For the past week we have been watching the Manton Bay nest looking for the slightest indication that hatching might be imminent. Every time the female moved, shuffled or looked into the nest, we wondered. Is it about to happen? By Monday evening the birds were looking restless, but still no chick. We began to worry. Was there a problem?
I arrived at the Lyndon Centre at 6:45am on yesterday morning hoping that things might have changed. When I switched the nest camera on the female was sitting tight and so I had a quick look through the morning’s recordings. At around 5:45 the female stood up and carefully inched away from the nest cup. And there, through the early morning murk, I could just make out a chick breaking out of its shell. At last!
By 7:30 the light had improved considerably and 5R arrived back at the nest with a small fish. Rather than eating any himself, he passed it straight over to the female and she very delicately offered tiny pieces to her newly hatched chick. Fantastic!
The youngster, now two hours old, was still very weak and barely able to hold its head up for more than a few seconds. It did however eat several small pieces of fish, before the female settled back down to brood it. Over the course of the day the female continued to offer fish to the chick every half an hour or so; helped by a constant supply of fish. In all, 5R brought six fish – including one very large roach – back to the nest between 6am and 9pm. Not bad going!
It was fascinating to see how the chick developed over the course of the day. By early evening it had grown noticeably stronger and was able to hold its head up for prolonged periods. At 6:30pm we were watching another feeding session when suddenly we noticed a second egg was hatching. Half an hour later the youngster was out of the shell and at 9:30, when 5R delivered yet another fish to the nest, the new arrival was already jostling for position with its older sibling. It was great end to a fantastic day. We’re now keeping our fingers crossed that the third egg hatches at some point in the next couple of days. Keep watching the webcam. We’ll also be uploading highlights of the day later on this afternoon.