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, May 21, 2011

Bluebird Houses

(May 21, 2011) This has been a week when bluebird houses have come into my mind as a result of three distinct events. One event took place in our yard and the other two were moments I experienced on the Riverwalk.

In the picture above there is a swallow in a bird house on the Riverwalk (Bluebird House #22). This bird house was the scene of an invasion this week. On Thursday afternoon, I had parked in the public works department parking lot and was walking with Sadie near that box located 50 yards or so from the bridge going across the small creek near the restroom.

As Sadie, our English setter, and I approached the birdhouse, I noticed something sticking out of it. I thought that a bird's tail was sticking out; as I approached closer, I realized that it was not a bird's tail and thought that someone had put a stick in the opening. When I got even closer, I noticed that the "stick" had eyes; a small black snake was in the house and, I assume, the eggs or small swallows were no longer there.

I had my camera with me but forgot to put the memory card back into the camera after downloading pictures the day before, so I was carrying an expensive paperweight that was useless to me. The small snake looked at us for a few minutes and then retreated back into the box (#22). I was saddened by this, but when I mentioned it to my daughter, Christy, she said, "Well, snakes have to eat, too." That is the reality of the Riverwalk. There is new life and death everyday on the trail.

A second event occurred this morning on the Riverwalk. As I approached the dam below Dan Daniel Park, I noticed that the bluebird house there wasn't there anymore. The pole was there, but the house was missing. Perched on top of the pole was a single swallow wondering, I assume, what had happened to his house. It is possible that those who look after the birdhouses may have taken it down for some reason; however, if someone had stolen the house, that person faces a fine up to $10,000 and jail time. I hope it was the former.

A third event happened at our house this week. Elizabeth, my wife, had taken Sadie out and they walked near the bluebird house we have in our yard. It is the time of year when there are either eggs or babies in the houses. As Elizabeth and Sadie got near the birdhouse, they were swooped down upon by a squadron of angry bluebirds. Sadie, the bird dog, cowered and Elizabeth took Sadie into the house. I thought about the embarrassment of what could have happened with the headlines reading "Bird Dog and Owner Pecked to Death by BLUE BIRDS" How embarrassing would that be?

We went out to the Riverwalk this morning and plan another walk this afternoon - the weather is beautiful with sunny skies and temps in the low 80s. It has been and will be another good day on the Riverwalk.

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