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


Mourning Dove Twitch (Thursday 1st to Saturday 3rd November 07)


I don’t have the Mega alert function turned on, on my pager. So when my phone receives a text message, it can be one of two things:- Vodaphone special offer or a Mega alert from RBA.

"Oh no it’s a Mega alert", I shout out in the middle of the office…Nobody blinks an eye lid as they are quite use to me talking to myself these days…..Oh bugger…. I need the bird… and I am busy at work…. and I have no money to go….. and I am going with a friend to watch Arsenal play Manu at Emirates on Saturday. Plus my Mum needs a lift to the hospital on Friday. Well this is obviously one bird I will have to miss isn’t it? These are my thoughts at 13:52.

As the minutes tick away at work, I started to think about all the awfully nice twitchers that wouldn’t dare grip me off, if I missed the bird…. not much, it would be unbearable.

I have a decision to make!…Do I go tonight and use my last full day of annual leave and upset pretty much the whole family and friends with my decision?

I’ve also got to take into account how focused I will be at work on Friday when the pager messages flood in saying how well the Mourning Dove is showing.

Sorted…I am definitely not going!!!

At 3:56 the bird gets the better of me. On the pager reads "W.Sussex Lift offer to W. Isles tonight tel.Garry on 12345678910…"

I very quickly arrange for my Arsenal friend to come around my house that night to take both of the Arsenal tickets off of me. I get my wife to take my mum to the hospital on Friday, get my car full, and watch the clock tick away every minute to happy time of 17:00 when I run to my car like a lunatic.

I get home at 17:30, and I don’t bother eating the meal my wife has prepared for me, I don’t bother packing any clothes or food… I just get out of my work clothes and get the birding gear on…capable of withstanding sub-zero temperatures.

I picked up John Benham at Leatherhead at 18:30pm and then make my way to Steve Nutalll’s rendezvous point, which is junction 2 of the M54. Then last pickup point is Junction 15 on the M6 to meet a 17 year old called Dan Pointon.

Now all I have to do is put the car into Autopilot and sleep all the way to Uig??!! Then Steve can give me a nudge if there is a Red Deer in the road.

Steve has been with me on a 4 to 5 twitches in the past and our connection rate is currently at 100%. This is Dan’s first trip with me, and I must say I am quite impressed on his rarity knowledge of dates and places, considering he has only been twitching for 2 years. Why are people so interested in the birds they haven’t seen. I just get p*ssed off , when I recount the birds I could have seen like Golden-barred Wobbler at Tesco in Kent etc etc!

We arrived at Uig at 7:15am on Friday, to be greeted by about 40 cars containing mainly "Premiership Type Twitchers ". One of the cars had a large section of his Bonnet & Bumper missing, this was due to hitting an Elephant on route….no, silly me I mean I mean a Red Deer.

I got out of the car and started chatting the usual mumbo jumbo to some of the Premiership listers. Then Stuart Piner receives notification that the Dove is still present…..A big Yell sounds around the quay and I do I a bit of body popping to show my joy (if you missed it, don’t worry I am crap at dancing anyway).

Shortly after this the ticket office opens, all 85 twitchers run/walk fast to the kiosk pushing and shoving and jumping queues, like their life depends on getting a ferry ticket for the car. (Costs are £59 per Car + £15 per passenger). The reason for the panic was that somebody (who I cannot name) was rumouring there was only 10 remaining car spaces on the ferry. Fortunately we all got on and there was no need to panic. Premiership listers are the worse! When a bird has been at a site for 5 days and you roll up on a Saturday to rub shoulders with the assembled low listers/ dudes, nobody starts panicking about getting boat tickets etc do they?

The ferry departed Uig at 9:40 and arrives at Lochmaddie at 11:10. On the ferry I enjoyed the Scottish Breakfast which only cost £4.90.

My car was almost the last Car to get off of the ferry, as it was parked on the moveable deck section of the boat.

We quickly lost all the cars hurtling at pace to "Clachan a luib" and we also had bad directions and got lost trying to find the site for ourselves. Dan rang some friends and soon got us back on the right road. Phew!

We arrived at site just after Midday and the weather was not good. It was cold, miserable with horizontal rain. The Dove was very distant, sitting on a stone, facing away from us and getting soaking wet. Some birders could not be bothered to wait for better views and raced back to catch the same ferry going back to Uig. Thank god I am not a tick and run twitcher!…they must have only seen the bird in heavy rain for less than 5 minutes.

The rain eventually stopped and the remaining 50 twitchers had smashing views of the Dove as it flew and perched on the very close seeded path.

Other birds seen on the island included Red-breasted Merganser, Red-throated Diver, Rock Dove, Peregrine, Hen Harrier, American Great White Egret?, Ring-necked Duck, 3 Golden Eagles etc etc.

My crew all splashed out £12 each and stayed at the Bunk House in Lochmaddie. That evening 3 of us went out to the Loch Maddie Hotel for some dinner. I recommend the Beef & Ale Pie (£7.95), let me know what you think? It will knock your Shaven bo**ocks off, if you know what I a mean.

Then back to the Bunk house for more exciting tales of woe with the Premiership boys. One chap from Suffolk with a lisp was also staying at the Bunk house and he made many of us laugh re-counting one of his twitches when he ran over 2 domestic cats in a housing estate! What speed was he doing, I wonder… I also enjoyed talking to Pete Hutchins. Only the second person I know to wear shorts in the winter, no prizes for guessing who the other is? Pete tells he has only got a small list of birds in Britain….550 to be exact (I wonder if that includes PEACOCK?)…..Hearing about his impressive list nearly made me fall of the back of my chair. Then he tells me his son of 13 is fast approaching my meagre total.

The next day we catch the 7:30 ferry back to Uig. On the journey back we see Storm Petrel, 3 Black Guillemots, 1 Pom, 2 Arctic Skua’s, GN Diver etc etc.

Just off of Skye we see a car pulled over in a layby, and he informs us that he has got and Adult White-tailed Eagle circling low overhead.. We all get amazing views of this bird, I found it best to watch the bird laying on the bonnet of my car. I must remember next time to bring a cushion for my head.

Got home Saturday 21:45.Great trip, it cost me £87 + food, and the best news is that my mate watching the Arsenal match, managed to re-inburse me the full £67.35 for the spare ticket I gave him.


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