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
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 dhoffman@averett.edu


Tuesday, May 25, 2010


(MAY 25, 2010) "Shall we gather . . ." is a phrase that many families use each year about this time as Memorial Day approaches. It becomes a time for cookouts and reunions for many families. I can recall such events when I was growing up - the family would get together at a state park, have tables of food and the great outdoors for the children to play in. I assume large families still do this - my family has been spread at a distance, and such gatherings are no longer possible.

However, every morning on the Riverwalk, GATHERINGS take place. There are walking partners who meet at a certain time to walk with each other, there are cyclists who meet at a certain time to ride on the Riverwalk, and there are runners who meet at a certain time to jog or run together in the coolness of the morning. Sadie and I GATHER each morning as she, most of the time, eagerly awaits the time when we can start our morning journey on the Riverwalk

There are other GATHERINGS along and on the river. The Canada geese, often in numbers approaching 100, gather on the river above the Dan Daniel Park dam, and coordinate flight plans as they move around, honking out commands. Upon a certain signal, a small group will take off to the sky, often just circling around and landing in one of the meadows next to the river where they stay and graze.

One of the first gatherings I noticed when I started walking on the Riverwalk, a number of years ago, was the gathering of the large black gothic looking birds sitting in the middle of the river on a large log (often, they are accompanied by turtles or other water fowl). These birds roost in the trees across the river at night, and then some take up the choice spots on this large log in the river. A month doesn't go by that someone asks me what these "vultures" are, and I say, "they are not vultures. They are cormorants. They are fish eaters . . ." and then I continue to tell the story of the birds.

Near the public works department there is the GATHERING of the white geese (often accompanied by a Canada goose or two) and their goslings. They gather on the hillside, and eventually make their way to the river. This move is, unfortunately, sometimes motivated by the sight of a 45 pound English setter on the end of the leash I am holding. I got an e-mail today from a friend who said that she and her husband fed the geese on Sunday and found the geese "very aggressive." That they are, and they are especially testy when they have young around. Even my bird dog, Sadie, cowers when they come at her.

I have also noticed the female mallard and her 7 ducklings GATHERING down by the river near Dan Daniel Park and then later, on the return trip, up near the train trellis where they gather and then walk down to the river. Sometimes they are collected into a large fluff ball as they sleep right next to the water.

There is another type of "GATHERING" going on by the river each morning. The swallows and the bluebirds can be seen flying in and out of their bird houses as they GATHER bedding and food for their babies. Looking closely this morning, I saw a small bug drinking the "gatherings" of water on a large leaf while a bumblebee was "gathering" nectar from a nearby flower.

And I, as I walked along the river, was GATHERING thoughts - thoughts that would go into this essay and thoughts that would bring a smile on my face as I thought about some of the things I saw. For example, the young ducklings were running swiftly toward the water, and a couple of clumsy ones stumbled over their little webbed feet. As the white geese where "herding" their youngster from the hillside toward the river, one was straggling and the adult had to nudge it on with her beak.

I experienced some human GATHERINGS as well. The gentleman who shared one of my blogs this past Sunday with some members of his church, the bike rider who stopped to talk about having had to go to the funeral of his ex-wife and mentioning that she was cremated and would have her ashes placed somewhere on the Blue Ridge Parkway, and the couple at Angler's Park who were enjoying the evening but came over and started to talk about my favorite subject - the Riverwalk, are some of the small impromptu GATHERINGS I encountered today on my walk with Sadie.

It was another good day on the Riverwalk.

No comments:

Post a Comment