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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Friday, May 18, 2012

JON'S JOURNAL: Hedge Mustard Mystery

Last year there was en immense glut of hedge mustard. Everywhere you looked there were enormous amounts of these delightful flowering plants.

This year there were hardly any.

Last year, the grassy bank at the side of the road juyst before you reach Asda on the outskirts of Bideford was lilac in colour because of the profusion of the flowers. This year there were none there at all.

The only place where there is more of these plants than there were last year is in our garden, and I have no idea how they got here in the first place. Last year, for the first time there was one solitary flower spike just a few yards away from my study window.

This year there are about eight.
The thing that really confuses me is that last year there was an equally spectacular glut of orange tip butterflies. This year there are hardly any - I have seen about four.

The wild flowers on the whole have not been very good this year so far, and I am wondering whether it has been because of the spectacularly mild winter that we have had. Do the plants need to have the biological trigger of frozen ground in order to do well?

But why have they done so well in our garden?

This year we had no snow or ice at all until February, and when it did come it killed most of the frogspawn. Was it also too late for the flowers? And did the mild weather fail to kill off the parasites that prey on the hibernating caterpilars and chyrysalides?

I would like to know...

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