Virginia has some wonderful wineries - many of them close by. One of my customers at Backyard Boutique is an artist, and she uses one for her "studio." She put up a bluebird trail and has been monitoring 8 boxes, with wonderful results. But today I received a distress call at home. She went to check one of the boxes, with 5 chicks that were ready to fledge, and saw blood smeared over the box, and looking with her dental mirror, saw at least 2 of the babies' - hearts still beating. The mama was "dive-bombing" her as she tried to look. Afraid the babies were injured or that the male was injured and lying over them so that they couldn't fledge, she called me for advice. I met her and we drove out. Sure enough, the front and inside the hole were all smeared with red. Since it was time for these babies to fledge anyway, I carefully opened the box - to see 3 fat little babies looking quizzically at me, and two tails of two that were turned the other way. All were fine. Mama was scolding, then I saw the male in the tree. Oh what fun - when my eyes shifted from that tree to the next one, the tree nearest the box was full of some kind of berries that looked exactly like blackberries - huge tree - FULL of berries. OK, there's your blood. We had the best time over it - almost went down to have a glass of chardoney to toast the little ones. All is well. Before we left, I wanted to grab a couple of shots of the grapes - here's one, with a tiny visitor. Boy, he has it made!
I had to "paint" the photo a little.