What a day! To find two chicks had hatched on Nest 1 between 20.00 on Tuesday and 09.00 today was excitement enough without another hatch, this time on Nest 2.
On Nest 1 shortly after 09.00 YA took away a piece of fish which Mrs YA had tucked beneath her. Two broken egg shells were then visible as Mrs YA moved her head. Later there were fleeting glimpses of two moving chicks which Mrs YA was sheltering from heavy rain. It eased slightly around 11.00 and YA landed with a new fish as Mrs YA flew off. She returned quickly and the chicks begged. After fiddling with a couple of sticks, Mrs YA went over and fed them. YA is just visible at the right edge.
Both had moments when they flopped, temporarily full, before summoning up the energy to beg and eat again. YA showed interest in the proceedings and stood watching, moving very close to his offspring.
Here is a link to a lovely video of the feeding of the chicks.
After the meal it was a case of protecting the chicks and remaining egg (the third to be laid) as the rain became more relentless again.
By late afternoon it was a bit lighter and Mrs YA had a couple of flights to stretch her wings and she walked round the nest. The chicks looked fine, although they would have liked more to eat!
On Nest 2 Mrs 37 was tight on the eggs for the first hour and a half plus and when she flew off after a fish delivery there was a clear view of the eggs. No cracks were apparent and that was the case when she returned after 20 minutes. Even 10 minutes before the first sight of the first chick there was nothing visible, although the shell must have been well ‘spretched’ by then. (Means cracked egg, Yorkshire dialect, Old Norse origin, in honour of Paul the Wildlife Ranger for Nest 2 who imparted that gem. And who saw the hatch today, well deserved by him.) It is the top egg in the image below.
Out the chick came from its shell and Mrs 37 sheltered it straight afterwards. 37 came in a couple of times with a part eaten fish, but the female wasn’t interested. She stood and shuffled the two remaining eggs a couple of times – on one occasion the chick had (probably) its first squirt! On another she pushed the larger part of the empty shell back over it. Ingenious, an overcoat!
So a wonderful day on both nests, marred only by the rain. But the mothers’ dedication to protecting the chicks/eggs was outstanding. And the males played their part too. Let’s hope that they can keep it up because the forecast isn’t what we would wish for a few days.