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, April 24, 2012

WATCHER OF THE SKIES: bitterns, marsh harriers, peregrine falcons, osprey

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 aforementioned ones...

Early birds in with chance of a sighting
The RSPB Lakenheath Fen nature reserve is holding a guided walk to look for marsh harriers and bitterns, two of Britain’s rarest nesting birds, this coming Sunday. 

A three-mile walk concentrating on the reserve’s reedbeds will be held between 7am-10am.

David White, information officer at the reserve, said: “Both marsh harriers and bitterns are thriving here at Lakenheath Fen. Early mornings usually offer the best chance to see these rare birds, especially bitterns.”

The walk costs £6 for adults, £3 for children, half price for RSPB members. Coffee and a croissant can be bought for an extra £2.

Booking is essential. Call (01842) 863400, or email lakenheath@rspb.org.uk.

Police ask people to help Calderdale’s at-risk birds and wildlife
This is the time of year when most of Calderdale’s protected bird species are nesting and incubating eggs, thus make them most at risk from people disturbing their nests – a criminal offence.
All Calderdale’s protected species, including the Peregrine Falcon, Twite and Curlew, have their nesting sites monitored by volunteers who report suspicious activity to the police.
But there are other steps that can be taken, said Calderdale Police’s wildlife  officer Special Constable Phil Sanderson:
“Walkers are asked to keep dogs on leads while exercising their dogs during lambing season and to be also aware that, despite the recent spell of wet weather, the upland reaches and moorland are susceptible to fire,” he said.
“The public are reminded that in the upland reaches of Calderdale any activity they are concerned about such as illegal off-roading can be reported via www.moorwatch.co.uk as an alternative to contacting the police as long as it is not an emergency.”
Peregrine falcons nest at several sites across Calderdale but are at risk from professional criminals because of the high value of their eggs.

Could ospreys return to the North-East?
Roy Dennis has earned international acclaim for his work in successfully reintroducing sea eagles and ospreys to Scotland and red kites to other parts of the UK.  Following sightings of fish-catching ospreys over the Teesside and North Yorkshire border, his advice has been sought on ways to entice the birds to stay and breed.
The osprey had been extinct as a breeding bird in England since 1847, but in 2009 it bred in Kielder Forest in Northumberland and last year a further breeding pair joined them on specially-constructed high platforms.
Northumbrian Water says it is “very early days” to talk about attracting breeding ospreys to Scaling, but local wildlife enthusiasts are hopeful the birds could be breeding near the reservoir within the next five years.
Mr Parker said: “Roy Dennis has given us some extremely useful guidance. It is extremely exciting. We cannot guarantee anything, but if you provide the right conditions and get a couple of birds of the right age lingering, there is no reason why they cannot begin to breed.”

1 comment:

Retrieverman said...

I saw an osprey while on a fishing trip a few weeks ago.

The North American population is doing well.