Sunday the 9th of June was a glorious day. We held a demonstration of sheep shearing for the public. Events like this demonstrate the versitility of the RSPB.

We not only protect Birds, Reptiles, Flora and Fauna,  we interact with all wild life. Sheep play a major role in helping to keep the South Stack reserve healthy. They graze the Heather and Gorse to keep the grass at a level where the Chough can reach the invertebrates on which they feed. Our exhibition gave the public a chance to see how the sheep are kept healthy by removing their fleece in the summer. The fleece does not go to waste, it is spun into yarn and then woven to produce garments etc. the following pictures tell a better story than I can in words.

I have just one other thing to say about the RSPB and its commitment to nature. I stood gazing out over the reserve and was in awe of what nature has given us to protect. I believe that if it was not for the RSPB and several other wildlife trusts I would be stood here looking at a Supermarket..

Below are a few views of our manificent vista.

 

To start I will show you just how well the event was supported! 

I think by now that I have convinced you of the number of spectators and so I will get on with the sheep shearing event. It started at 06:30 when Hayley our People engagement Officer started preparing things. One of the first items was the erection of the marquee.

Before I start I would like to say that any child that can be recognised in these pictures is done so with the permission of their guardian.

Once in place the sheep can be brought onto site. Hayley is supervising the unloading of the animals.

We also had some local dignitaries, above is Mr John Knox Crawford a local councillor for the Porth Y Fellin Ward Holyhead together with on your left, Hayley, John,Charlotte, Babs and Emily. 

Above Mr Dave Bateson our Site Manager with the Deputy Mayor of Holyhead Mr J.V.Owen and his wife.

The Deputy Mayor with Hayley our People Engagement Officer and organiser of this event.

The Craft people and the Farmer setting things up.

  

Above Mo one of our volunteers checking on the resident Chough.

The sheep being gathered ready for the shearing.

The farmers son keeping an eye on things.

  

This young lady was helping the farmer control the sheep, unfortunately I did not ask her name. Well you can't get everything right.

Here the sheep dog not taking his eyes off the job.

We also provided guided walks for the visitors led by Denise our Site Warden below.

Some of our behind the scenes staff. From your left to right are : Mo (volunteer), Denise (our Site Warden), Jane (retail assistant) and Emily (volunteer).

Above is a poster displayed by the farmer. He and his assistant are professional sheep shearers. 

Our Site manager discussing arragements with the shearers.

 

The sheep queing up eager to be sheared.

The farmer at work. I spoke to him later in the cafe where he told me what back breaking work it is. He said that some professionals can shear 300 sheep per day.

Before the sheep can be sheared they have to be gathered together, in Wales this often entails bringing them down from the mountains. 

This is Pete the Shepherd. Each year Pete brings a flock of sheep in order to graze on the reserve. This is done in order to rejuvenate certain Flora and Fauna. He gave a demonstration of how the sheep are collected  and brought together.

Meet 'Bet' the four legged wonder. 

Spectators gather for the demonstration.

The Shepherd explains just what to expect and answers any questions that are asked.

We start with the sheep in the far field. Once the Shepherd gives the commands Bet springs into action.

Within probably less than a minute Bet had brought the sheep to the Shepherd. He gave Bet commands by both verbal and whistle.

Job done, Bet brought the sheep into a tight circle in front of the Shepherd.

Pete the Shepherd gave one of our spectators the opportunity to round up the flock by giving commands to Bet. He and I both had not considered that Bet only understands 'left' and 'Right'. You have now to imagine that when giving your commands what orientation you are in as compared to Bet. If she is facing you the call is opposite to that when she is facing away. The spectator did extremely well with a little help from the Shepherd.

At the end of the demonstration Bet was feeling rather hot as were we all the weather was so good. I only hope that Sunday was not our entire summer!

She jumped into the water trough. I can't think of a suitable title for this shot.

Now back to the Arts and Crafts.

Above is Charlotte our assistant People Engagement Officer watching the ladies spinning the wool.

Visitors enjoying refreshments from our cafe, someone else looks to be sunbathing.

A young lady trying her hand.

Here the wool is being woven.

This lady was telling me that she was using a very old technique.

This young lady was taking quite an interest in the demonstrations.

The RSPB were running a lucky dip for the youngsters.

 

This lady and her family had come all the way from Yorkshire, she told me how much she liked the reserve and event.

This is Mark our Recruitment Officer explaining about the site.

Our well stocked shop.

An ex- colleague of mine for many years joining the RSPB, well done Stan!

After all the excitement I make my way down to Ellen's Tower. This is an observation tower that the RSPB make available to the general public. From here you have a wonderful view of the sea birds. Currently we have about 9000 Guillemot's, 1600 Razorbill's,  Puffins, Fulmars, Kittiwake and of course our famous Chough!

I come across someone taking in the glorious sun.

A gentleman taking a picture of our magnificent scenary.

A shot of some of the nesting sea birds.

Inside of the tower, Mo and Mag's who is a residential volunteer answering questions from the visitors.

Last but certainly not least we were paid a visit by some of the RSPB VIP's. The group was the 'RSPB Comunity for Wales'

We hope that they were suitably impressed with our and their reserve here at South Stack. I am now signing off from what has been a most wonderful day, Thank you Hayley from all who attended this event I am sure that everyone gained something from the day.

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