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


Saturday, August 21, 2010



Last week I read that dragonflies and damselflies are the "raptors" of the insect world. That is they prey on other insects.

After having taken a number of photographs of these beautiful insects, I could not believe it. The dragonflies and damselflies flit around and have vibrant coloring ranging from brown to red to blue. I could not believe that they preyed upon other insects - until this morning.

I was near the Public Works department when I saw a beautiful swallow tail butterfly flying overhead. As I looked closer at the butterfly, I realized that it was not flying on its own power. There was a dragonfly carrying the butterfly - to breakfast, I assumed.

OBSERVATION #2: As we walk on the Riverwalk, other walkers will often stop to watch Sadie as she points at insects, and they will comment about how pretty she is. They will stay for several minutes as she gently moves toward the insect she has spotted. There are comments like, "She sure is pretty," "She is poetry in motion," "She is very graceful," or "She knows what she is doing."

This morning, as we were walking along in the grass, a new comment was heard. A man said, "That's a fine animal there."

To me that was a much stronger comment than the others since she was "fine" among ALL animals, not just dogs. It would be like someone looking at my Jeep Liberty and say, "That's a fine Jeep there." That doesn't usually happen. They just say, "That sure is cute." Sheesh!



That thought came to mind as we wandered past some flowers that had a very pleasant fragrance. It reminded me of my prom, for some reason. I thought that the sweet smell from the flowers must have been a perfume that I had whiffed that night, perhaps worn by my date.

As I continued thinking about the smell, I realized that the aroma reminded me of the prom because that "sweet smell" at the prom was ME. I was wearing Jade East, and, for some reason, those flowers smelled like that to me.


On our way back to the car, I saw two young girls (perhaps 6 and 8) running among the geese on the shore. They started across the path as Sadie and I approached. I noticed an adult woman (their mother, I assumed) and another little girl, perhaps 12 or so, sitting on a bench. The littlest girl came towards Sadie and asked if she was friendly. I drew Sadie towards me, held her close and told the girl that Sadie was friendly, and the little girl came over and petted Sadie. The second little girl came over as the mother watched from the bench along with the other little girl.

The two littlest girls said that they had 3 dogs at home. One of the dogs is named, "Hot Rod," and the middle girl said that she had come up with that name. Her mother corrected her and said that the girl's father had come up with the name. As I was leaving, the two had gotten into a fairly head on argument about who had named the dog "Hot Rod." They were cute little girls enjoying an outing in the woods with their mother, and Sadie and I had indirectly caused a rift between the mother and child. Oh, well.


Someone had stopped to watch Sadie stalk, jump and miss a small butterfly. The woman commented that she surely has the bird dog instinct even when she is using that instinct to pursue bugs.

In response, I quoted my wife, Elizabeth, and said, "Yep. My wife says that if it flies it dies." I then added. "However, whenever it flies, 99 times out of 100 it doesn't die because Sadie doesn't have a very good record of success."


This evening I took Sadie to Angler's Park for a walk around the large field. It was near dark, and I noticed little white ghost like creatures crawling around on some weeds in the marsh. The marsh was crawling with dozens of little white woolly worms. They glowed in the twilight of the evening.

It was a good day on the Riverwalk.

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