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...

Search This Blog



Click on this logo to find out more about helping CFZtv and getting some smashing rewards...


Unlike some of our competitors we are not going to try and blackmail you into donating by saying that we won't continue if you don't. That would just be vulgar, but our lives, and those of the animals which we look after, would be a damn sight easier if we receive more donations to our fighting fund. Donate via Paypal today...

Thursday, May 03, 2012


There is an interesting note in Glover M. Allen`s ` The Mammals of China and Mongolia` concerning a certain species of otter. Whilst trying (and failing) to find mention of otters in Hong Kong I did find the following quite interesting comment in Part 1 of said book:

“At a trading station in Hainan Swinhoe (1870a p.229) (1) procured three skins and noted the difference between these and the skins of other otters , the minute pointless claws, toes longer and more fully webbed than in Aonyx, and the relatively long first toe of the hind foot. He believed that it was different from Malacca specimens in its longer tail and lack of a white throat. He adds that the bones of this otter found in caverns are ground by the Chinese and applied to wounds from poisoned arrows in order to absorb the poison. The natives in Hainan believe that this is a cross between the common otter and the gibbon and it is there known as “Mountain otter”. Anderson (1879, p.213) (2) records that he found otters of this genus in western Yunnan , in the hills to the eastward of Bhamo, Burma. Two skins that he procured seemed brighter colored than the average Micraonyx cinera.

Other than these, there are no definite records of the small-clawed otters in southern China”

1. Robert Swinhoe Zoological Notes of a journey from Canton to Peking and Kalgan Proc. Zoo. Soc.Lon 1870 pp 427-451
2. John Anderson Anatomical and zoological researches….1878 London
3. Glover M. Allen The Mammals of China and Mongolia Part 1 p.

WATCHER OF THE SKIES: Cuckoos, bird slaughter, rare birds, marine litter, black swan, black grouse

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...

Update on the BTO Cuckoos

The survivors are nearly back in the UK and Lyster is now the nearest, being in Paris, and Chris is currently in Milan.

Unfortunately, however, Martin is presumed dead after his transmission ceased in southern Spain.  His tag temperature dropped from a normal 30-32 degrees C to 11.7 – a gradual change over the course of a night. 

It was previously thought that all Cuckoos left for North Africa or Europe via a long flight direct from their southern hemisphere wintering locations. With this unfolding new information about where they prepare for the spring desert crossing BTO will be in a much better position to assess what determines how many Cuckoos make it back to Britain each spring and why they arrive early or late.

Click here to go to the BTO Cuckoo blog 

Police Officer from Torbay, Devon joins fight against Cyprus bird slaughter
PC Josh Marshall is a Torbay police officer who has joined an EU charity mission (CABS- Committed Against Bird Slaughter) against the illegal bird slaughter in Cyprus.  He will be giving up hours of his free time to help his counterparts in Cyprus tackle wildlife crime such as the illegal trapping of tens of thousands of rare birds which are then sold as delicacies fetching exorbitant prices.  He will be off to Cyprus between April 27 and May 6th. 

“This is a shocking act to witness,” said PC Marshall. “If a bird gets caught, it often ends up hanging upside down and the only relief comes when the trapper comes along and slits its throat.”
PC Marshall and other volunteers will work through the night and day to locate and demolish the traps and produce evidence to assist Cypriote police in their prosecution.

Man dealing in rare birds arrested
Brynn McDonagh from West Heath, Birmingham was arrested at the end of last year after a joint West
Midlands Police and National Wildlife Crime Unit (NWCU) investigation in rare bird dealing. He was charged with smuggling rare birds into the country from South Africa and for trying to sell endangered species over the internet.  He had already been given a 10 month jail sentence, suspended for two years in November 2010 for illegally importing 20 endangered species from Africa.  He has now to undertake 180 hours of unpaid work as well as paying court costs of £580. 
The investigation was led by West Midlands Police Officer, Phil Allen.  He said:  “The suspended sentence was an opportunity for McDonagh to change his ways and to understand that these birds are protected for a reason.
“However, he continued to try and profit at the expense of endangered wildlife and has paid the penalty.”
Investigations Officer for the NWCU, Andy McWilliam, added: “McDonagh has displayed a total disregard for international legislation which is there to protect endangered species against profiteering.”

Marine litter causes death of rare sea bird in Chichester
Litter in Chichester Harbour has caused the death of a rare black-throated diver. The bird overwinters on the open seas, and was discovered by the Chichester Harbour Patrol.

Ed Rowsell, Conservation Officer for Chichester Harbour Conservancy, said ‘it is distressing to see a wild seabird's life ended in this way, and due to the off-shore habits of this species, this bird is probably just one of many lost due to marine litter. It is up to all of us to be very careful about disposing of litter responsibly.'

