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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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

OLL LEWIS: The Birds

In 1952 Daphne du Maurier wrote a novelette called The Birds’about when birds decide that they’ve had quite enough of people and attack them en mass in a Cornish coastal town. The story was later adapted into a fantastic film by Alfred Hitchcock and is probably hovering near the top of some studio executives pile of films to make disappointing remakes of.

The first act of the film partially concerns an unusually large build up of birds in one small town, before the attacks begin. An observant person in Woolsery might have noticed a similar thing happening around the CFZ HQ in recent weeks, and I offer my sincere apologies in advance to the citizens of the village in advance should they start getting dive-bombed by swarms of blue tits.

The reason for this unnervingly large conglomeration of avians is that during the recent snows we felt sorry for our feathered friends and started to feed them a few little morsels to help them through the worst of the weather while they would be finding it difficult to forage for food. Naturally hand-outs of seeds, fat and bacon rind proved a hit with the local birds and despite the lack of Art Deco architecture ‘Le Cottage Myrtle’ became the in-place to be seen for sophisticated ‘Flappers’.

Because this small amount of food had attracted a nice selection of different species of birds it was then decided that we should put up bird feeders on a permanent basis, so we placed four large feeders hanging from the trees around the gardens. This was when all hell broke loose, as it were. Each week we are getting through two kilos of birdseed to feed our ever-growing list of garden visitors. I’m quite proud of the number of different species we’re attracting to the garden and the amounts: we have over 30 individuals of some of the smaller species that visit the garden.

At present (this week) our garden visitors appear to be:

-Blue tits (Cyanistes caeruleus obscurus)
-Willow tits (Poecile montanus)
-House sparrows (Passer domesticus)
-European Starlings (Sturnus vulgaris vulgaris)
-Chiffchaffs (Phylloscopus collybita)
-Bramblings (Fringilla montifringilla)

-Robins (Erithacus rubecula)
-Blackbirds (Turdus merula)
-Turtle doves (Streptopelia turtur)
-Jackdaws (Corvus monedula)
-Tree creepers (Certhia familiaris)

None of the birds I’ve spotted in the garden since we started feeding have been especially rare, but some species that are visiting the CFZ grounds are getting rarer. Between 1980 and 2005 numbers of turtle doves declined by 62% and numbers of willow tits declined by 58% so by getting our garden birds through the winter we’ve done our small bit to help these species.

NICK REDFERN: Neil Arnold is going from Strength to Strength


This is excellent news: good mate Neil Arnold has just set up four new blogs devoted to big-cat research in Britain. As you'll see from the links below, Neil's new blogs are focused on big-cat activity, reports, sightings and breaking news from the English counties of Surrey, Sussex and Kent - as well as in the general southeast part of the country.

If you've read Neil's book The Mystery Animals of the British Isles: Kent, you'll know how deeply he has dug into the big-cat controversy in his home-county of Kent; and doubtless we'll see equally good material at the blogs. Be sure to regularly check them out!



And if you're interested in hearing Neil speak about his research into mysterious animals, out-of-place creatures and more, here's a list of his upcoming gigs in England:

  • Tuesday 16th February 2010 - 7:00pm - Eastchurch Gardening Club, Village Hall, Warden Rd, Sheppey.

  • Thursday 18th February 2010 - 7:30 pm - Rodmersham WI, Rodmersham Village Hall.

  • Tuesday 23rd February 2010 - 10:00 am - Bexley NHS Retirement Fellowship, Social Club, Calvert Drive, Bexley.

  • Wednesday 24th February 2010 - 2:00pm - Dartford KARF, Brent Methodist Church Hall, St Vincents Rd, Dartford, Kent, DA1 1XF

  • Wednesday 3rd March 2010 - 2:00pm - Gravesham Ladies Club, Christ Church Hall, Old Rd East, DA12 1NR,

  • Wednesday 3rd March 2010 - 8:00pm - Matfield WI, Matfield Village Hall.

  • Monday 8th March 2010 - 7:30 pm - London Monster Walk - Meet at outside Starbucks next to Holborn Viaduct.

  • Tuesday 9th March 2010 - 8:30pm - Halstead WI, Halstead Village Hall, Sevenoaks, Kent.

  • Wednesday 10th March 2010 - 2:00pm - Ashford ARA, Centrepiece, Bank Street, Ashford, Kent.

  • Monday 15th March 2010 - 8:00pm - Allington Castle WI, Palace Wood School, Allington, Maidstone.

  • Tuesday 16th March 2010 - 2:00pm - Meopham ARA, Meopham Village Hall, Wrotham Rd, Meopham, Kent.

  • Tuesday 16th March 2010 - 8:00pm - Joydens Wood WI, Community Centre, Birchwood Drive, Joydens Wood.

  • Wednesday 17th March 2010 - 2:00pm - Faversham ARA, United Church, Preston Street, Faversham, Kent.

  • Wednesday 17th March 2010- 8:15pm - Detling WI, Detling Village Hall, Maidstone, Kent.

  • Thursday 18th March 2010 - 7:30pm - NW Kent Group of the Wildlife Trust, Mick Jagger Centre, Dartford Boys Grammar School, Shepherds Lane, Dartford.

  • Saturday 20th March 2010 - 11:00am - Gravesend Info Centre, 18a St George's Square, Gravesend, Kent, DA11 0TB.

  • Tuesday 23rd March 2010 - 7:30pm - Explorer Scout Unit, Guzzlebrooke (awaiting details)

  • Wednesday 24th March 2010 - 10:00am - Crayford Probus Club, VCD Athletic Club, Old Rd, Crayford, Kent, DA1 4DN.

  • Wednesday 24th March 2010 - 8:15pm - Aylesford WI, Brassey Centre, Aylesford, Kent.

  • Thursday 25th March 2010 - 2:15pm - Hans Volunteer Group Gillingham, Millennium Centre, Rainham.

  • Thursday 1st April 2010 - 8:30 pm - Cuxton WI, St Michaels Church Hall, Cuxton.

  • Tuesday 6th April 2010 - 1:30om - 55+ Fellowship, Wyvern Hall, Sittingbourne.

  • Monday 12th April 2010 - 1:45pm - Sole Street Monday Club, St Mary's Church, Manor Rd, Sole Street.


Dear Jon,

Well, if this would not make me old Grandma Sarah proud of me, I dont know what would, sniff.

Regards David Shamus O'Curtissey

P.S Or on the other hand she may have said to me..."You shameless gobshite, is there no depths you will plummet to bring disgrace unpon the family!"

EDITOR'S NOTE: His band are usually just known as Happy the Man...

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday’s News Today


On this day in 1996 the NEAR Shoemaker Probe was launched. The probe would become the first man-made object to land on an asteroid on the 12th of February 2001.
And now, the news:

Rare Leopard Caught On Video
Coral Fossils Document Past Sea Life
Full steam ahead for elephants' unique gait
Alton Towers bans rogue squirrel from rollercoaster
Three-legged baseball dog
Edible creepy crawlies go on sale at Chessington World of Adventures
Caring for Pets Left Behind by the Rapture
Croc calls golf course home
Gran fights off shark

“We’re going to need a bigger ‘butt’…”