IT’S NOT just humans that need a dating agency these days, it seems there’s a dire need for it in the northern islands to find the right ‘bird’!

Apparently, a female snowy owl has appeared in mainland Shetland, on its highest hill, Ronas, and experts are hopping that she’ll hear the lonely calls of a male snowy that’s been 170 miles away in the Orcadian island of Eday for more than three years looking for a bird (geddit?).

If they finally get to have a get together, any chicks they produce will be the first in the British Isles for more than 40 years. Not since a pair on Fetlar, in the Shetlands, had a fling for eight years and produced 21 chicks in the process, including a menage et trois with a second female, has a snowy owl bred in the wild here.

The male on Eday, though, appears pretty happy with bachelorhood ... maybe he just doesn’t give a hoot.

Looking for love 1

THE BBC’S Love in the Countryside – a dating programme aimed at matching up like-minded rural souls in the search for love – is coming back to our screens.

A screening date has yet to be finalised, but organisers are looking for one person to fill a remaining slot of country people looking for a mate. Five out of the six spots are already spoken for, including a name well-known to dog handlers, Katie Cropper.

But one slot remains unfulfilled and the BBC are still looking for some likely candidates searching for that Mr or Mrs Right. If you think this is your big chance, then e-mail your name, age and number to:

The next stage is to find someone up to the selection process to get themselves a date with the chosen few, so you can do that by checking out the profiles on those already selected here:

Rog and veggie mince

The Herald’s farming correspondent, Rog Wood, has been out of sorts recently, but he is now back near home in hospital in Dumfries.

But, as The Raider found out on a recent visit to see him in the swanky new Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary, he has lost none of his waspish wit on the way to recovery – though some of it may be lost on the busy nursing brigade who have been helping him along.

His lunch – he assured us on our visit – was a lamb mince dish specially made for him by his wife Carmen. However, we suspect he knew full well that it was actually the bog standard hospital food and was ... wait for it ... vegetarian mince!

Rog appeared to be astounded by this news – I suspect he knew full well – but he did ask that no one tell his loyal band of readers and ‘many admirers’ that he had actually quite enjoyed eating that ‘veggie’ dish!