I set out at 9am with a packed lunch to see if the chicks were out of the nest yet. I sat on the bank opposite (there’s much more cover now) and decided that if there was no activity after an hour I’d go and look elsewhere. I was tucked in behind a willow tree surrounded by the nettles which have grown so much in the rains of the last couple of weeks. I had a clear level view of the hole and sat happily listening to the sound of the stream flowing through branches that reached down to the water. It was very varied, and after a while I fancied there were speaking and singing voices among the watery sounds.
After about 40 mins there was a noisy flypast and the kingfisher settled about 40 yards upstream of the nest. I couldn’t see it but estimated the distance from the volume of its calls, which continued from its perch. I was getting ready to move away in case this was related to me being there when a bird burst out of the nest, settled briefly on a branch 20 feet away then whizzed off upstream too. I skedaddled out of there asap in case I was disturbing them.
So, what to conclude? That the nest is still being used but the bird that came out (female) had to be adult judging by its flying skills. It seems surprising that an adult would have been in the nest with the chicks for the 40 mins I was there, but maybe one stands guard until the other comes with food, then exits to allow them to come in? I had thought that both adults fished constantly, but maybe that explains a lot of the noise that happens when one bird arrives at the nest, and some of the comings and goings to and from the branches opposite.Whatever, it seems the chicks are still in there. If they are ready to leave the nest after the normal period of 24-25 days (and I am right in thinking that they hatched on 4 may) then it may be a few days yet before they come out.