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, May 10, 2012

WATCHER OF THE SKIES: goshawks, poaching, specialist birds, bird eggs

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...

A collection of mindless, unadulterated killing and vandalism stories from the past week - and I thought we were supposed to be a nation of animal lovers. Yeah right.

Goshawks targeted again
The Derwent Valley previously had held six pairs of breeding goshawks, but after yet another in a long-running series of attacks on birds of prey in the Peak District, there is now only one active goshawk nest in the entire valley.

The Severn Trent water company and the RSPB have spoken of their outrage at the latest act of ‘wanton destruction’.  The goshawk is one of Britain’s most persecuted as well as rare birds of prey and the RSPB is offering a reward of £1000 for information leading to a conviction. 

Mark Thomas, investigations officer with the RSPB, said: "Once again we're faced with the destruction of birds of prey in Britain's most visited national park.

"The sight of goshawk eggs smashed, only days from hatching, lying on the forest floor is a heart-breaking sight and proves that this bird is being systematically wiped out in the north of the Peak District."

The Derwent Valley has been subject to a catalogue of bird of prey persecution incidents, with the most recent confirmed case being Glen Brown, a gamekeeper convicted of using a caged pigeon to lure birds of prey to a trap.

Hazel Earnshaw, of Severn Trent Water, said: "We are sickened that this protected species has once again been subject to persecution, despite extensive efforts to protect it. The Goshawk should form a natural part of the ecosystem here in the Upper Derwent Valley. We are working closely with the RSPB to protect these birds and to identify the guilty parties."

Darren Belfield, a sergeant with the Derbyshire Constabulary, said: "This is a further instance of senseless destruction and persecution of a protected species. The individuals responsible show no regard for the law or for the conservation of bird of prey species within the Peak District National Park."

Nature reserve becomes target for poachers
Illegal poachers have been using dogs and guns on the 117 acre Portbury Nature Reserve to kill animals, including deer and water and wildfowl. Local residents are being urged to keep a watchful eye open for any suspicious goings-on in the area.

Nature reserve community officer Neil Hutton said: "Poaching has become an issue at the reserve over the past couple of months.

"We have found the carcass of a deer and there have been reports of men and dogs arriving in vans and acting suspiciously.

"The dogs have been seen being let off into the rhynes and we believe they were looking for waterfowl and ducks and geese.

"We are asking people who live nearby and use the reserve to be our eyes and ears and report anything which they think is suspicious to police immediately.

"We will not let a few individuals spoil it for everyone but need people who are using the reserve to keep their eyes open for unusual behaviour."

Anyone with information about suspicious activity at the reserve should call police on 101.

Sunderland theft of specialist birds
Derek Johnson, 55, is heartbroken after thieves stole birds worth more than £4,500 from his aviary including silver goldfinch mules, hybrid finches and brown linnet birds and eggs that were due to hatch at the weekend.
Officers are appealing for anyone who saw anyone suspicious or vehicles in Ruswarp Drive or Pembroke Avenue on Thursday night or Friday morning, or anyone with any information as to the whereabouts of the birds, to contact them on 101 ext 69191.

Don't steal birds' eggs (left in its entirety)
“PERHAPS some of your readers know the people who camped by the river in Troserch Wood a couple of weekends ago. If so they should also know that the young campers tipped a picnic table into the river, left their rubbish in a heap under a bridge and took the eggs from a dipper's nest. Dippers are rare and both littering and robbing birds' nests may be crimes, but public interest and involvement is as important as force of law in ending this sort of stupidity. If you know any of the campers, you may want to tell them how you feel. If you were one, how do you feel?

Troserch Wood is also something rare: a commonwood in a beautiful river valley, dedicated to free access, wildlife and restoring ancient woodland.

The wood is managed by volunteers in the Troserch Woodlands Society. The TWS was formed a few years ago to secure the wood for the community when it came up for sale. Membership is open to all, at £5 per year. We welcome new members and helpers as we welcome more people to visit and enjoy the woods and river banks.

TWS meetings are open to all members and would-be members who share our aims: 7pm first Wednesday every month at the Llangennech Community Centre. We also have occasional working parties to maintain the woods, make good storm and other damage.

Replacing dippers' eggs is less easily done. If visitors witness littering or damage being done, the police may be interested and the wildlife officer is PC Adrian Ward.

David Edwards, Colin Jones, Gwyn Hopkins, Greg Wilkinson
Troserch Woodland Society

DALE DRINNON: Normal service will be.....

I am still having technical problems with my blogs, I was informed that my last links I sent out had the same problem of text failing to show up, only parts of some sentences going through, and many small errors that are easy to miss. For the time being I am not releasing any more blogs until I can manage to get some of these problems fixed.

Best Wishes, Dale D.

HAUNTED SKIES: Daily Mirror 12.10.67.

I'M THE GONZO BLOG DOO-DAH MAN (and in that land there was a King)

Its Friday here on the Gonzo blog, and another working week has come and gone. Today we have all sorts of jolly things for you.

We start off with the second, and concluding part of our interview with author Dan Wooding about his long-standing friendship with Rick Wakeman, and the book that he wrote about it:

We have a touching video made by a young lady who is most definitely a fan of the lovely Liz Lenten, and her band Auburn:
Whilst on the subject of 'Auburn', I had a long chat with Liz about her recent tour, her work with community chorul projects and all sorts of other stuff. Expect to see it here in a few days.

I pinched this piece about the Silverhead Japanese tour from Michael Des Barres' Facebook page:

A very mellow interlude from Mimi Page:

Tour Dates from Galahad. (I talked to them the other day and there will be a multi part interview with them up on the Gonzo blog this weekend):

I had a long talk with Erik Norlander yesterday. We will be posting that in a few days time, but in the meantime here is an interesting video review of his latest project with his wife Lana Lane:

And finally. Last night I watched an excellent DVD about Apple Records from those jolly nice people at Chrome Dreams. As a result I found myself wandering about the Internet looking for a live version of the most notorious (and collectable) Apple Records single of all. Much to my surprise, I found it:

See you tomorrow folks...

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today


On this day in 1820 the Beagle set off on its maiden voyage, the ship would later carry Charles Darwin who would base his theory of evolution on observations of animals he made on the trip.

And now the news:

It was while aboard the Beagle that Darwin met The Pirate Captain: