hissing sids

5th Aug 2017

Hissing Sids


The last visit to the moorland was presaged by a check on the barn owls in the trees on the moor edge. When we last looked, the nest was occupied, and parents were commuting to an ancient sycamore.


This time, we arrived in the dark, and heard what sounded like several people having a bad, and very loud, asthma attack.  The source was a couple of barn owls close to fledging. The next night, both were just as noisy from the gloaming onwards. The two owlets were disparate sizes: the louder, larger chick was at the front of the tree hole, monopolising food from the hard-working adults.


On the third night, the large chick fledged: following an adult, but with a crash landing into a branch 15m away. Later that night the chick was being fed a further 15m away in an ash.


Four days later, after several attempts to follow the feeding adult, the smaller chick flew. The hunting adults suggest that the nearby wood is hiding one or more of the chicks.


Now, the only hissing sids are the adders in the field. That is another story.