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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Wednesday, May 01, 2019

COUNCIL ATROCITY - Heads should roll, but |I bet they don't

Kent County Council has unwittingly destroyed a nationally important roadside nature reserve (RNR), home to tens of thousands of orchids, as it carried out drainage ditch clearance works.
Verges at Blue Bell Hill RNR, just north of Maidstone, were churned up by heavy vehicles working on the site, in some places down to the chalk. 
Owned by Kent County Council, the verge has been managed by volunteers from Kent Wildlife Trust for 15 years. As well as 9,000 Pyramidal Orchids and nearly 8,000 Common Spotted Orchids, it was also home to Bee Orchids, the scarce Man Orchid and a wide range of other special chalk downland flowers. These attracted a host of pollinating bees, butterflies (20 species, including Chalkhill Blue) and other insects, which helped support a thriving population of small mammals as well as Common Lizards and Slow-worms.

A stark contrast: Blue Bell Hill RNR in summer 2018 and spring 2019 (Plantlife).
After removing some trees from the ditch, the council scraped the bank smooth. Such intensive works will inevitably mean that much of this wildlife is lost for good from the site; other species will take years to recover. At this time of year, the Common Spotted Orchids will have been beginning to show above ground, ahead of flowering from late May onward.
Dr Trevor Dines of Plantlife said: "I worry that I've become immune to 'bad stuff' happening to wild flowers over the years. But the destruction a few days ago of 17,000 orchids on a road verge in Kent proved that I'm not.

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