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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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Indian summer deposits moth multitude

Hundreds of rare moths have flocked to the UK in what is being described as the best migration for years as a result of the recent record-breaking spell of warm weather. The last few days have seen the largest influx of the rare Flame Brocade moth for 130 years; experts believe it has now formed a colony at a site in Sussex. Other immigrants drawn in by the Indian summer include a spectacular species made famous by horror film The Silence of the Lambs — the Death's-head Hawk-moth — the beautiful Crimson Speckled, and the delicate Vestal moth.

Read on

RSPB: West Country bird of prey death toll rises

Peregrine death near Buckfastleigh brings poisoning incidents in Devon and Cornwall this year to eight

Devon and Cornwall Police and the RSPB are appealing for information following confirmation this week that a young peregrine falcon found dead at a quarry near Buckfastleigh had residues of both carbofuran and aldicarb. These banned pesticides are suspected to have contributed to the bird’s death.

This brings to eight the number of birds of prey killed in poisonings this year in the West Country. In March four goshawks and a buzzard were found dead to the west of Exeter and in July two peregrines were found near St Just in Cornwall.

The bird, a young female peregrine, was found by environmental consultants from URS Scott Wilson at Whitecleaves Quarry near Buckfastleigh on 21 July. Peregrines at this site have been targeted previously, with dead birds found in 2005, 2004 and 1992. On each occasion the birds had been poisoned.

Following the discovery, Natural England‘s Wildlife Incident Investigation Scheme (WIIS) was notified and began an investigation. The body was sent for analysis and it was confirmed last week that both had residues of the banned substances aldicarb and carbofuran. The latter was also identified in the previous cases this year.

Wildlife conservationists have mounting concern over the presence of these chemicals in the wider countryside.

Ivan Lakin, Natural England’s Wildlife Adviser in Devon said: “Peregrine falcons have suffered from illegal poisoning in Devon for 20 years – often tricked into consuming poisoned ‘live bait.’ The poison which we have seen used in many of these cases was banned more than a decade ago and it can be potentially as dangerous to the public, children and pets as it is to birds of prey.

“We treat such incidents seriously and will continue our work with other agencies under the Wildlife Incident Investigation Scheme, with the main objective of stopping illegal persecution and prosecuting people responsible for these senseless crimes.”

Tony Whitehead, spokesperson for the RSPB in the South West said; “I was truly shocked to see the images of the dead bird. Peregrines at this site have a long history of persecution. In 2005 a bird was found dead on the body of a pigeon. The pigeon had its wings purposely clipped and it had been doused with poison. In 2004 a peregrine was found dead near to a pigeon spiked with the poison malathion. And in July 1992 a peregrine was found dead alongside another pigeon similarly treated with malathion.

”This has been a truly awful year for birds of prey in the West Country. Whatever the motives of the people that carry out these deliberate acts, we must not forget that they are nothing more than common criminals. They show no regard for these magnificent and much loved birds of prey and also show little regard for the safety of people and their pets walking in the countryside. This needs to be stopped.”

PC Josh Marshall, Wildlife Crime Officer in Devon said: “This strikes a chord with me as I visited the site this year and watched the birds at the site while the female was incubating.

Nationally, bird of prey persecution is continuing to be a major problem, particularly this year in the south west and in Devon. In terms of wildlife crime, we welcome the fact that bird of prey persecution has been identified as a key priority for wildlife crime enforcement. Investigations can be complex and are often initially out of the public eye until analysis results are obtained, then as in the case, we frequently appeal for anyone with information to come forward to assist with our enquiries.”

Anyone found guilty of an offence against birds of prey can be liable to a fine of up to £5000 (per offence) or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months, or both.

If anyone has information regarding this they can call 101 quoting crime number JA/11/423. Alternatively if members of the public wish to remain anonymous they can call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. The public can also contact the RSPB on 0845 466 3636. All information is handled in the strictest confidence. The RSPB is offering a reward of £1000 for information leading to a conviction.


HAUNTED SKIES: 1970 letters from 'Flying Saucer Review' to researcher Bob Tibbitts


OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today

Yesterday’s News Today

On this day in 1879 Thomas Edison tested the world’s first electric light bulb. The bulb lasted about 19 hours before it burned out.
And now the news:
Narwhal tracking project helps chart species’ futu...
Seal deaths rise to 128; scientist cites toxins
World’s rarest marsupial moves to Australia’s main...
Iceland exports more Fin whale meat to Japan
Possible new species of bird discovered in Angola
Gulf of California terrorized by ONE-EYED MUTANT S...
Boulder cat has close encounter with mountain lion...

Ever wondered how a bulb is made? Well, wonder no more:

KARL SHUKER: Rothschild's Mynah

To promote my soon-to-be-published Encyclopaedia of New and Rediscovered Animals - the fully-revised, thoroughly-updated, and greatly-expanded third incarnation of what began as The Lost Ark in 1993, and then became The New Zoo in 2002 - during the next few weeks I shall be excerpting from this latest book of mine as a series of ShukerNature exclusives some of the remarkable animals whose discoveries or rediscoveries are celebrating notable anniversaries in 2011. Here's one of them.