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


Hermit Thrush Twitch (Thursday 19th to Saturday 21st October 06)

Oh what a week!! Whilst at work on Thursday, the Pager Mega’s during a telephone conversation to Ian Barnard. . I see the immortal words *** MEGA-ALERT *** on the RBA pager. We both wait in silence for 15minutes before it says "MEGA HERMIT THRUSH CO. CORK".

This happens to be one of the birds I’ve seen in many of my dreams. Am I dreaming? Quite possibly!

Step One: Try to get the Car full.

Step Two: Put out an advert for flexible Twitchers on the Pager.

Step Three: Permission from the Boss for a days leave.

Step Four: Run around my office like an adrenaline junky for 5 minutes.

Step Five: Come back down to earth and speak to the internal Optomist Mr Evans. Conversation goes something like this. Lee says "You’ve got no chance in seeing it… it was only seen briefly by a few birders…it needs to develop a pattern before you can see it!"

I just said "fine, I am still going for it, do you want to come? Lee says "Possibly I need to investigate further."

After many more phonecalls etc I eventually left my house in Rusper , West Sussex at 18:50. I picked up Dave Webb (Adrian Webb’s dad) at 19:15 and then pick up Lee and Mick Frosdick at 20:15 at Junction 7 M4.

Let the show begin. Interesting conversation started with Dave Webb discussing his Allens Gallinule find on Scillies last year. Then the incredible find by his 11year old son Adrian, finding a Long-billed Dowitcher at Dungeness. The resident warden didn’t believe it at first and refused to go to the hide where it was found. The Dowitcher then flew into full view of the Warden and he added "it could be a Short-billed Dowitcher". No hint of congratulations, but the Webbs were informed (by reserve staff) of a Cream-coloured Courser in Essex (on their doorstep) and both had good views of it a few days later.

We arrived at Fishguard at around 1:00, check in time for the Rosslare ferry is 1:45, so we had plenty of time to kill. A foot pax day return to Ireland is now £19, so all being well it should be a cheap twitch.

On the Stena Ferry there are lots of places to sleep. We opted for the Bar area. I had a traditional English breakfast for £9 in the restaurant. Then I went back to the Bar area where our corner stakeout had increased in size by fellow sleepers Richard Bonser & John Stephenson.

Trying to sleep was close to impossible. Some extremely drunk 40year old Northern lass was singing badly and extremely loudly.. I shouted out "Shut it love, people are trying to sleep", but it did no good, she took no notice and carried out wailing some rubbish to impress a 60year old charmer in his shell suit sitting very close to her. This girl was quite attractive from a 200metre range, but closer inspection revealed she was just another BOBFOC. (Body off Baywatch, Face of Crimewatch). I suspected a sexual romp was on the cards, but fortunately for 57 people in the bar area they both fell asleep. Hooray peace at last.

The boat arrived an hour later than schedule. (7:10am) This more or less put us all into panic mode, as it was going to be more or less impossible to get to Baltimore to catch the scheduled Cape Clear boat that departs at 11:00am. We picked up the hire car from Budgets around 7:25am. (Note Budget representative had not arrived to open the desk on our arrival, we had to wait a good 20 minutes for her to arrive). Stress levels of Mick & LGRE started to rise.

All 3 parties departed Rosslare for the 4 hour drive to Baltimore, our car arrived first at around 11:40. Richard Bonser’s party arrived seconds later and Neil Allford arrived at 12:00. We then left Baltimore on a charter boat , arranged on route by Neil. The charter boat cost 25euros each.

The boat arrived at the Cape at 12:50. 13 of us on the boat then made our way to the Post Office garden. Well apart from LGRE who arranged for the warden to chauffeur him and 3 Irish to the bird, also Mick & Dave got lucky and hitched a lift to the bird. The walk to the Post Office is about 20minutes from the quay. It is mainly uphill and very tiring.

The Hermit Thrush was sitting on the fence on arrival. We had gorgeous scope views for 4mins and then the bird vanished. It was relocated by Neil Allford 30 mins later in a nearby field. We then watched in ore for the next 20mins.

The whole twitch was so exciting, I really must go there for a Birdwatching holiday one day. The obs costs 18euros a night and only a handful of birders are currently staying on the island. I went to the Cape last year and dipped a Yellow-rumped Warbler, but even then I was impressed with the Island.

We departed the Island at 14:20 and got back to Rosslare at 20:30, just in time for the 21:15 departure. Got home at 6:15am Saturday morning. My individual trip cost was £75+ food.


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