Well, excellent news and sad news in this short blog. The more exciting is that we have a second chick, which we first saw at just before 3pm when Juno stood up to collect a fish, another pike, from Samson. This little one was very sneaky because views of the contents of the nest at 1215 did not show any breaks in the second egg, although we are unable to zoom in our camera and check closely.
The sad news is that there will only be two chicks. I had not seen 3 eggs together for about 10 days but hoped that the very deep soft grass in the centre of the nest meant that I wasn’t seeing the entire clutch in the brief glimpses I caught of it during the inclement weather. However, the weather improved today, Juno was standing up much more and it was clear that, as I had feared, one of the eggs had been lost. I don’t think it was predated as both parents have been meticulous in guarding the nest from the wiles of the crows, but I think it much more likely that, in the sometimes atrocious weather of high winds and driving rain in the past 2 weeks, it somehow got dislodged, perhaps during a handover, and ending up falling from the nest. It’s an unfortunate thing but, in many ways, the silver lining is that Juno as a first time parent will be able to concentrate on a smaller brood with a greater chance of success. This is particularly important because natural fish stocks are not as abundant as they were a few years ago. Only one of the lochs and rivers to which Samson has access within his fishing range is artificially stocked, so only having two chicks to feed will help him provide adequate supplies to his growing family.
So, a bit of a roller coaster couple of days but such a delight to at last have chicks again on the nest. I’ll bring you more news as the chicks grow. If you’re intending coming down to see them, they’ll only be cute and fluffy for a couple of weeks until they lose the fluff and transform, almost overnight, into creatures more resembling something out of Jurassic Park (other dinosaur movies are available), but their parents will still love them and so will I!!