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


Saturday, April 17, 2010


(April 17,, 2010) My heart never ceases to skip a beat when I see a flock of Canada geese flying over as I walk along the Riverwalk. Sometimes I have counted as many a 25 in a V-shaped flock as they fly overhead and often land right before my eyes in a field or on the river. Though on the ground they are just waddling geese, in the air they become beauty in motion.

A few weeks ago, my wife (Elizabeth), Sadie and I were walking one morning and I, as usual, was a few yards behind them stopping to take pictures. On the way back I stopped to take one last picture, and Elizabeth asked, "What are you photographing?" I said, "These geese over here." She said, "You have a million pictures of geese." I said, "Well, actually, only 500,000 pictures of geese, but each one is different with lighting and subject."

When Sadie was less than a year old, Elizabeth and I were walking on the Riverwalk with Sadie. We approached some Canada geese on the trail, and they began honking loudly as they do when they see Sadie. They began their parade down to the river, as they usually do, except for one. This goose came right at us charging and honking, and Sadie, a born and bred bird dog, cowered behind Elizabeth. We had come between the goose and her new gosling which had wandered on to the other side of a fence. That goose, at the time, was larger than Sadie, and Sadie was going to have nothing to do with this monster coming at her honking.

Sadie is now a 4 year old, the Riverwalk is something we walk on at least once a day, and she now knows how to deal with ducks and geese. This evening we went for a short walk (a couple of miles) at Angler's Park, and as we walked near the marsh, I noticed a mallard pair not 15 yards from Sadie; Sadie noticed the pair, also. Sadie stopped, pointed, and gently lifted her front paw as she began her approach to them. Of course, she never had a chance since she was on a leash. However, I allowed her to approach the ducks, and when got within 10 feet of them, they took off, landed in the ball field, and Sadie was jumping and pulling to get at them. Most of the time on the Riverwalk near Dan Daniel Park, she ignores the ducks; however, this evening she decided to flush these two out of the marsh.

At certain times of the year I see nearly a hundred Canada geese on the river in the mornings as they group to fly off to some feeding place for the day. After they are gathered, they begin their honking sound, and then, when the group is in place, they take off in nearly a V-shape from the river. In the fall, I watch them return right at sunset. They come in by the dozens and land in the river.

One evening, I headed to the Riverwalk, about an hour before dark; I always take Sadie with me, and I told my wife that I was going down to "watch the show." She asked, "What is that?" I told her that within 15 minutes the cormorants would be leaving the river and circling around overhead and perch on the trees across the river. I have seen as many as 60 of them on the river at one time, and it is amazing to see them walk on the water as they take off and then circle around like gothic birds over head and land, gently, on the trees across the river. After watching this part of the show, I move up the river to near the train trestle and wait for the Canada geese to fly in. If the sunset is right, there is a spectacular image of the geese landing in the red or golden sunset.

DUCKS AND GEESE. Amazing creatures.

Sadie still shies away from geese, but it was another amazing day on the Riverwalk.

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