Friday, March 23, 2012

A sad outcome!

The day started off badly! After a couple of hours at the computer, accompanied by rather more cups of tea, the electricity supply suddenly went off at 0815 hours until around 1100 hours!  Apparently a section of line had been affected by a "goose collision" and the power supply had been temporarily suspended. Whilst that might seem improbable to some people, given Islay plays host to 40,000 or so geese each winter and the supply lines are above ground, the likelihood of this happening occasionally begins to be more of a reality.

A few years ago, whilst working for Scottish Natural Heritage on a temporary basis, we had a call to the office one spring that a flock of Barnacle Geese had collided with wires in the Gartmain area and that several birds were injured or worse. Indeed, over 20 birds were either dead or badly injured and had to be disposed of. Apparently the flock had been disturbed by the sudden appearance of a low flying military aircraft and had risen and connected with overhead wires running across the field concerned. The timing was similar to that of today, i.e.late March or early April, which actually carries some relevance to both episodes.

Most of the geese will have departed in three or four weeks time.  Prior to their departure they feed voraciously  and lay down an appreciable amount of body fat which serves to fuel their flight northwards by providing the necessary energy resource. Undoubtedly their ability to rise into the air quickly and manoeuvre flexibly is impaired to some extent due to the additional weight they're carrying and they are slowed down compared to normal ( now that's a familiar story! ).  I well remember on the above occasion being quite amazed at the weight of the dead birds we collected or despatched. Given the necessary circumstances are in place, coupled with questionable reactions arising from sudden disturbance, the potential for an accident arises. Such events can also arise, of course, in periods of poor visibility and at any time within the year. In today's event a mere three geese had died but with far reaching results given 580 properties were without electricity!!
Post a Comment