2010) Earlier in the week we went to Tangier Island in the Chesapeake Bay. I got some good shots of pelicans, osprey nesting and sandpipers among other water birds.
SO HOT I'M MOLTING
(JUNE 29, 2010) Two very red male cardinals in a tree. Upon closer look, one is bright red and sits proudly on the limb; the other seems to be wearing a mask and is not as bright as the other one. Guess which one is molting?
A TURTLE TAIL . . . er TALE
(JUNE 28, 2010) The thoughts of turtles were the last things on my mind this morning as I started my walk at 6:15. However, a story put a number of turtle thoughts into my mind
(JUNE 27, 2010) Each morning as I begin my walk on the Riverwalk, one question always arises: "Will there be anything new to see this morning on the Riverwalk?" I've never been disappointed, yet.
(JUNE 26, 2010) This morning we had a short walk on the Riverwalk, but I found a topic to write about - my favorite topic: SADIE.
(JUNE 25, 2010) An oasis is a place to renew oneself, to get refreshed, to rest. The Riverwalk provides such a place for animals as well as humans who enjoy the beauty if contains.
"COME ON STINKY!"
(JUNE 24, 2010) "Come on Stinky!" is a comment sometimes used by Elizabeth as she calls Sadie to get out of the car. That term of endearment doesn't apply to our dog today, especially, since Sadie spent yesterday at the spa and smells less like a dog and more like a flower.
(JUNE 23, 2010) PATIENCE. It is a quality that all living creatures either have or lose. Today on the Riverwalk, patience was evident everywhere I looked from my wife Elizabeth and Sadie patiently waiting for me as I took pictures of a spider waiting for something to find its way to its web to a fisherman waiting for something to find its way to the end of his hook.
(JUNE 22, 2010) "Just Hangin'" was a phrase I used when my mother asked, "What are you doing?" In the summertime I would be "just hangin'" with friends at the pool, the tennis courts, in the basement, in the backyard or just in the house. Summer was a time for "just hangin'." On the Riverwalk I saw many of the birds and insects "just hangin'" on this warm summer morning."
IF NATURE MADE THE RULES
(JUNE 21, 2010) What if nature posted signs for humans? Would we obey them? Those were two questions in my mind this morning on the Riverwalk.
FATHERS AND FATHERS TO BE ON THE RIVRWALK
(JUNE 20, 2010) This Father's Day on the Riverwalk, I discovered more than I had intended. Not only were there animal fathers there, there were some fathers to be found along the trail.
"DON'T TRADE YOUR DOG FOR AN ELEPHANT"
(JUNE 19, 2010) This morning we saw some lovely sights as we ventured to the Riverwalk at 6:15. The mother mallard and the six babies were out at Dan Daniel Park and the flora and fauna were plentiful. But, one comment made by a regular Riverwalk biker/walker stayed on my mind as we ventured forth. He said, "One bit of advice: Don't trade your dog for an elephant." What was the meaning of that? I pondered that question throughout my walk until I saw a water moccasin swimming close to the shore.
THE LITTLE GUYS
(JUNE 18, 2010) A story on ANTS prompted me to look more closely at THE LITTLE GUYS that I pass each day. Though I didn't pass up a photo of a bird, I spent most of my walk looking for small insects. Here are some.
BEST FRIENDS OF THE DUCKS AND GEESE
(JUNE 17, 2010) Each morning two ladies, carrying bags of bread crumbs, walk the Riverwalk stopping at key location where the ducks and geese gather. They they disperse their goodies to the waiting birds who gobble up the crumbs eagerly. They know how to make ducks and geese smile.
(JUNE 16, 2010) There are things we see that we have no idea what they are or where they came from. Those are WHATZITS. There are other WHATZITS, too. For example, when a person sees something like a heron in an odd shape, the first response is often, "WHATZIT!!" Also there are often moments when we forget the name of a person's pet and say, "WHATZIT'S name?" Today all three of these were part of my walk on the Riverwalk.
