Thursday, December 30: Pair exchanges incubation duties
Mary Lou and I arrived just before noon today. There was no sign of life at the nest. I took photos from a couple of angles in hopes that I might still see some sign of an incubating adult. (Back home, I still found no clue that an adult might be on the nest).
Within 3 or 4 minutes of our arrival we heard cries of an eagle from above, and answering cries from the nest area. The female (verified by pure white tail feathers) flew in from high in the SW, quickly lost altitude, and mad a pass in front of the nest. Circling around, she approached the nest from the left (east). The second eagle flew to a perch in the nest tree, about 6 feet up and to the left, mostly hidden by branches.
The flight photos were heavily back-lighted by the bright mostly overcast midday sun, so they are of poor quality.
Re: Thursday, December 30: Pair exchanges incubation duties
I was by the nest today at 10:45am to 11:15am and there was an eagle on the nest the whole time. At one point, an eagle stood up on the opposite side of where I had repeatedly seen an eagles head. I started to feel as though both eagles where on the nest, but I cannot say I saw both at the same time.
What is sure is the nest is deep and I believe there has been an eagle down in the nest on occasions where observers may have reported there was "no one home." The nest is deep on both the east and west sides. Early I saw a head come into sight occasionaly on the far left (east) side, then I saw an eagle stand up on the far right (west) side, move about some on the rim in full sight, then step back down into the right (west) side and completely go out of view.
Ken, I believe the earliest incubation estimate is probably the best (based on your mating observations). The nest is so deep, it would be easy for an observer to watch and see nothing. Even the occasional moving and stretching can go un-noticed. MF