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


Thursday, June 3, 2010


(JUNE 3, 2010) This morning on the Riverwalk, we saw a single sock in the dark woods 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 often go unanswered about things on the Riverwalk.

Why don't I see as many blue jays on the Riverwalk as I see bluebirds? Before I started walking on the Riverwalk, regularly, I saw blue jays, 5:1 more often than bluebirds. Now I see them on occasion, and they seem to be somewhat skittish. This morning I saw a blue jay in the dark foliage, but that was the first one I have seen in weeks.

Do turtles swimming beneath the water near the Canada geese, ever bite off feet of the geese? The reason I ask this is because I was told, once, when I saw a one legged goose, that the water birds often lose their legs to turtles swimming underwater thinking that the webbed feet are food. I don't know if that is true or not, and this morning there were several turtles just under the water as a number of Canada geese were hanging out at the water's edge near the bridge going to the train station. The theme songs to "Jaws" started entering my head.

Why do the beautiful cedar waxwings not show up until the spring? Where do they go? Why can't their beautiful colors grace the woods in snow? Elizabeth commented that these birds don't look like they belong around here but in a more tropical setting. Perhaps that is where they go in the winter where they are more fitting to the surrounding green world rather than the white world we have here during the winter.

Why do some female mallards actually stand out more so than the male mallards? There is a couple with a whitish-brown female who can be seen much sooner than the male with his green head and attractive feathers. He blends in with the foliage, and she stands out like a . . . well, . . . setting duck.

Why are catbirds called "catbirds?" I have seen these little guys on the Riverwalk often, and I'm not sure I've actually heard a meow or any other sounds of cats. They do seem to be peaceful once I have seen them, but I've never heard one purr.

Where do the inch worms come from and how do they get their web from the ground to the tree?
These guys hang around in the woods and make an interesting sight. They seem to always be climbing up and dangling, precariously, on their micro-thin single strand of web.

How do mushrooms decide where to grow? They seem to choose a place, haphazardly, near trees. Some we saw this morning were very small, and there were a couple of long round table like mushrooms. They seem to need moisture and shade, but what is the combination that causes them to burst forth one day where there were no mushrooms the day before?

And, finally. Where was the wood duck over the past couple of months? This little guy has been around for several years, all alone, and hanging out with the mallards. He was MIA for the past two months, and then, this past Tuesday, showed up again. I enjoy watching him strut around with his red eyes and the comb that moves up and down when he runs. I'm glad he's back; he adds diversity to the duck world.

Back again to the sock. Is someone missing a sock? I know that when I start pairing socks after doing laundry, one is almost always missing. I blame the dryer for eating it, but often I can retrieve it when I look on the floor in front of the dryer or inside the dryer where it has been lodged. Of course, sometimes it sticks to other clothing and makes its appearance sometime during the week when that piece of clothing is worn. But, did someone do the laundry today and find only one sock not knowing that the other one is in the dark woods near Dan Daniel Park? It's something to think about and question.

There are many questions in our lives where we will never know the answer. The questions raised above can, mostly, be answered with a little more education. That is an education I get each day as I leave the Riverwalk with not only interesting images but also a slew of questions. These questions prompt me to find answers, and I learn more and more each day.

It was another good day on the Riverwalk.

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