NOTHING RHYMES WITH ORANGE
(JUNE 15, 2010) Often as I walk on the Riverwalk, I am inspired to write poetry. Today the color "orange" came to mind, and I realized that there are no rhymes for "orange." However, that didn't stop the flow of poetry.
SHADES OF BLUE
(JUNE 14, 2010) Colors play an important part in nature. Often animals are the colors of their backgrounds; often the color stands out against the background. The color BLUE can be camaflaging or attention getting for some aspect of nature.
ELVIS SINGS HYMNS OF INSPIRATION
(JUNE 13, 2010) The music of Elvis Presley has been around for over a half a century. His music is enjoyed by many, but there is one biker who listens to Elvis everyday as she bikes. I enjoy the sounds of nature, but there are worse things to listen to besides Elvis.
A NEW GENERATION
(JUNE 12, 2010) A new generation of birds have taken up residence on the Riverwalk. This morning a new generation of people made itself known in both positive and negative ways. Is the new generation really any different from the present generation? Actually, no. Each generation tends to think there is no hope for the upcoming generation; I tend to disagree. Each generation holds both good and bad individuals. Each generation proves itself with its works.
(JUNE 11, 2010) Signs of all types were evident this morning on the Riverwalk. There were billboard signs giving information and direction (even graffitti on one of the walls indicating romance between Javis and Ebony) and signs of change in the season and change in disposition.
IF IT FLIES . . .
(JUNE 10, 2010) As we look to the skies and the water for the beauty of nature in birds along the Riverwalk, we often miss the smaller flying residents of this nature preserve. Bees, butterflies, dragonflies, and damselflies are just a few of the other winged creatures that can be seen on the trail.
(JUNE 9, 2010) Early this morning, on the river near Dan Daniel Park, Sadie and I watched as a great blue heron fished and caught 3 fish as we were standing there for 10 minutes. We also saw two fishermen at the dam - one was sittingon the shore while the other was out on the dam, a very dangerous practice. Where we usually see the best fishers on the river, there was nothing there by a few turtles. The cormorants must have selected somewhere else to go fishing this morning.
BIRDS JUST HANGIN' OUT
(JUNE 8, 2010) This morning on the Riverwalk the birds were plentiful with their songs AND their moments of dissonance. The heron fishing in the river near the dam, the family of white geese swimming near the bridge, the colorful and cute songbirds in the trees, and the angry mockingbirds attacking each other AND attacking the blackbirds that had strayed into their territory made for a colorful and active morning.
(JUNE 7, 2010) A baby mockingbird found itself alone in the brush. Walkers sometimes have a close brush with bees and other insects. Is the Riverwalk safe?
DAMSELS AND DRAGONS
(JUNE 6, 2010) What is the difference between a Damselfly and a Dragonfly? Are there also "maidenflies?" I learned some interesting stuff about these frail little insects I saw this morning on the Rivewalk.
(JUNE 5, 2010) This morning there were some aggressive moments we witnessed from the dragonflies to the red-winged blackbirds, and, even, aggressive BUTTERFLIES.
THE THREE RAVENSl
(JUNE 4, 2010) This morning on the Riverwalk one of the first things I saw were these three birds on a power line. I couldn't help but think about the English ballad called "The Three Ravens." The day was full of lovely scenes and pictures, and these three birds on a power line.
(JUNE 3, 2010) This morning on the Riverwalk we saw a single sock in the darkwoods as we began our journey. My wife, Elizabeth, asked, "How could someone lose a sock? Wouldn't the person notice that a sock was missing while walking out of the woods?" This brought to mind many other questions that go unanswered about things on the Riverwalk.
