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News round-up / Jarl squad donations, sea eagle exhibition, new worm discovered, improv comedy gig

Cheques were presented by guizer jarl John Nicolson to Dianne Gear from Cancer Research and Melanie Dawson of the MRI scanner appeal. Photo: Gordon Siegel

THE LERWICK guizer jarl John Nicolson and his squad of Vikings have donated £1,000 each to the MRI scanner appeal and Cancer Research UK.

The money had been raised through a bar jar and cheques were presented to Melanie Dawson of the MRI appeal’s voluntary committee and Dianne Gear of Cancer Research on Saturday afternoon.

Jarl Nicolson said the two charities were chosen because his mum Barbara passed away from cancer 25 years ago.

John added that the sudden death of his close friend and 2011 guizer jarl John Hunter had also influenced his decision to donate to the MRI scanner appeal.

The white tailed sea eagle is Britain’s largest bird of prey. Photo: John Lowrie Irvine

A THREE-month long exhibition telling the story of the white-tailed ‘sea’ eagle in Shetland will open at the Shetland Museum and Archives on Saturday.

As part of the Shetland Nature Festival, which runs from 6 to 14 July, Shetland Museum curator Dr Ian Tait will give a talk on Shetland’s role in the extinction of the majestic bird in the early 20thcentury. This will take place in the museum on 8 July at 7.30pm.

White-tailed eagles prey on carrion, rabbits, fish and birds but have also been known to take lambs and hens.

Dr Tait said: “It was for this reason that humans became the eagle’s deadly enemy. People climbed cliffs to raid the eggs, and guns and poison were used in an attempt to control this majestic raptor.

“Laws to protect the birds began in the late nineteenth century and Reverend Ernest Sorby was fined the equivalent of £1,500 today’s money for killing a bird in 1904 in Yell.”

In 1968 attempts were made by the Fair Isle bird observatory to re-introduce the eagle. Although the experiment did not work in Shetland, it paved the way for successful reintroductions in the Hebrides and they have now spread north as far as Orkney.

Ampharete oculicirrata has eyes in its head and in its bottom. Photo: DEFRA

MARINE scientists have discovered a new species of worm with eyes in its head and in its bottom in the West Shetland Shelf marine protected area (MPA).

Now given the scientific name Ampharete oculicirrata , the worm was collected by scientists from the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) and Marine Scotland Science (MSS) whilst surveying the protected area to the southwest of Shetland.

The survey was the first to explore the animals within and on the seabed in this area and marks the beginning of a programme of long-term monitoring.

Jessica Taylor, marine evidence advisor from JNCC, said: “This new species is an exciting and interesting addition to the work we do in marine protected areas.

“The fact that it was found in relatively shallow depths, relatively close to the Scottish coastline, shows just how much more there is to understand about the creatures that live in our waters.”

Ruth Barnich, a principal scientist in the marine team at Thomson Environmental Consultants, added: “We saw many rare and unusual species which are typical of deeper waters, such as brittle stars and various polychaetes and shrimps.”

A scientific paper detailing the find in full has just been published in the June edition of the European Journal of Taxonomy (No 531 (2019)).

FOLLOWING a successful trip to the first-ever Edinburgh International Improv Festival earlier this year, local comedy troupe The Imposters will be taking to the Lerwick Legion stage once again.

As in previous shows, but “better than ever” according to their own assessment, the night will be of two halves – short-form games and sketches for the first half, and a long-form comedy for the second.

Five Imposters – Alex Garrick-Wright, Jill Charleson, Matthew Simpson, Les Sinclair and Thomas Jones – will be taking to the stage with no scripts. Everything that happens is improvised and based on suggestions and ideas from the audience.

Tickets for the show on 28 June are available from Eventbrite, priced at £7, with unsold tickets (if any) to be sold on the door.