White Deer Twins on the Riverwalk

White Deer Twins on the Riverwalk
These rare white deer twins were born this summer and have found a safe home at Dan Daniel Park and on the Riverwalk
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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 dhoffman@averett.edu


Tuesday, April 13, 2010


This morning I didn't make it to the Riverwalk, but Elizabeth took Sadie. Some of the paths were closed off for rescue of the boy who had fallen into the river. Tonight, I see that the newspaper is referring to the work going on at the dam as a "recovery." My heart goes out to the boy's family.

Discovery - this is what happens every day I go to the Riverwalk with Sadie. I may see some of the same birds, but often they are in various temperaments from complacent to aggressive. The mallards I spoke of yesterday is a good example of how the temperament of the birds change - a few days earlier there were three mallards swimming together (two males and one female). And then, the one mallard attacks the female and then the male, and the pair fly away leaving the single mallard doing his little "victory dance." Discovery - either a mating ritual or a territorial dispute - likely the later.

Discovery - Yesterday afternoon I took my second walk with Sadie, but instead of starting at Dan Daniel Park, I decided to go to Angler's Park. I saw the black and red red-winged blackbirds in all their glory, sitting on the top of trees making their rrrrrnnngggg sound. I never thought that those I had spotted there were all males until I happened upon a shot I took of some "unidentified" birds in a tree nearby. This morning I looked in a bird book and thought I had spotted some sparrows, but I recalled that the birds in the pictures were larger than any sparrows I had ever seen. This evening I looked in the book again - I checked information about the red-winged blackbirds and noticed that the female are not as ornate as the males - in fact the females are rather drab looking. The picture I had taken was of two females to whom the male was calling. rrrrrrrnnnnnnggggg - a bell went off in my head, and I learned the difference between the males and females of this particular species.

I got a short sojourn at Angler's Park this evening with Sadie. I talked with a friend, and Sadie played tag with his small dog (both on leashes). I took twenty pictures - some bad shots of red-winged blackbirds, some very dark mallards on the marsh, and Louie, the small white dog of my friend. Louie, the dog, is still discovering things - he is learning to socialize. He is a rescue dog that never had much to socialize about (he may have been an abused dog). But, Louie has learned to play with Sadie, and Sadie enjoys the small dog's company.

Discovery is about a small dog learning that it is much more fun to play with some other dog than to be aggressive; Discovery is a mallard coming back to his territory and finding two other mallards there. Discovery is being able to finally identify a picture of a bird, and when the discovery comes saying to myself, "The female red-winged blackbird which is much duller than her male counterpart - duhhh). Discovery is realizing that your child is missing and may have drowned, and coming to grips with the fact that your life is going to be very different from now on.

Discovery is what I do everyday when I go to the Riverwalk. It was a another great evening on the Riverwalk.

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