They say the grass is always greener on the other side. Well now the sheep at Sorel can find out first-hand.
A fence has been erected around the field adjacent to the chough release-aviary allowing for the shepherd to improve the management of his flock. It is a relatively small area, but it will make a huge difference.
Once the fence was up and tools cleared away, the shepherds then had the seemingly mammoth task of herding the sheep from the cliffs and picking out which sheep would go in the new site. Luckily for them Mist the sheep dog, made the job a lot easier.
Up until the beginning of the 20th Century, the coastal headlands were an important part of the rural economy. Cattle, ponies and sheep would have grazed upon these areas and gorse and bracken would have been collected for fuel and bedding respectively. The disappearance of such practices allowed bracken and scrub to encroach, in turn leading to the disappearance of many coastal and heathland species. The red-billed chough is a prime example of such a species relying on the sheep to improve habitat as well as providing their wool for nest building.
The Back to Work scheme, set up by the Social Security Department and Department of the Environment, helps unemployed people in Jersey to gain skills and experience to attain permanent employment while carrying out dedicated projects enhancing Jersey’s biodiversity.
Ecoscape, a local contractor with a wealth of environmental experience, provide guidance and training to participants on the scheme. Its hard work at times, but the skills acquired and sense of achievement with the end result can be very rewarding.