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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In between each episode of OTT, we now present OTTXtra. Here are the last three episodes:


Click on this logo to find out more about helping CFZtv and getting some smashing rewards...


Unlike some of our competitors we are not going to try and blackmail you into donating by saying that we won't continue if you don't. That would just be vulgar, but our lives, and those of the animals which we look after, would be a damn sight easier if we receive more donations to our fighting fund. Donate via Paypal today...

Thursday, November 03, 2011

RSPB: Wildlife charity celebrates 30 years of Avocet Cruises on the Exe

The RSPB is celebrating 30 years of its boat trips showing people birds on the Exe Estuary in Devon.

The charity started their ‘Avocet Cruises’ in 1981 and was one the first to offer regular wildlife cruises. They are now part of the RSPB’s hugely popular Date with Nature projects that aim to get people outdoors and watching wildlife across the UK.

Peter Exley, Regional Public Affairs Manager for the RSPB said: ‘When the cruises first started it wasn’t clear if there would be any demand as it was such a novel idea. The first boat we used was the Devon Princess and the very first cruise sold out almost immediately. We were so please we put on a further three.

Since then we’ve carried between 35-40,000 passengers on the Exe”

Reflecting on other changes over the past 30 years Peter added: “Since we started the Avocet Cruises the number of wintering avocets in the UK has risen from less than a thousand to just short of 3400. This gives an impression of how successfully these birds have recovered over the past thirty years.

“And in 1981 the RSPB had a membership of 300,000, and managed 78 nature reserves - today our membership is nearly 1.1 million and we manage 207 nature reserves. This success is we feel in no small part due to the growing popularity of wildlife encouraged through events such as the cruises.”

RSPB Avocet Cruises depart from two locations on the estuary: Topsham and Starcross and passengers are able to enjoy unrivalled views of up to 40 species of bird including avocets, black-tailed godwits, brent geese, little egrets, curlews, lapwings and oystercatchers.

As well as offering people the chance to enjoy an amazing wildlife spectacle, the cruises have also provided a boost to the local economy.

Three separate boat operators, two of which offer RSPB avocet cruises, now take people out on the river to see birds. The cruises also raise valuable funds to support the charity’s work in the South West.

Sarah Webb, who has organised this year’s cruises for the RSPB said: ‘Over the last 30 years we have worked to make these events accessible for as wide a range of people as possible - you don’t have to know your curlew from your dark-bellied brent goose to come have a good time and to enjoy the fantastic scenery and wildlife.’

The cruises start on 10 November 2011 and run regularly to 25 February 2012. To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the cruises the RSPB has also organised three special cruises in addition to its normal programme. On Sunday 20 November, the RSPB is inviting people to join a dawn cruise and watch the estuary wake up. Depart Topsham 6.45am and finish with a breakfast at the Route 2 Café in Topsham. On Sunday 27 November there is a family cruise to discover the special wildlife on the Exe with commentary from RSPB Wildlife Explorers club president and TV wildlife expert, Nick Baker. And on Sunday 22 January 2012 there will be a special photography cruise where you can join experts for a lesson in how to get the most from your compact camera whilst getting some great close up views of avocets and other waders and wildfowl.

On all the cruises there will be a specially produced limited edition Avocet Cruise pin badge available on board.

Avocet Cruises are one of the RSPB’s Date with Nature projects that aim to enable people to get closer to some of the most exciting wildlife in Britain. To book a place on a cruise contact the RSPB on 01392 432 691 and for details visit https://www.rspb.org.uk/datewithnature/146928-avocet-cruises

MAUREEN IS BACK - and now she's gone

Finally after an intensive campaign of research and trapping, we are proud to announce that the elusive mammal which has been lurking at the top of the CFZ Grounds for days, has now been (re)captured.

For the third time in two years, Graham has managed to trap Maureen the rabbit in a makeshift trap. Later today she will join her erstwhile hutch-mate `Pringle` in her new home, as pets to a young lady called Kelsi (who was last seen in this year's WW intro video playing a mean guitar)


We gave you a head's up the other day that new new generation of explorer/cryptozoologists is upon us - Ladies and Gentlemen, may I introduce Master Flint Archer...

This, however, opens another can of worms. If
he becomes friends with another CFZ sproggy, Richard Pharo's little boy, doesn't the combination of 'Flint Archer' and 'Drake Pharo' sound like an impossibly butch TV show?




Edwards's Pheasant Lophura edwardsi is endemic to the lowland forests of central Vietnam. These forests have been impacted by habitat loss and over-exploitation. The lack of recent records of Edwards's Pheasant, together with these substantial threats, is a serious cause for concern about the species' survival.

Edwards's Pheasant was first described in 1896 and remained virtually unknown until the 1920s. Although the species was described as locally common in the past, it has only ever been recorded from a few sites within a restricted range. Between 1930 and 1996 the species was assumed to be extinct, but surveys in the late 1990s suggested that the species survived in several sites in Quang Tri and Quang Binh Provinces. Since 2000, however, there have been no confirmed records of the species.

Read on...

Image Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lophura_edwardsi

HAUNTED SKIES: Some disparate odds and sods, and a plug for Volume Four



Yesterday’s News Today

On this day in 1995 Paul Eddington died. Eddington was best known for his roles in British comedies, The Good Life and Yes Minister/Prime Minister. There is nothing particularly Fortean about that but Yes Minister is one of my favourite TV shows of all time so I’m sure you can forgive me the indulgence.
And now the news:

Fruit Fly Intestine May Hold Secret to Fountain of...
Massive bird kill at US wind farm
Guy Gibson: ghost of Dambusters dog 'found' at air...
Four 'ugly' mutant albino turtles donated to aquar...
Two-headed albino milk snake shows its true colour...
Eagle brings down paraglider over Himalayas
Teeth and jaw are from 'earliest Europeans' (via D...

A classic clip from Yes Prime Minister, as true today as it was then:


We have done some cleaning up on the CFZ websites. We have got rid of the domain CFZtv.org, and are using our YouTube channel instead. We have fixed a few dodgy links, and amended the blurb about CFZtv. We will be doing more odds and sods throughout the day so if anyone has problems getting on to the site, please be forbearing....

CRYPTOZOOLOGY ONLINE: On The Track (Of Unknown Animals) Episode 51

The latest episode of our monthly webTV show from the CFZ and CFZtv, bringing you the latest cryptozoological, and monster hunting news from around the world.

This episode brings you:

CFZ in autumn
An excuse
Richard's new book
Pygmy goats
Orang pendek witness
Jon is about to be sued by Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons
Trail cams
Rossi's raprtors
It's Rabbit Moving Time
Changes at the CFZ
Corinna looks at out of place birds
New and Rediscovered: New deer
New and Rediscovered: New frogs
New and Rediscovered: Rediscovered bee



The CFZ will be at Uncon this year; Richard is lecturing, and Corinna and I will have a stall. However, we will have less CFZfolk than usual, so if there are any blogfolk out there who fancy lending a hand on the stall or doing a spoot of videoing for CFZtv please email me at jon@eclipse.co.uk

By the way, some people were speculating on the FT Message Board that my non-appearance as a speaker is because of my failing health. It is kind of you to be concerned. My health is fairly poor these days, but the main reason I am not on the bill is that there was nothing that I actually wanted to talk about this year..

See you on the day...

DALE DRINNON: Sky Creatures at 'Cedar and Willow'

I have another link for Cedar and Willow. The bottom part of it includes information and photos on Sky Creatures (Animal UFOs) You might want to look it over.