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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Monday, July 02, 2012

ANDREW MAY: Words from the Wild Frontier

News and stories from the remoter fringes of the CFZ blogosphere...

From Nick Redfern's World of Whatever:



The Lizard King, by Bryan Christy, 256 Pages, Hardcover-List Price $25.00 Sale $12.00per book. $6.00 for S&H. (Only 3 copies left)

Albino pythons, endangered lizards and other reptiles are the currency of an underworld as dangerous and lucrative as the drug trade. Freelance writer Christy's debut is an enthusiastic chronicle of the rise and fall of a lizard kingpin and the federal agent who pursued him. Mike Van Nostrand inherited Strictly Reptiles, an import-export business in Florida, from his father, Ray, turning it into a multimillion-dollar smuggling operation. Van Nostrand imported reptiles of all shapes and sizes, usually concealed in the suitcases or clothing of his mules, and sold them to collectors and pet stores. He exploited loopholes in the international treaty on endangered-species trade and paid off corrupt officials.
The Man Who Saved Sea Turtles: Archie Carr and the Origins of Conservation Biology [Hardcover] by Frederick Rowe Davis Oxford University Press, 308 Pages,(1 Copy Left) List Price $40.00

Sale Price $20.00 + $6 &H

Archie Carr, one of the greatest biologists of the twentieth century, played a leading part in finding a new and critical role for natural history and systematics in a post-1950s world dominated by the glamorous science of molecular biology. With the rise of molecular biology came a growing popular awareness of species extinction. Carr championed endangered sea turtles, and his work reflects major shifts in the study of ecology and evolution. A gifted nature writer, his books on the natural history of sea turtles and their habitats in Florida, the Caribbean, and Africa entertained and educated a wide audience. Carr's conservation ethic grew from his field work as well as his friendships with the fishermen who supplied him with many of the stories he retold so engagingly. With Archie Carr as the focus, The Man Who Saved Sea Turtles explores the evolution of the naturalist tradition, biology, and conservation during the twentieth century.

Editorial Reviews

"Archie Carr aficionados will be perpetually grateful that their hero left such a rich heritage of both published writings and fifty years of correspondence with many of the leading naturalists of the 20th century. His fans will now be equally grateful to Fritz Davis for distilling this monumental wealth of data and anecdote, much of it little known, into what will surely be recognized as the definitive biography of the man."--Peter C. H. Pritchard, Director, Chelonian Research Institute

"In this book, you will come to know, as I did during the exciting years when I was his student and friend, a unique and inspiring scientist. Frederick Davis has beautifully captured the intertwined personal, public, and scientific lives of the extraordinary person who -- if anyone deserves the title -- really was the man who saved sea turtles." --David Ehrenfeld, Professor of Biology at Rutgers University and founding editor of Conservation Biolog
Malformed Frogs: The Collapse of Aquatic Ecosystems [Hardcover]
by Michael Lannoo, University of California Press, 288 Pages

List Price $65.00 Sale Price $30.00
Plus $6.00 for S&H (Only 1 copy left)

The widespread appearance of frogs with deformed bodies has generated much press coverage over the past decade. Frogs with extra limbs or digits, missing limbs or digits, or misaligned appendages raise an alarming question: "Are deformed humans next?" Taking a fresh look at this disturbing environmental problem, this reference provides a balanced overview of the science behind the malformed frog phenomenon. Bringing together data from ecology, parasitology, and other disciplines, Michael Lannoo considers the possible causes of these deformities, tells which frogs have been affected, and addresses questions about what these malformations might mean to human populations. Featuring high-quality radiographic images, Malformed Frogs suggests that our focus should be on finding practical solutions, a key component of which will be controlling chemical, nutrient, and pesticide runoff into wetlands.

Editorial Reviews

"The 1995 discovery of malformed frogs in a Minnesota wetland is one of a few singular events in the history of environmental awareness that has forever changed our views regarding the plight of global biodiversity. Lannoo's book offers a comprehensive and up-to-date assessment of the malformed frog phenomenon and its likely causes, as well as its possible relation to environmentally mediated malformations in humans. It immediately ranks as a definitive source for information regarding malformed frogs in the larger context of global amphibian declines."--James Hanken, Alexander Agassiz Professor of Zoology, Curator in Herpetology, and Director, Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University

