GRC Blog

Welcome to the GRC Recorders pages. This blog provides details on all the relevant news of Glamorgan’s scarcer birds, plus all BBRC & WRP decisions that affect us locally. It will also be used to document the status and occurrence of these scarcer species and we welcome contributions from anyone with photographs, artwork or documentation of rarities past, present and future. The GRC also welcomes all seawatching news from around Glamorgan and news of passage migrants in spring & autumn, uncommon birds in our area and unusual behaviour.

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The Glamorgan Rarities Committee, in conjunction with the Glamorgan Bird Club & Gower Wildlife , have agreed to co-operate with the Welsh Ornithological Society in the sharing of bird records & photographs in the interest of keeping accurate records and to promote birdwatching in North, Mid & South Wales.

Friday, 2 August 2013

Heron Zapped

This morning around 0600 hrs I watched a Heron [presuming Grey] hit the overhead national power lines running alongside my factory RPC at Kenfig industrial estate. At the point of contact there was a loud Zap like a when a moth hits a bug zapper and the bird dropped like a stone to the ground on the other side of the factory fence into an unviewable scrubby area. Birds regularly sit or collide with these lines and are unscathed because they are not earthed. But in this instance I think the bird was still wet from feeding [ it had a frog in its mouth] and the water must have conducted the electricity causing a power surge around the bird making an electrical circuit at contact. Its the first time I've seen this happen, So if a anyone knows of a better explanation please feel free to comment. As a side note about 10 Days ago I watched 3 out of a flock of 14 Canada Goose make contact with the power lines but remain unscathed. I'll research it a bit more when I get up as I was nights.

1 comment:

Mark Hipkin said...

Hi Martyn, It's an interesting observation. I had a look into it myself and found that it is unlikely that the wetness of the bird had anything to do with its unfortunate electrocution. Even in the pouring rain it is very unlikely for a bird brushing with or landing on a high-voltage cable at a mid-span point between the poles/towers to create a path for a fatal amount of current to flow through. This can't be done by touching one cable alone. A path can be made between two parallel cables if the bird is large enough to touch both at the same time, and the current flowing would likely be fatal to it?
It would appear to be quite common for large birds sitting on poles to make a path to ground by bridging the insulated part of the power line around the support and make contact with the exposed live wire. This is most common when birds take off and their outspread wings provide the path to ground via the supporting structure.
Is it possible the bird made contact with two parallel cables or perhaps a cable and the supporting structure?