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


Monday, August 16, 2010


(AUGUST 16, 2010) This was a great morning for taking pictures - bugs and flowers. Birds are hiding in the trees and the ducks and geese occasionally do something photogenic, but not on a regular basis.

Shortly after we had started our walk, I noticed about 12 feet over my head was a beautiful tiger swallowtail butterfly, caught up in a spider web. It was frantically trying to get loose, but I was too far below it to help out.

As I was taking pictures of this frustrated beauty, a fellow walker came by and asked what I was taking pictures of. I pointed out the butterfly and said, "Well, I guess it will be food for a spider."

We continued talking and the fellow walker walked over to some debris near where the butterfly was floundering around trying to free itself. He picked up a large branch, walked over to where the butterfly was, threw the stick into the air, and the butterfly was free. It flew off. I stood there in amazement and thinking to myself, "Why hadn't I thought of that?"

Well, I guess there were two reasons. I have been in nature enough now to realize that there is life and death along the river. I guess I must have just decided that this butterfly was just a victim of nature. The second reason was just a simple one - I just didn't think about it. I regret either reason for not coming to the assistance of an animal in peril.

As we walked further, I started noticing that the insects were busily working, doing what they do - hanging around flowers and moving from flower to flower. Sadie noticed, too. She was quite taken by the small butterflies as they moved from flower to flower. She often startled small damselflies as they flittered around and landed on leaves and plants. She stayed away from the bees as they buzzed around the flowers.

As I looked closely at the insects moving about, I became quite interested in their movements. The bees and butterflies climbed all over the flowering plants, the damselflies landed on leaves and flowers, moving away whenever frightened by Sadie and then returning to the same plant, and the dragonflies as they landed on everything from the side of a concrete building to the side of a fencepost to a leaf.

Near our car on the way back, I heard a loud chirping sound. So did Sadie. She had stopped, pointed and pounced upon something before I even saw what was making the noise. It was a cicada about an inch and a half long, and it was now in Sadie's mouth. It was chirping louder, and the sound was echoing out of Sadie's mouth. She had he teeth clinched tightly, and I yelled, "SADIE. DROP IT. DROP IT, SADIE."

She did, and the cicada lay there on the ground shining under the sun. I got the picture below - the cicada in the shadow of my English setter. After we had moved on, I noticed that the cicada was moving on also.

It was another good morning on the Riverwalk.

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