Welcome to my website

My Name is Garry Bagnell. I am 47 years old and I absolutely love watching Birds.

My main birding achievement was being featured in the hit BBC-4 documentary "Twitchers-A very British Obsession". It was broadcast TEN times and I loved the whole experience.

I do keep THREE Bird lists. The list I am most passionate about is my COMBINED BRITISH & IRISH LIST. My combined WEST & EAST SUSSEX LIST brings gives me a similar pleasure and can be found on the BUBO website. European family holidays have led me to keeping my third list, which is my WESTERN PALEARCTIC LIST. This list is kept on the NETFUGL website.

My website also contains a Blog, Twitching write ups, British & Irish Rare Birds Stats,Tweets on  my TITBITS page and Jokes

Also if you need to contact me my phone number is 07789 765163 or alternatively email me on [email protected] 

NOTE:- You will only see comments from me on Facebook, Twitter, Birdforum and.here (www.britishislestwitching.com Any rude remarks  or negative comments on other websites WILL NOT BE ME.  


Garry Bagnell Twitter



Summary of my Birding Life

1977 - Age 10 - Started watching birds in my parents garden, then went to local parks/ woodland. Become a YOC member. Went to the Crawley & Horsham RSPB group indoor meetings. They organised monthly outings, went on a few car & coach trips in the local area.

1981 - During my many bird watching trips I went to Arundel W.W.T. for a day’s bird watching with Mushaq Ahmed. He pointed out Peter Scott to me. I went over to chat to him and he kindly singed my bird book I had on me. On the 26th July I went to Gatwick Airport with a school friend called Martin Arter. I bought a Civil Aircraft Marking Book (CAM) and I spent the rest of the day ticking off planes in my CAM. I enjoyed it so much that I decided to give up Bird watching as Plane Spotting was going to occupy a lot of my spare time.

1989 - I remember watching the news and seeing lots of birdwatchers descending on Maidstone, Kent for a Golden-winged Warbler. I was thinking about going for it, but sadly never did. So I suppose this is now, my most sought after bird for my British Isles List. Will we ever get another chance?!

1990 - Bought a house with a girlfriend.

1992 - Discovered Birdline, and had another attempt at Birdwatching/Twitching. Restricted my Birding watching/Twitching to the Southeast of Britain. I also joined the local Crawley & Horsham R.S.P.B. group as treasurer. (Shame nobody mentioned the long staying '93 Blackpoll Warbler at Bewl to me, but the R.S.P.B. members I use to chat with weren't major twitchers).

1997 - Got married for the first time.

1998 - I resigned from the post of Crawley & Horsham R.S.P.B Group Treasurer after a 6 year period. I decided to Join two chess clubs:- Crawley & Coulsdon.

1999 - Whilst working at National Grid on a year’s contract, I met Neil Howes and he showed me his Nationwide Birding Notebook. I was amazed at how many birds Neil had seen and how far he travels to see them. It made me think if I should get back into Birding/Twitching and give up the Plane Spotting. For the time being I decided to juggle both hobbies. I went to Scillies for the first time (absolutely loved it) and during my 3 day stay I found a Richard's Pipit, Ortolan Bunting (very brief view) .My Dad died of cancer during the year, so my wife and I decided to move in with mum and and help her out financially.

2000 - Big changes were made to to my life this year. Gave up Plane Spotting (a hobby I had for 19 years), smoking (17 year addiction),left my first wife and gave her the house.

2002 - I met Kim in June and decided to give up playing competitive Chess as it was not fair to Birdwatch and spend weekends playing in Chess Tournaments. During my 4 year Chess career, I achieved a chess grade of 87 (BCF) and it was still rising. I also played Chess for Sussex in the U125(BCF) division. I also got 2nd and 3rd position in some Chess tournaments.

2003 - Got married for the 2nd time to Kim. Started to twitch Ireland...please don't mention the 2000 Blue-winged Warbler that now really hurts.

2004 - My daughter "Georgie" was born. New British Birds were becoming less and less frequent, so I turned my attention to local birdwatching, which started by listing the bird species I see at Weir Wood Reservoir.

2005 - This year on 3rd March a very good friend of mine died, his name was James Havers. He died at the age of 39, whilst eating a meal at Gatwick Airport with Birding friend Andrew Bashford. James was an exceptional good birdwatcher who spent much of his short life doing bird survey work in the Crawley and Horsham area. He took me to see many scarce breeding birds he had found in the region, and he also showed me a wintering Little Bunting found in Ifield Church, Crawley '94.

2008 - Started playing darts at the Fountain Pub in Roffey.

2009 - I formed a Darts Team at the White Knight in Crawley and I decided to stop playing at the Fountain. On the 2nd August my Mother sadly died from Cancer at St. Catherines Hospice. The 6th September my family & I left Rusper and moved into my Mum's house. Since then we have spent £40k on house improvements. During the year I was selected to be filmed for a BBC4 documentary called Twitchers- A very British tradition. (Should be televised on 3rd November 2010).

