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 garrybagnell35@googlemail.com 

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


Sooty Tern Twitch (Friday 8th July to Sunday 10th July 05)

Anglesey. Ian Barnard, Christian Melgar, John Lees, John Benham & I decided to drive to Anglesey for the Sooty Tern. We left my house at 11:00pm and arrived at Holyhead 5:00am. We met up with Steve Nuttall, Steve Richards, Ian Butler and a guy called Chris from the Staffs area who decided to join us in hiring a speed boat to get to the Skerries.

Most boats take from 40 to 90 minutes from Amlwch, Cemaes and Holyhead to get to the Skerries, but fortunately the boat I hired only took 15 minutes to get from Holyhead to Skerries.

Our charter departed at 5:45am and arrived just after 6:00am. When we arrived at the islands there were about 10 charter boats out there with many depressed birdwatchers aboard them. The Sooty Tern was reported to have roosted on the Skerries from 8:30pm the previous evening and there was a report that it also flew out to sea. However there was no sign of this Tern this morning. Boats had arrived from 5am and searched the island to 2pm. We stayed around the Skerries to 9:45am. During our time out there we had magnificent views of 2 Roseate Terns, 300+ Arctic Terns, 100+ Puffins to name but a few of the highlights.

Back on the mainland we decided to search the areas the Sooty Tern had previously visited. We started our search from Rhosneiger at Ynys Feirig RSPB. The reserve is a long Island strip which can be viewed at a range of 1.5miles. We stayed here 4 hours, with the best birds being a brunette in a green bathing costume with very impressive assets.

We left here onto South Stack. Here we encountered 20+ Chough feeding very close to the road. Next stop was Holyhead ferry terminal where we saw 6 Black Guillemots.

Time was getting on and we now thought there was no chance of the Sooty Tern being relocated. We left Anglesey at 6pm and Ian Barnard started the six hour drive home. At 7pm my mobile rang, it was Mark Lopez excitingly saying that Richard Bonser had relocated the Sooty Tern back on the Skerries. Ian turned the car around immediately and drove as fast as possible back to Holyhead. I in the meantime feeling extremely stressed out rang around and tried to book the re-book the boat we had earlier in the day. So I rang Aubrey on 07866014393 and he said he could get it ready in 30minutes, I said that would be fine and I said the earliest we could arrive was about 8:00pm. I rang RBA to advertise 4 spaces on our boat and what followed was 10 calls one after each trying to get the four spaces. This all happened in a 3 minute period. I then rang back RBA to say four seats had gone. Our first lucky caller was Andrew Lawson’s party containg Gary Howard, James Hunter and Steve Nixon. We naturally gave them the four spaces. They was still on the island and got to the boat before us. They got to the boat at 7:30pm and desparately waiting for us. We arrived at 7:55pm feeling like we had just won the lottery and our boat went immediately. We got to the Skerries at 8:15pm and we were greeted this time by three boats full of smiling birdwatchers. The Sooty Tern was sitting on the rocks closer to the Kittiwake colony than the Arctic Tern colony. Gary Howard managed to get wonderful close shots of the Tern. I managed to get a record shot, but what a relief. The Sooty Tern was still on view when we left at 9:00pm. On the way back another slow boat was making its way to the Skerries which Paul Hackett had chartered.

We all felt that a great weight had been lifted and we all posed for a group photograph.

We left Holyhead at 9:45pm and got home at 4am Sunday morning(including a McDonald stop). The trip costed £51 each (includes two Boat rides).

If you haven’t been for the Sooty Tern yet, I suggest you book an early morning boat and late evening boat as the bird can disappear during the day. Be careful about booking your boat as some of the boats are illegal and they are asking upto £35 each per passenger for a 3 hour trip, giving only one hour on the Skerries. We found our boat man the best value for money with a four hour trip costing just £150 and with ability in being able to take 9 people.


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