Litter is regularly collected from the shoreline by volunteers from the Conservancy’s “Harbour Watch" scheme and regular Friends of Chichester Harbour work parties. Last year alone, 188 bags of marine litter were collected from the Harbour's shoreline.
Any sightings of birds in distress should be reported to the RSPCA or Brent Lodge Bird and Wildlife Trust.

 A black swan goes paddling
A very rare bird, native to Australia, and which is believed to have escaped from a private collection, has been the centre of attention on the seafront at Craigendoran bay. Eric Spaven, 43, could hardly believe his eyes when he noticed the bird while out walking his dog on Friday morning.

The Craigendoran man said: "It was at Craigendoran bay and I thought I was seeing things at first as I didn't even know black swans existed. I thought it might have been the light to begin with but it was clear that there were five swans in total, four white and one black.
"I took pictures on my phone and was a tad confused about where it came from."
Steve Chadwin, of Helensburgh Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), said: "It is obviously an escaped bird from a private collection.

"It was still there this morning just to the west of the pier.
"It certainly seems happy enough and has plenty of food. It is just sitting on the edge of the water and paddling about.
A spokesman for the RSPB added: "There is probably a very worried owner somewhere.
"The wings and feathers are quite often clipped but this has not happened here."

Black grouse numbers bounce back
After three bad years, the rare black grouse has seen its numbers double in northern England according to the Game and  Wildlife Conservation Trust.

The increase in the male population has enabled the trust to relocate 15 males to a new area to try to increase the bird’s range.

Dr Phil Warren, research scientist with the GWCT, said: "We've had two fantastic breeding years, in 2010 and 2011, which has really helped. Up to spring 2010, we'd had three back-to-back environmental events: two poor breeding years and a very bad winter."

Research by the trust has revealed that male black grouse are unwilling to disperse more than 1km (0.6 miles) from where they are born, making it hard to extend their range even if the habitat is suitable. But females are prepared to move up to 9km (six miles) looking for new places to settle and breed, meaning that at the edge of the range they can be moving into areas with no males.


DALE DRINNON: Possible Wood Ape photos/Frontiers of Anthropology

New at Frontiers of Zoology:

New at Frontiers of Anthropology:

Still working on the White Bigfoot video artricle, but now in direct contact with M. K. Davis at last.


Good Morning culture lovers. (I think I got that line from an issue of 'The Mighty World of Marvel`, about thirty years ago, featuring The Thing wearing a velvet smoking jacket. If there are any comin book buffs who can scan that for me I would be
monumentally grateful. However, on with the show. And what a show it is for you today:

First up el grande EXCLUSIVO: Jon meets Jon. I interview Jon Anderson, and manage to ask some reasonably intelligent

Then, ANOTHER EXCLUSIVE: Part three of my talk with Michael Des Barres the other night:

And whilst on the subject of Michael D-B, he is on US TV tonight. Here is a trailer:

We have a peculiar link for you to a site aimed at the most anally retentive music buffs. It is a place where you can debate the relative merits of albums, songs etc. There is even a page on JON ANDERSON. See you there:

For no reason except because I can, here is the opening track of the magnificent new album by 'Genre Peak':

We have a link to a great review of the new Troy Donockley album:

And finally, allow me to be self indulgent as I annoy my wife by playing the latest reissue in 'The Crassical Collection' by yer favourite bunch of rural Essex anarchotypes:

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today

Yesterday’s News Today


Happy Star Wars day to all practising Jedi reading the blog today. When I last posted about Star Wars day on the blog Jon gave me what can only be described as a withering look, but according to the 2001 UK census there are over 300,000 Jedi in England and Wales making it the 4th largest religion in the UK (after Christianity, Islam and Hinduism) with more practitioners than Buddhism and Judaism. For Jedi's May the 4th commemorates the rise, fall and redemption of Anakin Skywalker (whose midichrorians were off the scale) and coincides with a day of memorial for the Younglings slaughtered in the Jedi Temple a long, long, time ago in a galaxy far away.

And now the news:

The sacred saga of the Jedi is told in six parts, nine if you include the apocrypha (the holiday special and the 2 ewok movies), the first part of which can be avoided if you watch the approved abridged version by Weird Al Yankovich:


CFZ NEW ZEALAND: Its that fly again!

It just goes to show even amateurs can still make scientific contributions.The other day I had just taken a break and on returning to my desk found a house fly sitting on my mouse as if still alive. The creature however did not seem alarmed by my reappearance so I became curious and examined it more intimately.It was most decidedly dead but the unusual thing was I had never seen a fly like it. The front end was that of a normal house fly, but the abdomen was entirely different it was striped black and white in a not unattractive manner. The wings also appeared shorter than the ordinary house fly.

Read on...