"Lannoo's book is unequivocally the definitive work on frog malformations, with broad relevance to the global decline of amphibians, the degradation of natural wetlands, and our own environmental legacy. This scholarly presentation by a top-rate scientist focuses on an irrefutable phenomenon in which frogs are serving as sentinels to which all of society should be listening."--J. Whitfield Gibbons, Odum School of Ecology, University of Georgia

Self-Portrait with Turtles: A Memoir [Paperback]
By David M. Carroll
Mariner Books-Imprint Houghton Mifflin Press -192 Pages Paperback List Price $13.99
Sale Price $8.00 Plus $6.00 S&H
(Only 3 copies left)

McArthur Genius Award Winner, renowned artist, author, and naturalist, David M. Carroll is exceptionally skilled at capturing nature on the page. In Self-Portrait with Turtles, he reflects on his own life, recounting the crucial moments that shaped his passions and abilities. Beginning with his first sighting of a wild turtle at age eight, Carroll describes his lifelong fascination with swamps and the creatures that inhabit them. He also traces his evolution as an artist, from the words of encouragement he received in high school to his college days in Boston to his life with his wife and family. Self-Portrait with Turtles is a remarkable memoir, a marvelous and exhilarating account of a life well lived.

From Booklist

Author-naturalist Carroll spent his early years in the city. When he was eight, his family moved to a town with woods, streams, ponds, and a salt marsh within walking distance. When Carroll saw his first turtle on his first outing through the wetlands, he was hooked. When a high-school art teacher declared that art was the only thing that lasts, the author then had the two guides for his life's work. A degree from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston led to turtles in the Fens and the woman who became his wife. Bouts of teaching are interspersed with rambling in search of turtles, and a final move to New Hampshire settles the author and his family in a landscape that comes complete with chelonian denizens. In a wonderful blend of natural history, memoir, and drawings, the author leads us through his life and how it has been shaped by his love of nature and turtles. This beautifully illustrated memoir will be sought out by lovers of good nature writing. Nancy Bent.
Firefly Encyclopedia of Reptiles and Amphibians by Chris Mattison Hardcover - List Price $49.95
Sale Price $25.00 Plus $12.00 for S&H
(Only 3 copies left)

This highly acclaimed encyclopedia combines authoritative, easy-to-read essays with exciting photographs showing reptiles and amphibians in their natural habitats. Illustrations explain anatomy and biological features, and maps show world distribution of species. Commissioned articles by scientists, zoologists and researchers provide the latest findings and interpretations of data.

Each species listing has a "factfile" of essential data: scientific order and population; distribution (with a color-coded map) and habitat; size and color; reproduction and life cycle; longevity and conservation status.

All status descriptions have been updated in this revised edition, which also includes:

Descriptions of all new families of amphibians and reptiles

Updated range maps for all families

Revised family relationship diagrams in light of current taxonomic understanding

New species and genus totals for all groups.

Authoritative, comprehensive and beautiful.


Turtles of the United States and Canada by Carl H. Ernst and Jeffrey E. Lovich
List Price: $98.00, (Hardcover) 840 pages
The Johns Hopkins University Press; Second edition

Our Price is cheaper than Amazon
$75.00 plus $13 for S&H. (it’s 8 pounds and worth every ounce)
and all profits goes to keep HerpDigest alive


[A] monumental work... the standard reference to North American turtles for the next generation of biologists. Every serious vertebrate biologist on the continent will want a copy. (Herpetological Review )

The most comprehensive compilation on North American turtles ever attempted and achieved.(Herpetofauna )

In 1972, C. H. Ernst completed the daunting task of compiling a sequel to A. F. Carr's (1952) landmark Handbook of Turtles. Two decades later, Ernst, this time with assistance from former student and fellow cheloniophile J. E. Lovich, has done it again. (Copeia )


Invasive Pythons in the United States- Ecology of an Introduced
Michael E. Dorcas and John D. Willson, Foreword by Whit Gibbons

The first detailed, comprehensive study of this invasive predator
Page count: 176, 188 color photos, 8 maps, 1 table, 7 figures
Paperback, c2011,
Was $25.00 Now Just $15.00 plus add $6.00 for shipping and handling.


Diamonds in the Marsh - A Natural History of the Diamondback Terrapin
Barbara Brennessel
University Press of New England
2006 - 236 pp. 24 Color Illus. 35 B&W illus. 4 Tables. 6 x 9"
Was $15.00 Now $10.00 plus $6.00 S&H.

The first book-length investigation of a fascinating reptile

To Order :

1) Send a check to Herpdigest/Allen Salzberg/67-87 Booth Street -5B/Forest Hills, NY 11375. Make the check out to Herpdigest.

