Mary Lou and I arrived at the nest site around 9:15 AM. The nest appeared unoccupied, but we saw one eagle roosting on the dead Melaleucas to the west. I went over to photograph the roosting bird. Based upon its rather bulky appearance and the absence of any dark spots on its tail, I believe it to be the female. Her bill seems to appear bigger at the base, but that has not been a reliable indicator of the female when we made "double blind" measurements of the beaks of bot birds in the past.
In the meantime, Mary Lou continued to observe the nest, and after about 15 minutes she saw the head of the other adult over the nest rim. The eagle on the nest repositioned on the nest and promptly settled down out of sight. When I got back I still could not see the bird on the nest.
Because of the uncertainty about when the first egg was laid (between December 4 - 13), the 5 week incubation period could be completed as early as January 8, or as late as January 17. Beginning this coming weekend, we should be alert to changes in behavior that indicate that an egg has hatched:
--The sitting bird switches from incubating very low to brooding a bit higher in the nest;
--One or both adults may spend time peering down into the nest;
--Adults begin bringing more food to the nest and spend time tearing at it and reaching down to feed an eaglet
One or more eaglets may become visible over the rim of the nest when 2 to 3 weeks old.