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, May 15, 2010


(MAY 15, 2010) What a perfect morning it was on the Riverwalk. There were more people enjoying this day earlier than usual as Sadie and I got out there at 6:45. The evening storm had passed, and the air was fresh with the smell of honeysuckle.

I saw a bluebird pair sitting on the yellow "foul ball marker" at the ball field. They seemed to be scanning the area and taking a respite from the grueling task of eggs and babies, being that it is that time of year. At the dam I saw a tree swallow sitting on top of his house with the water rushing over the dam in the background, enjoying the coolness of the morning. A robin was in the tree, surrounded by new green foliage, chirping its song, and on down the trail I saw the cormorants sitting on a tree in the river while a group of turtles joined them. All seemed to be refreshed by the smells, the coolness and the sights of this spring morning.

Last week I saw a group of four women who regularly walk the trail. They had parked themselves on a bench that fit them perfectly. The bench was shaded from the morning sun by a tree, and they had a perfect view of the river where the cormorants hang out. As I passed with Sadie, I commented, "You have the best seat on the river." They didn't deny that and responded about the pleasantness of the morning. This morning, as I walked the trail with Sadie, I started thinking about that conversation. Who (or what) really has the best seat on the Riverwalk.

Looking back at the birds I had seen on the early part of my walk this morning, it is hard to say. The bluebirds were 30 feet up on the yellow perch where they could see a good part of Dan Daniel Park, PLUS, they were enjoying the solitude away from their eggs and babies. The swallow had a wonderful view of the river and could watch other birds flying over, swimming in the river, or just walking on the shoreline. They also had top seats to watch the fishermen as they cast their lines into the river and haul out an occasional fish. The robin was enclosed in the lush greenness of the foliage, but seemed to enjoy his own song and could see, from behind his green curtain, the happenings along the path as individuals walked by without seeing him but enjoying his melodious song. Finally, the cormorants sitting on the tree in the river seem to always be content. They watch the river pass underneath them; they dive in for a meal in the shallow river, and they watch the other water fowl swimming around them or flying over head.

Who has the best seat on the river? Well, maybe none of the birds. Sadie has a tendency to chase bugs on the Riverwalk. I often follow the insects as they land in safer locations than on the ground where a "bug dog" can easily stalk and capture the delicate creatures. This morning Sadie was intrigued by several moths that made their escape to some green foliage just above Sadie's head. There they sat and watched - whatever they watched, I don't know, but they knew that for at least that short period of time they had looked death in the eyes and were now enjoying life. There was another bug, perhaps a mosquito, that landed on a green leaf. Sadie had not seen this insect, so the creature had not escaped death like the moths. Yet the bug sat there and enjoyed the morning.

Who has the best seat on the river? On the way back to the car as we approached the dark woods, Sadie spotted a squirrel which always sets her off into her hunting dog stance. The paw was lifted, the tail went up, and Sadie was ready to pounce upon the squirrel. As she approached the squirrel, it ran up a tree, which is what all the squirrels Sadie chases do. From its safety perch, the squirrel looked down on us. It was safe, it was at a point where it could see a large portion of the river and the park, and it was content. It sat there for a while looking at us, and I thought, that must be the best seat on the river. But maybe, not.

As we ventured on, there were several fishermen fishing near the dam. Some were busily baiting their hooks and throwing their lines into the river. But one gentleman had his line in the river and was sitting there just waiting. There was a sense of peace there as I watched the fisherman just sit and wait. Was this the best seat on the river?

I came to realize that the best seat on the river may belong to each one who has the opportunity to get out into nature. The ladies on the park bench, the birds in the trees, the turtles on the river, the bugs on the leaves, the squirrels in the trees, and the fisherman with his line in the river all have the best seat on the river. As a sojourner on the river, I am fortunate to have this daily portrait as part of my life. I too, have the best seat on the river, and it is a beautiful view.

It was another good day on the Riverwalk.

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