(JUNE 2, 2010) Today an encounter with a mockingbird made for an interesting morning on the Riverwalk,
(JUNE 1, 2010) Often we see expressions in animals that are similar to humans. Sadie sometimes swallows a moth she has been stalking, and the look on her face says, "Sheesh. That didn't taste very good." The picture above shows some interesting expressions on the faces of a goose family. There is the gosling looking up at the adult with respect,, the other goslings looking over the adult goose with an inquiring look, and the adult in the background showing stress. Within this one photograph is captured many emotions.
(MAY 31, 2010) This morning on the Riverwalk, things seemed to move in slow motion as Sadie and nature were SLOW STARTIN' in getting into the day.
MISSING AND FOUND
(MAY 30, 2010) Having arrived at the Riverwalk this morning about 15 minutes earlier than I usually do, I found that many of the birds were not where they usually are when I pass by. They were missing, but I found some other interesting sights along the Riverwalk this morning.
MEDLEY OF MUSIC
(MAY 29, 2010) The Riverwalk is full of the sounds of nature in addition to the wonderful sights of animals, insects, and plants. Why do those who go there try to drown out the sounds of nature with the sounds of recorded music?
(MAY 28, 2010) Sometimes the smallest object makes the loudest sounds.
(MAY 26, 2010) Reflections often give us a mirror image of ourselves but sometimes gives us a distorted view of the subject.
SHALL WE GATHER
(MAY 25, 2010) People gather each morning to walk or ride bikes together on the Riverwalk. In addition, there are many "gatherings" on the river each morning among the wildlife there. The waterfowl gather to communially dip in the river or fly off together to graze in the rich meadows or just sit on a log in the middle of the river - watching. There is another type of "gathering" that goes on as well. Look closely and watch the swallow and the bluebird and the robin and other songbirds gather nesting for their homes or food for themselves and their off-spring. Look closely and see the insects gathering whatever they need for sustenance - the small bug drinking from the rain water "gathering" on the leaf or the bee gathering nectar from the budding flower. All of this is the age old activity of gathering by the river.
(MAY 24, 2010) The beautiful great blue heron that lives on our river is a majestic bird that portrays a number of moods from grace to gothic and colors from blue to gray.
GRAY, GREEN AND GRUMPY
(MAY 23, 2010) This morning was a gray and overcast day. However, after last night's rain, the woods burst out in their glorious greenery, making the foliage almost shine. But, this wasn't enough to quell the mood of some of the wildlife in the woods - some were just plain GRUMPY.
(MAY 22, 2010) Each day on the Riverwalk there are windows we get to stare into as the plants and animals living there share a brief part of their daily lives with those who take the time to look. Here are birds, a groundhog, plants and insects that were sharing that brief moment of their lives on the beautiful May morning.
OUT THERE EVERY DAY
MAY 21, 2010) Sadie and I are not the only ones out on the Riverwalk EVERY DAY. Here are some others that make the Riverwalk colorful and enjoyable.
(MAY 20, 2010) This morning on the Riverwalk, the little things seemed to stand out the most.
PATTERNS OF MANKIND AND NATURE
(MAY 19, 2010) Along the Riverwalk this morning I saw many combination of natural and human made patterns. They often work together to create an interesting aesthetic display of man and nature's art.
GIVE ME YOUR TIRED, YOUR POOR, YOUR HUDDLED MASSES
(MAY 18, 2010) There were two trips to the Riverwalk today. This morning we saw the "huddled masses" of baby ducks and geese; this evening I encountered the tired and poor.
MOTHER NATURE GAVE TO ME . . .
(May 16, 2010) This was a very rainy morning on the Riverwalk. Sadie and I walked a couple of laps around the large field at Angler's Park.
TO EVERYTHING THERE IS A SEASON
(May 16, 2010) This Sunday morning we experienced life and death on the Riverwalk.
BEST SEAT ON THE RIVER
(May 15, 2010) This morning I started thinking about who or what has the best seat on the river. My thoughts included the fishermen who fish at the dam, the birds that sit high up in the tree, the water birds and turtles that sit on logs in the middle of the river, and the insects.
