Not good news. Yesterday a combination of late work, a very high wind and just plain tired after the week meant that I decided not to visit the nest and rather to go early this morning. The first photo shows what greeted me - an empty nest. I don't believe they were ready to leave yet. Also despite searching I coudn't find any one of them alive or dead. I shall be going out later today to see if I can find more. The parents were not really distracted at all. The nest is in perfect condition. Not a feather around which means not a cat - and anyway there are no cats on the farm that I have seen. It is a wine farm, protea farm, produces bottled spring water (and hence has a large work force) and also has lovely accommodation for tourists so birds are habituated to people. The only likely predator is an African Harrier Hawk (I have photos of these flying high overhead taken earlier this year). There are two in the region. The farm is very tree rich especially around the guest accommodation so there are plenty of nests (incuding one of an Olive Woodpecker).
There is plenty of time for the adults to produce another brood so I am not giving up - I shall vist regularly. The visits to this farm are my anti-stress and chill-out daily pill.
To make up for the loss I include a photo I took last year at the very same spot of a fledgling raised in the same nest. I am guessing that it had the same parents.
I am rather sad at the moment but do realise that nature must take its course - but that doesn't mean I hadn't formed an attachment to my three little Dusky Flycatchers. The emty nest photo is attached and one taken this am of one of the adults hanging around the nest. Remember the last photo taken last year is meant to cheer me up. I hope it does the same for you!
Granjan, ndloti, arks, CuriousCanadian: thanks for your encouragement. It meant a lot to me.