One of the main reasons for going to Highton last weekend was to check on the baby darters. Sure, the baby cormorants were a total highlight. I was really keen to see how much they had grown since reading Ian Smissens blog.
Sadly, there was now just three chicks. I don’t know what happened to it. Friends have said it could either be a predator or the chicks pushing it out of the nest. I know there was very little room left in the nest. The parent was sitting a distance away from the nest to make room. I did read that the normal clutch size is 3, so it was probably bound to happen. I have no idea how many make it to maturity – nor how many will survive as an adult. There is another clutch, with younger chicks, on a nearby tree.
It looks like their proper feathers are growing through the down. I think they are called pin feathers? I really need to learn more about this. It was so cool to see, I hope the photos properly capture it. Their faces are still very young. I think the pink flabby bit next to the beak is the gape? That is still very pronounced 🙂
I will be checking on them once or twice as they gain more confidence and start exploring.