GRAY SKIES - - - NOTHING BUT GRAY SKIES
(May 14, 2010) It was a gray morning on the Riverwalk with very few elements of color to boost ones senses. This robin added a brief flash of color to the otherwise dreary morning.
UNUSUAL SIGHTS TO BEHOLD
May 13, 2010) Each morning or evening on the Riverwalk provides stange things to see. Today, however, my senses were in overdrive as I wandered upon unusual events taking place on the trail.
(May 12, 2010) This morning the colorful little oriole made his appearance known in the trees along the river.
BLUEBIRD IN THE DARK
(May 11, 2010) This bluebird, contrasted with darkness of the very early morning, inspired a villanelle.
(May 10, 2010) Monday was unseasonably chilly on the Riverwalk and fog had set in on the river. At 6:30 in the morning, the fog created an eerie atmosphere.
(May 9, 2010) Blue skies, blue water and blue birds on this Mothers Day morning.
(May 8, 2010) This morning on the way back to the car, I saw this osprey flying over the field near Dan Daniel Park. What an amazing sight! The raptor swooped down and picked up something among the Canada geese gathered in the field. At first I thought it might have been a small animal, but learned differently when I went home to look at the pictures.
MORE THAN BIRDS
(May 7, 2010) Birds are everywhere on the Riverwalk, but so are other critters. This is the time of year for butterflies, turtles that sun themselves on the logs in the river, and unidentifiable bugs. Critters everywhere.
OUR FEATHERED FRIENDS
(May 6, 2010) Birds in the sky; birds in the water; birds on top of birdhouses. The Riverwalk is full of birds of every shape and form.
LOOK VERRRRRY CLOSELY
(May 5, 2010) The Riverwalk is alive with beautiful and melodious songbirds as well as some insects I saw this morning on the trail. The cedar waxwing and the hidden barn swallow added to the trees and the sand while the lady bug hanging out on a leaf, a mosquito resting on a tree and a fly waiting on a fence post proved too tempting to not look at more closely.
(May 4, 2010) The baby swallows and the baby geese enjoyed their food this morning on the Riverwalk.
NOT MUCH TO SEE . . .
(May 3, 2010) Not Much to See? After two walks today at Angler's Park, I came home thinking I didn't see much. After looking through the pictures taken, I realized that I had ONLY seen mallards, a killdeer and a red-winged blackbird. ONLY? Actually, not a bad day.
LOOKING AFTER OFF-SPRING
(May 2, 2010) These four goslings had found their way to the river and were drinking as the adult goose looked on. These four babies were surrounded by at least 10 adults at all time. Another single gosling was surrounded by five adults. It does take a gaggle to raise a family. (Check out additional photos taken this weekend by clicking the large picture)
(APRIL 30, 2010) This frog was near the marshy area on the Riverwalk where a few weeks ago all we could hear was the chirping of the frogs. This guy had wandered onto the path. I kept Sadie at a distance - for the safety of Sadie.
BLACK and WHITE BIRDS
(APRIL 29, 2010) This was a simply perfect morning on the Riverwalk. Though the weather was cool, there were no compliants from any of the walkers. The birds were out, and the ones that caught my eye were the cormorant scratching himself on the log with turtles, the two swallows on an electrical pole across from their bird house, and the Canada goose landing in the river near the dam at Dan Daniel Park. There were all shades of black and white.
(APRIL 28, 2010) Today on the Riverwalk we saw a large variety of birds in nature. The brown-headed cowbirds were trying to balance on a wire; the robin sat patiently as I clicked his picture over and over, the cormorant flying over the water made an attractive image for such an ugly bird, the purple finch sat on a rock, the mockingbird was where it usually is, and the two swallows rested peacefully on the wiring of the park.
