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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Saturday, January 14, 2012

WATCHER OF THE SKIES: Ageing swans and Irish blackcaps

As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... about out of place birds, rare vagrants and basically all things feathery and Fortean.

Because we live in strange times, there are more and more bird stories that come her way, so she has now moved onto the main CFZ bloggo with a new column with the same name as her afore-mentioned ones....

The Winterling is the name given to a Berwick swan that has migrated to Slimbridge Wetland Centre in Gloucestershire to spend the winter there each year. She would have turned 29 last year and if she returns to the reserve she will be the oldest recorded wild swan.

According to Dave Paynter, who is reserve manager at Slimbridge, geese, ducks and swan numbers have been down so far this winter due to the mild weather, although there have been higher numbers of waders such as lapwing, dunlin and golden plover. However, some birds further north have delayed their migration and it is hoped that the expected arrival of a spell of cold, dryer weather, together with easterly winds, will encourage a late migration and that reserves like Slimbridge will see an influx of wintering birds.
You can read more about this at: http://www.google.com/hostednews/ukpress/article/ALeqM5gCoDl6WXIMNbbdUIzkzGnr34wc8g?docId=N0951951326386982687A

Once a scarce visitor from Africa during our summer months, the blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla) is now a fairly common winter caller at garden bird tables in Waterford, Ireland.

The blackcap is a member of the Sylviidae family, and the RSPB bird guide describes it as "a distinctive greyish warbler, the male has a black cap, and the female a chestnut one. Its delightful fluting song has earned it the name 'northern nightingale'.”

Waterford Today looks into why the species chooses to ignore its usual wintering areas in southern Europe and North Africa.


Don’t forget that the RSPB is holding its Big Garden Birdwatch on Saturday January 28 and Sunday January 29. Log on to http://www.rspb.org.uk/ for more information.

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