Well, the weather this week has been up and down, with one fine day followed by a bad one. At the worst we had hail, sleet, heavy rain and strong winds in freezing temperatures, at best clear blue skies and sunshine (but still quite cold).
The activity at Skye and Frisa's nest hasn't been as we expected, and we are very concerned that we have lost a chick. From that first feeding we witnessed at the beginning of the week we have seen no more food come in, so it does look as if the first chick has perished. The adults are still sitting tight though, so it seems that they are still incubating the second egg and we are keeping everything crossed that it hatches and thrives.
Sometimes a glitch early in incubation (perhaps when the changeover takes a little too long) can result in the egg chilling, resulting in a weak chick exhausted by the effort of hatching and unable to feed well. Or it could be that the awful weather just after the chick hatched took its toll - even though the adults continued incubating. In fact on one changeover in the rain we witnessed both adults holding their wings like an umbrella over the nest whilst one stepped off and the other settled down to incubate.
We won't know for a day or two whether chick number two has hatched safely. The eggs are normally laid on alternate days with the adults incubating from day one; however, in bad weather there can be a much larger gap between eggs, so we are still hopeful.
The good news is that our Buzzard cam is giving us some wonderful views and there are now two beautiful pale blue eggs on the nest, with the possibility of more to come. The female is very attentive to her duties, standing up from time to time to turn the eggs before settling down again and tucking them under her feathers. On one of the warmer days with the sunlight streaming through the trees we watched her nodding off before tucking her head under her wing and enjoying a snooze.
The male is playing his part too and from time to time brings in greenery to help line the nest. On one occasion he flew in, dropped some grass on top of the female's head and flew off again. She looked very suprised, and none too pleased!
Now that the eagles have gone back to incubating, the off-duty bird is often back perching in their favourite tree, and we have had some fantastic displays of flying. Yesterday Frisa took off and began soaring right above the hide, getting higher and higher without a single wing beat, before drifting off to search for food.
Hopefully I'll be able to bring you some more positive news with my next posting - if only the weather would improve!