(APRIL 27, 2010) Sunday a walker said that he had seen some baby geese on the river. I looked and looked, but didn't see any on that day. Today another walker said, "There are babies around the corner." She was right. Five little goslings swimming with the two adults. These babies will grow rapidly and be flying with the larger ones in a few months. It's good to watch how nature replenishes itself on the river.
(APRIL 26, 2010) This catbird was sitting pretty this sunny morning as we passed it on the Riverwalk trail.
APRIL 24, 2010) RENEWAL. Everywhere I looked today on the Riverwalk there was renewal. The buds of trees and flowers were coming out, a man I passed on the trail said that he had seen some baby geese and ducks, and a small turtle crossed our path at Dan Daniel Park. Refreshing Renewal.
(APRIL 23, 2010) The very colorful red-winged blackbirds, at Angler's Park, continue to bring forth their ringtone mating call. This evening there were 3-4 males putting forth their calls.
(APRIL 22, 2010) EARTH DAY 2010 gave me the opportunity to visit the Riverwalk in the morning to see the sun come up over Dan Daniel Park and in the evening with the sun going down at Angler's Park. The two pictures on the right, one of a sparrow and the other of the mallard pair, were taken in the morning near Dan Daniel Park; the picture of the red-winged blackbird was taken in Angler's Park that evening.
TWO MALLARDS AND A SOJOURNER
(APRIL 20, 2010) Two mallards were on the shoreline when a sojourner single mallard starting harassing them. Finally the male mallard of the pair charged the sojourner, and the harassing duck flew off.
BLACK AND WHITE WITH A TOUCH OF COLOR
(APRIL 21, 2010) Today was a rainy day on the Riverwalk, The robins looked like blackbirds; the mockingbirds looked like blackbirds, even Sadie looked like . . . a very wet dog when we finished the 3 miles.
SANDPIPERS AT ANGLER'S PARK
(APRIL 19, 2010) Flying through as they migrate north, the sandpiper stops at Angler's Park.
(APRIL 18, 2010) During this time of year there are two things that we seem to get too much of - weeds and poetry. The weeds pictured here were taken at the park this morning; the poem (doggeral) was written this afternoon.
DUCKS AND GEESE
(APRIL 16, 17, 2010) Ducks and geese. They can't be missed if you walk along the Riverwalk. There are mallard ducks, mergansers, Canada geese and other geese of many shapes, colors and sizes.
(APRIL 14, 15, 2010) There have been many changes on the Riverwalk over the past two days. The search for the young 5 year old who fell out of the boat near Dan Daniel Dam, the small flowers that were once there are now gone because of the cooler weather, and the river has gone down because of the drier weather. However, amongst these changes there are some constants: the same people we see every morning on our walk are there, the river continues to provide a home for wildlife, and robins can be spotted along the trail.
(APRIL 13, 2010) Yesterday while at Angler's Park I took these two pictures. The one on the right was identified as a red-winged blackbird; the birds on the left I labeled "unidentified." This evening I checked out the birds and discovered that the brown birds are the females that the male (right) is trying to woo with his mating call.
(APRIL 12, 2010) At the height of mating seasons, many of the birds on the Riverwalk are getting testy. The red-winged blackbird (left) stakes out his territory at Angler's Park, the mallard drake (right) swooped in on a mallard couple and forced them to fly away, and the innocent looking mockingbird (center) has often swooped down on Sadie as we get near the mockingbird's nest.
(APRIL 11, 2010) The morning on the Riverwalk started out foggy, but as the sun broke through, the morning brought out robins and bluebirds and swallows. The swallows were fluttering around near the bluebird houses about a mile beyond Dan Daniel Park. They are acrobatic in their swoops and dives.
(APRIL 10, 2010) This Saturday morning the colors of nature were plentiful, but there was plenty of color on the fields at Angler's Park. An international rugby tournament was being played on 4 large fields. The paper said over 700 people were there.
(APRIL 9, 2010) Each morning the Riverwalk never proves to be mundane. This squirrel was eating breakfast on a picnic table in Dan Daniel Park.
