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


Wednesday, August 4, 2010


(AUGUST 4, 2010) The smell of summer rain greeted us as we began our walk this morning. In the tree canopied sections of the Riverwalk we got drops of water as the slight breeze blew the limbs of the trees causing the water to shake down on us. Otherwise, we dodged the bullet of rain, again, yet some walkers spoke of having encountered rain on other part of the trail.

There were signs, however. The water gathered in the turned up leaves on the tree, the water dripping from the tips of leaves, the puddles in the middle of the trail, and the dampness of the grass indicated a recent rain.

The water provided an oasis for the insects As the smaller butterflies landed on the damp leaves to enjoy a cool drink, a large number of damselflies flitted around from leaf to leaf landing in the middle near the drops there or balancing precariously on the tip of the plant.

As we started the walk, the air was slightly humid with a nice breeze. As we proceeded, the sun came out and the morning turned more humid and hotter. But, when the sun came out, so did the larger butterflies and more insects.

Sadie spent her time pointing at the smaller butterflies as they landed on small leaves and flowers, resting and sipping the water, while I craned my neck and took pictures of larger butterflies cavorting in the woods near the river. Of course, had Sadie not stopped to point at the smaller butterflies, I would have missed seeing the larger one.

I would have also missed seeing new and fresh blooms of flowers that seem to have burst forth overnight with the wonderful rain. There were the yellow daisies and other flowers of blue, purple, and white. The woods, this morning, seemed to be a medley of colors with the dominant color being, of course, green.

On the bridge near the Public Works department, we stopped to watch the geese and ducks as they swam underneath the bridge and some as they stood on the banks of the river drinking the water or eating vegetation along the shore.

As we stood there, a walker we see daily stopped and started talking about the beauty of the river.

He asked me, "Did you know this river is nearly 200 million years old? That's a very long time. I think of 100 years as being old, but 200 million years."

I affirmed that I hadn't known that, and then he went on to inform me that there were Native Americans along the shores of the Dan River 8000 years ago and were there until the settlers came in from Europe. He had just read this information on a historical board located towards Angler's Park. It is amazing when one thinks of the age of this river and its history.

As we neared the end of our walk, we saw one other thing that was truly amazing. Sadie pulled on the leash toward a chirping sound in the grass. I recognized the sound of a cicada, and Sadie pulled the leash towards movement on the ground. I walked closer and saw a very strange object. It was a very large bee riding a larger insect. When I saw the bee, I pulled Sadie away and put her leash around a fence post nearby. I went over and started snapping pictures. I realized that I was watching a very large bee (perhaps a hornet) killing a cicada while riding its back. I took several pictures; Sadie sat patiently next to the fence. I finished, gave her a biscuit, and we went on to our car.

It was a most interesting morning on the Riverwalk.

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