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, February 04, 2012

WATCHER OF THE SKIES: Red kites, Glossy Ibis and Thrushes (two different ones)

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...

Poisoned red kite ninth to die
A breeding female red kite has become the ninth of this species to die from illegal poisoning according to park rangers. It had been nesting on a farm near Redcross, Co Wicklow, and was found near Brittas Bay late last year.

Red kite project manager Dr Marc Ruddock said it was a demoralising loss. "These birds are specialist scavengers, that's why they are finding these food sources which are sadly poisoned. They are designed to clean up the countryside," he said.

"These illegal actions jeopardise local biodiversity and the economically important and deserved reputation and profile natural Wicklow cherishes."

Dr Ruddock called for anyone with information on poisonings to contact local National Parks and Wildlife Service rangers and gardai to help identify and confront individuals repeatedly and illegally poisoning wildlife. Penalties for illegally poisoning birds of prey can be up to 5,000 euro or 12 years in prison.

Read more at: http://www.google.com/hostednews/ukpress/article/ALeqM5jLSzhK068QMN_t3vFfbqi_AhODwA?docId=N0173911327676120364A

Thrushes identification
The BTO (British Trust for Ornithology) has been helping householders to identify the difference between the commonly confused song (Turdus philomelos) and mistle thrush (Turdus viscivorus) and has launched a free guide to help. These birds are both of conservation concern and it is important that their numbers are counted correctly.

Tim Harrison of the BTO Garden Ecology Team commented: “Research shows that urbanised habitats have become very important for Song (LEFT) and Mistle (RIGHT) Thrushes. With broader concerns about the health of their populations, charting their numbers in gardens correctly is important.”

He added: “BTO data show that Song Thrushes had a bumper breeding season in 2011, but with so many inexperienced birds now on the scene it is important that we help them as best we can. This is done by providing food and water, and also by recording them accurately. This is where the free BTO guide will help.”

For the free BTO guide to Song Thrush and Mistle Thrush, email gbw@bto.org, telephone 01842 750050, or write to:

Thrushes Guide,
GBW, British Trust for Ornithology,
The Nunnery, Thetford, Norfolk, IP24 2PU.

Preview the free BTO Song Thrush vs. Mistle Thrush guide here
Picture Credits: The British Trust for Ornithology (BTO)

Rare wetland birds spotted on the Isle of Eigg
The glossy ibis (Plegadis falcinellus) is classed as a scarce visitor to our shores, but during this winter there have been sporadic sightings in the northwest and the southwest of England, and south Wales. It is a wader that feeds in very shallow water, and nests in fresh water among reeds or rushes in areas of low trees and bushes. This month a group of them has been spotted on the Isle of Eigg, which is a Scottish Wildlife Trust reserve. The Trust’s ranger on the Isle of Eigg, John Chester, said:

“Ibises are a very noteworthy species within the UK & especially here in west Scotland. As a first record for the island they have generated a lot of interest amongst the local people many of whom have been able to see the birds.

“We’re not sure as yet where these birds originated from, though it seems that it could be Spain or France. However as one of them is ringed we’ll hopefully be able to obtain more information on this.

“Why exactly they’ve turned up on Eigg, especially in such a wild & wet winter, is a real mystery but they certainly seem to be having no trouble finding food in the heavily flooded marshes.

“Hopefully they’ll continue to hang around for a while & are enjoying the Hebridean winter.”

Read more at: http://scottishwildlifetrust.org.uk/news/rare-wetland-birds-spotted-on-the-isle-of-eigg/
Picture credit: Wikipedia – Glossy Ibis breeding plumage


What a sweetie he is...


You may remember that last summer portrait photographer Thom Atkinson visited the CFZ and photographed Jon for an art project (don't giggle - it wasn't THAT kind of art project). Here - for the first time - are three pictures from the session..


HAUNTED SKIES: Daily Telegraph 22.5.59.

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today


On this day in 1952 Queen Elizabeth II became queen of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth Realms, which means that today is technically her Diamond Jubilee, although the jubilee is usually celebrated on the anniversary of the official coronation.

And now the news:

What If All the Cats in the World Suddenly Died?
News of Jellyfish Takeover Unfounded, Scientists S...
A Battle of the Vampires, 20 Million Years Ago?
Pigeon fanciers investigated by police for Peregri...
New hope for world’s rarest gorilla
81 dolphins have died along Cape Cod shore
Wildlife 'facing a tough summer' with water shorta...
Atlantic sturgeon's listing as endangered could af...

The golden Jubilee saw Brian May playing the national anthem on Buckingham palace roof, which was quite cool imo so here’s a clip:


Hi Jon,

I found this tonight whilst browsing the Icelandic news. I have my doubts, but it does appear to move upstream in relation to the bank side vegetation in the first part of the clip.

All the best, Peter Thain


We also received notification of this from Andreas Trottmann..

DALE DRINNON: Bigfoot/Mining Hastened Erosion/Cedar and Willow

New on the Frontiers of Zoology:
New on the Frontiers of Anthropology:
New on 'Cedar and Willow':