The hoped-for hatching of the fourth egg did not materialise over the course of the day, though it could still happen. The three chicks that have hatched appear to be thriving, enjoying lengthy feeds at several points, the male again taking a very active role in feeding. At the other end, the chicks have ‘vented’ on several occasions, showing fully functioning digestive systems! Once they get a bit bigger and more mobile, this tends to clear the nest platform, but for now it’s making a bit of a mess. Along with the bones this must be starting to make quite an odour, and a few flies have been buzzing around, providing a bit of comedy as the sitting adult follows a fly around the platform. It also shows their vision isn’t just great at distance.
There’s also been extensive brooding of the chicks, serving the dual purpose of continuing to incubate the egg. One growing concern is that even if the final egg does hatch, the chick is going to be quite a bit smaller than the others, although the third chick now seems pretty indistinguishable in terms of size, so perhaps a catch-up is still possible.
As dusk falls the webcam, which has shown consistently excellent images, has just switched from normal to night vision, which was very psychedelic for a few seconds! The chicks look to be safely tucked away for the night, and they’ll need to be ready to benefit from that warmth over the coming days as the weather looks set to turn for the worse.