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


Sunday, June 27, 2010



(JUNE 27, 2010) Each morning when I go to the Riverwalk with my camera, a thought always goes through my mind. "Is this the morning when I won't see anything to take a picture of? Will there be nothing new?" I've taken pictures of geese, ducks, osprey, eagles, cormorants, mergansers, many varieties of lovely flowers/plants, and some very curious insects. I've also taken some pretty good landscapes and even shots of people. So, what else is left? Hmmmmm.... What's New to take a picture of?

I will see something early on my walk and take a picture of it. It may be a weed or an unusual tree branch formation, but, I say to myself, I have at least one or two pictures. I NEVER even get back to those pictures because there is ALWAYS something new I haven't seen before. In the several years I've walked the Riverwalk, I have yet to be disappointed in seeing something new. What I see may be something others have seen, but for me, it is something I haven't seen - it is WHAT'S NEW to me.

Early in the walk this morning, I saw two blackbirds (grackles) standing on a street light. Since it was right at dusk, the light was still on making an interesting picture with the silhouettes of the blackbirds and the brightness of the lamp. I then came upon the white and gray geese with their goslings enjoying the morning coolness. They, as always, started their march to the river when they saw Sadie coming. We made a wide circle, so they didn't have to go all the way to the water.

Up near the Martin Luther King Bridge, I saw a bird I hadn't seen before. This was something new to me. I snapped away, and I think it is a yellow warbler. Someone on the trail said he thought that, with my description, it was a female scarlet tangier which he has seen around. I checked my bird book upon coming home, and think the yellow warbler is what I have (pictured above).

Beyond the bridge near the White Mill I noticed some activity on a tower above the covered walkway that goes across the river. On top of the tower was an osprey, having just landed in a nest built there. Shortly afterwards another osprey came and landed in the nest with some new sticks for the nest. They are awesome birds of prey and look majestic as they fly and land.

Moving from "majestic" to "dainty," I'm not sure how long the damselflies will be about, but they seemed plentiful this morning. I saw some very small blue and brown and black damselflies resting on the leaves along the trail. Nearly every bush we came to from the Union Street Bridge to the bridge going over to the train station held several of these lovely creatures flying around and landing gently. The bees were plentiful in the flowers with some individual flowers containing more than one bee. I have noticed that some of the bees will circle their bodies around the bottom of the flower and just lie there for minutes.

There was also a beautiful blue flower (shown above) that I hadn't seen before. It was very small but attractive with the yellow and green surroundings.

On the way back, I noticed that the young swallows were gathering again in the tree near the Fall Creek bridge that is beside the Public Works Department. A few days ago I observed them practicing taking off and landing in the same trees, and I had supposed that they had mastered that and had gone on to other training in learning to be swallows. They were sitting there more securely than they had when I last saw them. They seemed to have learned their lesson well.

So, WHAT'S NEW? Well, this morning I got an interesting photo of two damselflies resting, I got some pictures of geese and ducks (the mother mallard and her six ducklings I had been seeing during the last few weeks - the ducklings are almost as large as their mother), I got a picture of a lovely blue flower, a couple of ospreys building their nest, a young swallow sitting securely in a tree, a yellow warbler, some moths and butterflies, a couple of blackbirds on a lamp post, and bees resting in flowers.

It was another good morning on the Riverwalk.

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