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


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Kids and Boulders, Bees and Toads - Bees and Toads

(JULY 13, 2010) Sing Along:

(To the tune of the children's song: "Head and Shoulders, Knees and Toes")

Kids and boulders, bees and toads (bees and toads)
Kids and boulders, bees and toads (bees and toads)
Kids and boulders, boulders bees and toads
Kids and boulders, bees and toads (bees and toads).

That song kept coming into my mind as I started thinking about what I had seen today on the Riverwalk. Some events just inspire a direction of a piece of writing. There were multiple events today on the Riverwalk stood out as I looked back at my photos taken this morning.


The sounds of young voices were heard as we approached the bridge going to the train station. Sadie's ears perked up as we noticed a group of no more than ten children (aged, about, 11-12) starting a walk that was being chaporoned by a woman who appeared less than twice the children's age. The lady had them stop as Sadie and I approached an intersection on the trail, and we walked ahead of them. I heard their excited voices as they saw the ducks and geese.

These birds were being fed by a couple dispensing foot for the gluttonous water fowl. The children stayed a distance from the birds and walked on. The lady pointed out some pretty flowers and then they came to the small bridge near the Public Works Department. The stopped, briefly, to look over the railings, but saw nothing and continued on. Approaching the restroom, the adult asked the young girls if they needed to stop - the 4-5 of them unanimously said, "No." The adult said, "Well I guess we don't need to stop," afterwhich came a deeper voice from one of the young men. "I need to go," he said hesitantly. After that Sadie and I were too far ahead to hear anything else from this young, excited group who were enjoying the morning by the river.


The morning was cooler when we began our walk than when we finished it. I had stopped at the water fountain along the way and given Sadie some fresh water to drink. She seemed to be OK, but she never passes up an opportunity to drink from "nature's abundance" - that is, anything that "puddles" after a rain.

One of her favorite drinking spots along the Riverwalk is out of one of several large boulders that form a barrier between the Riverwalk and the river. As it turns out, there are some concave indentations in the tops of these massive rocks, and Sadie finds the water there - TASTY. Of course, see seems to find the muddy water in a puddle on the gound to be just as tasty.

And, speaking of water - last night I took Sadie to Angler's Park - in the rain. I carried an umbrella and Sadie got wet. She loves running in the rain once she is out there, but later in the evening, it was raining, Sadie wanted to go out, I took her to the porch on a long leash - she saw the rain and did an immediate U-turn. She did go out later after the rain had stopped.

When we returned from Angler's Park, I rubbed Sadie down with a towel (which she loves) and she looked at me with an expression that say: "I wouldn't take a dog out on a day like this."


I spent much time this morning photographing bees. They were plentiful around the flowers blooming along the Riverwalk, and I found them very interesting.

Some bees flit from one flower to another, spending very little time on individual flowers. Others just curl up inside the flower and seem to be either sleeping or drugged. On several instances two bees headed to the same flower and seemed to bump into each other. More than once I saw a ladybug and a bee sharing a single flower. There seemed to be peaceful coexistence between the two as each did what it did and didn't bother the other.

Sadie will point and jump at insects, but she knows not to tangle with bees. She was never stung, to my knowledge, but each time I see her pointing at one in the grass, I will pull on her leash and say, "NO! You don't want to tangle with that bee, Sadie," and she will back off.


Bees are not the only critters Sadie needs to say away from. A couple of days ago I wrote about Sadie putting a frog in her mouth and then regretting it after spitting it out and having her mouth foam for 10-15 minutes.

At Angler's Park this evening, the rain brought out the toads. As we walked the asphalt trail, there were little peepers running in front of us. Sadie is not one to ignore anything moving - especially hopping - so she started lunging at the small toads. The little guys were less than a half inch from tip to tale.

I held the leash tightly so she could get to them. The marsh was singing with frogs on this rainy evening, the path was full of small frogs, and Sadie was frustrated. I'm not sure, but I think she would have regretted swallowing one of those small creatures.

It was a very good day on the Riverwalk.

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