The photos of the two chicks are now on Greg's web site-- click on "eagle" photos and scroll to the most recent images, at the end of the collection. To my eye, the two eaglets appear to be older than two weeks. In the previous two years they did not sit up straight and look over the nest rim until they were respectively about 23 and 18 days old. The latter chicks were seen on a video through the nest structure, and did not raise their heads over the nest rim for at least two more days.
Therefore, it is probable that the first egg was indeed laid on December 4, 2010, when Trisha observed the female sitting very low for 3 1/2 hours, barely visible through the nest materials. She then briefly flew away, only to return and resume sitting very low. No one saw a second eagle until 7 days later, December 11, when it was confirmed that incubation was indeed underway. Indeed, the incubating eagle remained almost invisible on several occasions thereafter, causing some concern that the nest had been abandoned.
Supporting the assumption that the first egg was indeed deposited on or around December 4 are these photos I have taken of the eaglets in the past two breeding seasons, at comparable ages:
This is such interesting news, Ken! This season has been a bit of a puzzle for us so far! I do think a number of things could have been factors. The nest floor appears to be deeper as previously when the eagles were incubating they could always be spotted. The temperatures have been so much colder than previous seasons so I think the adults really had to stay on the eggs full time and down low. Also, the maleleucas in front make it much harder to watch the nest. I have found if you even look away for an instant you miss something as the view is only decent when the wind briefly blows the limbs away. This is frustrating for watchers and may have contributed to fewer spending as much time at the nest.
Either trimming back the trees hiding the nest or in a perfect world, the web cam would make it much more conducive to watching again.
I really have been puzzled that no one felt the eggs hatched on or near that Sat., the 4th, that we observed for the entire morning. I was as positive as could be that the behavior we observed indicated an egg had hatched. Ken answered the only question we had about why no feeding when he explained that the the egg sac provided nutrition for up to 2 days! I had even entertained the idea that one eaglet could have hatched around the 4th and perhaps it did not survive. I felt that certain....as did Tom and Kino..... of what we were seeing.
I'm just thrilled now that all is well and with 2 eaglets!!!! Thanks, Ken, for your uncanny attention to detail and your unwavering concern about the nest and the eagles! The eagles....and all of us who watch and delight in their progress are so fortunate to have you as a leader and spokesman for this rewarding and worthy cause!