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, January 19, 2012

WATCHER OF THE SKIES: Glaucous gulls, Somerset cranes, and the 'Lady of the Loch'

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....

Glaucous gulls arrive from Iceland in large numbers

Again from the RSPB, Alan Tissiman, Communications Manager, writes that RSPB Scotland is reporting 'a major influx of Iceland glaucous gulls to the west coast of Scotland. Over 100 birds have been recorded in Argyll alone with many more being seen in the Western Isles and Orkney and Shetland.' Conservation officer Martin Scott, based in Stornoway, said “These are beautiful ghostly birds with a suitably frosty appearance given that they have come down from the Arctic.

"The two species concerned are very similar although the glaucous gull is generally larger than the Iceland gull.

“Unlike our resident herring gulls, the two Arctic species don’t have any black on the wing tips – that’s useful for identification purposes. Many of the birds seem to be juveniles and have a beautifully patterned delicate plumage when seen close to.

“Unusually we are seeing more Iceland gulls than glaucous gulls this year. I imagine the recent windy weather must be having an effect and is pushing the birds into Scottish waters from the Atlantic. Good places to see them are harbours, particularly where there are fishing boats. Stornoway is proving a great place to find them at the moment but judging by reports the birds are being seen all around the Scottish coast. They are well worth looking out for!”

‘Lady of the Loch’
Scottish Wildlife Trust’s famous female osprey, known as ‘Lady of the Loch’ by her worldwide fans, has had a film produced about her. She has been returning to Loch of the Lowes in Perthshire and regularly producing chicks consecutively for the last 21 years. Filmmaker Lisa Trainer has included footage taken by a high definition camera installed in the osprey’s nest along with other filming. You can see the film here:


You can also watch a webcam live from the loch at: http://scottishwildlifetrust.org.uk/things-to-do/wildlife-webcams/loch-of-lowes/

Back in June 2010 there were concerns that she would die as footage showed her very ill in her nest, but she survived and is thought to be the oldest breeding female ever recorded in the UK, producing around 59 eggs from which 48 chicks survived. At the age of 26 in 2011 she has confounded experts by outliving what they thought was a life-span of 8 years! Undertaking a round trip of 6,000 miles to winter in Gambia is a pretty amazing feat considering her age. In the 1950s the osprey re-colonised the UK naturally after being persecuted to extinction as a breeding bird here in 1916. It is not as common as the golden eagle and there are only around 200 breeding pairs across Britain. But it seems that ‘Lady’ is doing her bit for the species.

Somerset’s wild cranes
Go to: http://www.wildlifeextra.com/go/news/somerset-cranes12.html to find more information on how you can experience “the magic of Somerset’s first wild reintroduced cranes.”
Wild cranes used to be a common sight on the Somerset Levels and Moors 400 years ago but hunting and habitat changes forced the birds to disappear. If you would like to be a part of one of the six events to hear a talk, have refreshments, see a video and see the flock of thirty wild cranes, click on the link above. You can also find out more about the Great Crane Project by visiting: http://www.thegreatcraneproject.org.uk/

They are magnificent-looking birds and can be up to 4ft (1.2m) tall, being around 20% larger than the grey heron. Our tallest breeding bird, they have a wingspan of up to 8ft (2.2-2.45m), which is even bigger than a white-tailed eagle.

Glaucous gull picture: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Larus_hyperboreus-USFWS.jpg


In recent decades scientific data, particularly ringing recoveries, have uncovered some of the migration secrets of many species of European bat. For example, we now know that at least four species of bat (Nathusius' Pipistrelle, Noctule, Leisler's Bat and Parti-coloured Bat) migrate vast distances from northeastern Europe to the southwest of the continent to spend the winter. Through ringing recoveries, certain individuals have been shown to fly huge distances, with record one-way autumn migrations of Nathusius' Pipistrelle and Parti-coloured Bat totalling 1,905 km (Latvia to France) and 1,787 km (Russia to France) respectively.

Read on

It has to be done....

RONAN COGHLAN: Where do polar bears come from?

No, I don't mean where do they come from today. I mean where did they come from originally? The Smurfit Institute of Genetics at Trinity College, Dublin, have discovered the answer. The remains of a brown bear between 20,000 and 50,000 years old have been found in a cave in Ireland. Use of mitochondrial DNA has shown she is an ancestor of all today's polar bears. Perhaps the flagging population of polar bears might increase if they were offered a diet of Guinness.

Ronan Coghlan

HAUNTED SKIES: Daily Telegraph 3.12.57.

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today


On this day in 1924 Benny Hill was born. If you’re wondering what that has to do with the paranormal and related subjects then maybe you should watch today’s sign-off vid and everything will become clear.

And now the news:

Can We Save the Whales by Putting a Price On Them?...
Cockroach Cyborgs Get Their Own Power Source
Saving Devon's Precious Pearls
Aye-aye lemur 'heats up' its special foraging fing...
Why Teens Are More Prone to Addiction, Mental Illn...
Captive rhino romance may be last hope for species...

A tale of terror! (pronounced ‘ter-roar’):

CFZ CANADA: The RCMP and Sasquatch

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) is the Canadian national public safety service for all of Canada. It provides national, federal, provincial and municipal policing, including services to 184 aboriginal communities and three international airports.

Their duties are varied and sometimes rather odd.


A few months ago I reported on a story from about 1955 of an ape-man in Hong Kong. At the time all I had was a report on a paranormal blog/website. This led me to a report in the Chinese language newspaper Ta Kung Pao of 8 March 1955 (see http://hkclweb.hkpl.gov.hk:8000/microfilm/1/BATCH29b/6871C4CC9FECC4C7512E49C2E297FC3B34487A75.tif)
Today I obtained a translation from the Chinese herbalist Superherbs in Macclesfield ( see pg. 12 Flying Snake 2), which has revealed that this is a “shaggy dog story” - literally!

The actual incident was as follows:
“A hairy beast was found in Makeng Village of Chizhu, Hong Kong. A policeman found her in the grass. The animal weighs about 50 kilos. As tall as a man, quite hairy all over. It was discovered that this was a huge hound. Raised by a local farmer. She was lost from the farm days before. It was said that she often appeared in the field at nights, people would be really scared if seeing the huge hound suddenly".
But what about those “triangular footprints”? If you remember they were mentioned in the original web report when I first did my blog about this.


DALE DRINNON: More California Monsters

Continuing the series on California Monsters:


Best Wishes,

Dale D.