2010 - Twitchers: A very British Obsession was broadcast on the 1st November on BBC-4. The programme was about twitching birds in Britain and featured Brett Richards, Craig Family, Lee Evans and myself.

2011 - Seeing Sabine's Gull at Brighton Marina on the 15th September is my 300th BOU species for the combined West & East Sussx County List.

2013 - Seeing Wilson's Warbler on 21st September on Dursey Island, County Cork might turn out to be my 500th British & Irish Lifer (BOU/ IRBC basis).  This is dependant on Elegant Tern, Slaty-back-Gull, Alder Fly & Long-toed Stint getting accepted. I met up with a Washington Post journalist & photographer who met me and John Lees in Norfolk. He took photograhs of John and I enjoying my 300th British year tick (BOU), which happened to be a Shore Lark. The article was published in Denver Post, Washington Post and Sydney Morning Herald on Sunday 15th December. The article was portrayed how competitve birdwatchers are in the UK compared to the US.


Latest Updates

Jokes - Five Minute Management Course added 13th January 2012



Long-toed Stint photo added 23rd January 2012 with a few words



Newest Members

Website that reciprocate my website link

Sussex Ornithological society Best website in Sussex

Penny Clarke Penny's hot birding and life

Paul Herrieven Brough Birder

Ross Newham Bald Birder

Steve Nuttal Belvide Birding

MQ Spurn blog

Barry Hunt Barry Birder

Rob Stokes Kent birding adventures

Widerscope Nick, Seth, Danny & Sam

Michael Booker  Sussex Birders

Other good places to check out

Weir Wood  Friends of Weir Wood Official Site

Mark Reeder of birds & pies

John Hague Drunkenbirder

Pete Antrobus Pods World

Gunnar Engblom Birding Blogs

Mr Black Reservoircatz

Serious stuff

British Birds Official magazine of the BBRC

BBRC Official website

BUBO Popular listing website

Netfugl Western Palearctic listing

Surfbirds Great photos and forum

Birdforum Main discussion forum

Rare Bird Alert Best pager in Britain


free counters

Since 11th Feb 2012


Lesser crested Tern Twitch (Saturday 16th to Sunday 17th July 05)

After the MEGA alert at 7:23am of Lesser-crested Tern in Norfolk, I made some inquiries and found out it was found by Paul Lee, whilst walking his dog. Considering Paul Lee has an exceptional record of finding rarites I had no choice but to give it go. This would not please my wife. She has been reassured that no birds turn up in Britain to late September. How wrong can I be....Sooty Tern, Barrow's Goldeneye, Trumpeter Finch etc etc.

The last twitchable Lesser-crested Tern was "Elsie" in the Northumberland Farnes, which was in the days that I did not twitch outside the Southeast. Why? Why? Why?

Ian Barnard got to my house at 9:00am Saturday morning, and just the two of us went to Norfolk. We did not think we would have much chance in re-located the bird so we spent the day birding in the interior. At 4:45am Geoff & Alan Clewes refound the bird flying west at Overstrand.

Fortunately Ian and I were still in North Norfolk at this time, so we drove as fast as possible to Cley.

We got to Cley at 5:45pm and you guessed it we missed it by 11 minutes. Andy Stoddard saw the bird fly over the beach, this was missed by many assembled birders watching with their scopes from the beach at Cley.

I decided to walk to the Blakeney Point Sandwich Tern colony. The walk took 1.5 hours each way and it is impossible to get views of the 1600 Sandwich Terns that breed there unless permission is granted.

Ian and I decided to spend the night in Norfolk. There was no point getting a B&B. Reasons being:-

1. First light is at 4:00am and you really would not be getting value for money.

2. Keeping the twitching cheap gets valuable browny points with "her in doors", also known as the "Boss".

We got up Sunday morning around 4:15am and started sea watching at Cromer. At 5:40am my Sussex compatriot "Ian the lucky bugger Barnard" found it flying east, Alan & Geoff Clewes managed to get views aswell. But I got in a total panic...and ran around like a headless chicken. I ran over to where Ian was sitting had a scan with my bins and saw three Terns (not tickable views) so ran back to my scope and Lesser-crested Tern at this stage was in front of the sun. I simply missed tickable views. The other three were celebrating.

Ian spent the rest of the day feeling like how I wanted to feel. But Ian was quite prepared for a gruelling day in order for me to see this bird.

Later on that morning I met a guy called Ben who's local patch was Overstrand. Ian & I teamed up with Ben and went searching for the Tern. Ben thought the bird would only get as far as the rocks at Sea Palling.

So off we treck, no sign. Ben went back to get his barbeque started and we drove back towards Cromer for the evening fly past. At 9:33am the bird was seen at Happisburgh between 9:20am and 9:30am. At this stage we were slight NW of the bird, so we decided to stay put. For the next 2.5 hours pager messages of possible sightings were occuring. We finally connected at 11:55am at Waxham.

We watched the Tern sit on the rocks til 13:00pm and then decided to go home...Well how's does the saying go "All comes to those that wait". Well thats certainly been the case on the last two tern twitches.

Total cost £45 petrol, £2 tolls & £0.70 parking.