(APRIL 7, 2010) The geese and the ducks seem to have already nested, but the swallows and bluebirds are seen house hunting on the Riverwalk. This swallow is taking up residence in a house that, last year, was the home for bluebirds.
(APRIL 6, 2010) Often Sadie will pull or get distracted and walk over the very subject I am planning to photograph. This results in missed photos. This morning I saw the moon with a cardinal placed at an interesting spot in front of it. Not a missed shot this time.
(APRIL 5, 2010) The Canada Geese at Sunrise and the Mallard Pair at sun-up make the skies above the Riverwalk colorful.
(APRIL 4, 2010) This osprey brings in some nesting materials to build a nest on an tower across from the Riverwalk.
MY LITTLE CHICKADEE!
(APRIL 3, 2010) The foliage is making it a little more difficult to see the birds in the trees, but this little chickadee was flittering around in the trees along with some of his friends.
SO MUCH NATURE!!!
(APRIL 2, 2010) It seems that the world is full of wonderful nature now that Spring is here. Flowers blooming, birds singing, and bugs flying about. All of these pictures were taken this morning on the Riverwalk
BIRDS ON A WIRE
(APRIL 1, 2010) The swallows (left) and bluebirds (right) are gathering to eventually select a bird house on the Riverwalk to populate the walk with more of these beautiful birds.
(MARCH 31, 2010) Sadie gets the keyboard again.
(MARCH 30, 2010) With every heavy rain the river presents some interesting, manmade things that have washed down from up-river.
FEMALE MALLARD IN THE MARSH
(MARCH 29, 2010) This mallard was standing silently in the marsh as the frogs made an almost deafening noise with their spring mating ritual.
RAINY DAYS AND SUNDAYS
(MARCH 28, 2010) These violets, a few ducks and geese, a couple of herons, a handful of walkers and Sadie and I were the only ones venturing forth on the Riverwalk this rainy day.
(MARCH 27, 2010) These vultures flew over for a while and then landed on this knoll. Ugly, but very interesting birds.
(MARCH 26, 2010) This male cardinal was enjoying the beautiful morning weather as he sat on the tree with the blue sky in the background.
(MARCH 25, 2010) The Canada goose has found a place among the debris on top of a stump, and the white goose has made a nest on the flood debris collected at the bridge that takes walkers to the train station.
SHE'S HAD ENOUGH
(March 24, 2010) This female mallad has been harrassed by two males and finally decided to leave them licking their egotistical wounds.
HERE'S LOOKING AT YOU
(MARCH 24, 2010) Two geese look cautiously over the fence railing as we pass by.
(MARCH 23, 2010) The flowers and trees are budding, the birds are mating, but the temperature this morning was in the low 40s.
(MARCH 21, 2010) Shoes show up on the Riverwalk often. Where do they come from?
Female Red-Bellied Woodpecker
(March 20, 2010) This red-bellied woodpecker was sitting in the top of a tree while I heard the tapping of another woodpecker in a neighboring tree.
KIlldeer Wading in the Marsh
(March 19, 2010) This killdeer, along with its mate, was wading the marshy area of Angler's Park. The birds look like small song birds on stilts.
Goose with Injured Foot
(MARCH 18, 2010) This gray, domestic goose hobbled across the path towards the river as we approached the bridge going over to the train station.
(March 17, 2010) Here is a red-winged blackbird singing in its strange "ring tone" voice.
Mallard Couple in Marsh
(March 15, 2010)These two mallards had settled down for the evening in this marsh area at Angler's Park.
(March 14, 2010) This white-throated sparrow is one of many different bird types along the Riverwalk. This bird makes a joyous noise each morning.
Goose Running for Bread
(March 13, 2010) This white goose was running to get the bread being dispersed by a couple of ladies on the Riverwalk.
Big Headed Mallard
(March 14, 2010) This Mallard was walking away from us and the distortion made him look like a bubble head duck.