Half a century ago, Belgian Zoologist Bernard Heuvelmans first codified cryptozoology in his book On the Track of Unknown Animals.

The Centre for Fortean Zoology (CFZ) are still on the track, and have been since 1992. But as if chasing unknown animals wasn't enough, we are involved in education, conservation, and good old-fashioned natural history! We already have three journals, the largest cryptozoological publishing house in the world, CFZtv, and the largest cryptozoological conference in the English-speaking world, but in January 2009 someone suggested that we started a daily online magazine! The CFZ bloggo is a collaborative effort by a coalition of members, friends, and supporters of the CFZ, and covers all the subjects with which we deal, with a smattering of music, high strangeness and surreal humour to make up the mix.

It is edited by CFZ Director Jon Downes, and subbed by the lovely Lizzy Bitakara'mire (formerly Clancy), scourge of improper syntax. The daily newsblog is edited by Corinna Downes, head administratrix of the CFZ, and the indexing is done by Lee Canty and Kathy Imbriani. There is regular news from the CFZ Mystery Cat study group, and regular fortean bird news from 'The Watcher of the Skies'. Regular bloggers include Dr Karl Shuker, Dale Drinnon, Richard Muirhead and Richard Freeman.The CFZ bloggo is updated daily, and there's nothing quite like it anywhere else. Come and join us...

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Wednesday, September 16, 2009


Max spent most of the summer doing his A-levels, which is - I suppose - a perfectly valid reason for him not having done any bloggo stuff for yonks. However he has managed to sneak out a few times to sit in his car and listen to Tarkus with a peculiar look on his face, and occasionall to do a little bit of bird watching. He usually takes his camera with him, and over the last few months has built up a fantastic library of images of the wildlife of the Wells region of Somerset. Here are some of them...

There is little interesting or special about this series of photographs. All we have is a series of ducks and geese that I saw in about 10 minutes of photography at a local lake. Never mind.

We start with one of Britain’s most successful aliens, the Canada goose. A large duck, along its range in North America some populations can be half the weight of others, but some of the larger races were released here on separate occasions to make up our mixed race Canada geese. They are a pretty species; although apparently dull the body’s feathers look like they have been painted over with a light brush of cream paint to create the grizzled effect on the brown feathers.

Now a rarer species: the pochard. An uncommon duck, it is easily seen in wetland nature reserves, but rarely in town and garden lakes. A pretty duck, the chestnut head gives its presence away. They sit very upright in the water before diving down like their close relatives Tufted ducks to catch their food. They are slow to get off the water in flight, and often take a long runway along with furious flapping and surface running to get them airborne.

Mallards have been domesticated for centuries, and here is a feral cultivated variety. It is larger and heavier-bodied than a wild individual, and most obviously, a very different colour. It seemed to have paired with the female below, and both ducks were happy for me to get quite close to photograph them. Mallards are so ubiquitous they have become the default duck for modern times. They adapt easily to human presence and are as such a common feature in watercourses around the UK.

Dumpy, black and white, and Britain’s most common diving duck, Tufted ducks are amongst the cutest of our local ducks. The males are a striking two tone with a funny crest that they erect to display to females, but it is lost when they shed to eclipse plumage.

There - some common Anseriformes.

1 comment:

Retrieverman said...

In addition to the Canada goose, we also have a similar, though much smaller species called the cackling goose. It was once thought to be a subspecies, but now, we consider it to be a unique species Branta hutchinsii.