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3) Or debit or credit card, Master or Visa, Discover and Amex, only, send us your credit card number, expiration date, billing and shipping address to asalzberg@herpdigest.org. (Though I haven't heard of this happening, a credit card number being stolen from an email, I'm told to prevent this send ccard number divided into two emails.)

And don’t forget to include those 3 numbers from the back of the credit card.

4) Or call us at 1-718-275-2190 between 10-6 EST Monday-Friday. And we’ll take your order. If not in, leave a message and we’ll get back to to you asap.

If you are ordering from overseas, and that includes Canada and Mexico, please contact us at 1-718-275-2190 for S$H costs.

Thank you.

HAUNTED SKIES: Another update


Yesterday's afternoon of bird watching went very well, with one slight drawback. Apart from some angry looking swans in the middle distance we saw no birds. However, we did discover a nice new place to walk, and it is definitely somewhere which we shall be going back to in the future. But back to the blogosphere:

The other day we started a new feature here on the Gonzo Daily. It is called 'Song by Song', and it does exactly what it says on the tin. Basically I go through an album song by song, and then pass my notes on to the artist who made the album in the first place, and see what they have to say. And now its time to look at what I think will be one of the most important new albums of 2012 - Carnaby Street by Michael Des Barres.

Helen McCookerybook is one of those singular talents that I probably would never have heard of if it hadn't been for writing the Gonzo Daily, so I am very glad that I do and have. Here is news of a forthcoming gig which I am very tempted to attend, despite the fact that I hate leaving the fastness of my rural retreat and visiting Babylon...

I am rather proud of the design work that I did on Dan Woodings magnificent biography of Rick Wakeman. Here, Dan does some promotional stuff for the bo on his own webTV show.

“Roswell UFO Parade & Festival Hosts Jefferson Starship Sci-Fi Extravaganza” read the headlines for the annual July 3rd event that took place in Roswell, New Mexico in 2009. Jefferson Airplane founder Paul Kantner and his legendary band Jefferson Starship and special guests, which included original Grateful Dead keyboardist Tom Constanten, performed a one-of-a-kind sci-fi concert at Pearson Auditorium in Roswell in honor of the town's famed annual parade. Gonzo MultiMedia is releasing the the entire concert in an extravagant 4-CD box set.

A link to a particularly insightful review of the smashing new album from prog-matallers (or are they neo-prog-metallers, I get completely confused) Galahad, who - despite the fact that I can never remember what genre they are in - are a bloody good band.

On June 15th and 16th 2013 the First Gloucester Medieval Mystery Play Festival will fill the streets of the City of Gloucester. Every conceivable medieval event possible will be playing out in the streets, parks and Cathedral. the Gloucester Mystery Plays are being performed ‘on wagon’ at several loctions around the City. All this and Rick Wakeman performing ‘The Myths and Legends of King Arthur for the first time in 30 years...

As the original singer of YES, Jon Anderson is an artist that hardly needs an introduction. By phone, he discussed evolving with the music business, the differences between being a solo artist and a member of a band, and YES albums he would listen to today.

And that, Ladies and Gentlemen, is that for today. See you tomorrow...

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today


On this day in 1844 the last known breeding pair of great auks (Pinguinus impennis) were killed by hunters, motivated by the high price museums were offering for skins.

And now the news:

A documentary on the fate of the great auk:



Is well underway, and will hopefully be out tomorrow...


I am extremely proud to have received this award, which was devised by fellow cryptozoological writer/researcher Randy Merrill, and Liked on Facebook by so many other kindred spirits. Thank you all most sincerely - I very greatly appreciate it!



We have had veteran Australian cryptozoologist Tony Healy with us for a couple of days. It was fantastic to see him, and he and Ma-in-law got on like the proverbial house on fire..

DALE DRINNON: Cedar and Willow etc

My brother Benny just put up a blog on Felix the cat and the other characters that were inspired by him:http://bennypdrinnon.blogspot.com/2012/06/sons-of-felix-cat.htmlAnd I did my own rather more elaborate take on Felix the Cat and Cat Cartoons in General:http://cedar-and-willow.blogspot.com/2012/07/time-felix-and-family.html

Benny has another blog going up on the Keystone Kops: I am continuing to run into all sorts of problems with blogger, especially concerning text which is typed in but does not show up. But I already have several pending that should be coming out in regular order past this entry.

Best Wishes, Dale D.