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


Cretzschmar's Bunting Twitch (Friday 19th to Monday 22nd September)

Lee Evans, Trevor Ellery, Gordon Beck & I were travelling back on the Stena fast ferry from Rosslare to Fishguard when the Bunting Mega’d Friday 19th September 2008 at 16:20.

I just had my first dip of the year, a one-day American Redstart at Mizen Head. The last one was 23 years ago. If it takes 23 years for another, I will then be 65 years of age and drawing a state pension.( I hope they still hand out money then!). If you are under 30, you will probably get another crack at one in your lifetime. But at my age you need to travel for 20 year plus birds. If you don’t get them, at least you can IMPRESS your mates with your BIG DIP LIST.

On seeing the CRETZSCHMAR’S MEGA ALERT on the pager, I go over to Lee, wake him up, show him the pager message. Lee is then on the phone for 5 continuous hours.

The ferry docked at Fishguard at around 17:00. We walk to the car, notice a "No parking ticket warning" attached to the windsreen wiper. Throw it in the bin (ie back of the car) then drive back to where we left the cars on the M4.

At 6pm Lee gets a call returned from a pilot named "Charlie" (who has a plane based at Kirkwall),Lee soon agrees a flight time and price.

Charlie is due to fly the plane to Wick and pick up Angus Murray, John Sweeney & Douggie Barr at 08:30, then fly to North Ronaldsway and drop then off. Fly back to Wick empty, then take the 2nd group of twitchers to North Ronaldsway. Incidentally the 2nd group is for the Steve Webb partly and leaving at 10:30. That is due to return back with Angus’s party and then take our party of Lee, Chris Heard & me is at 12:30 and then bring back the Steve Webb party. This was all the booking’s Charlie had at this time.

An hour later Lee gets a call that Steve Webb has also booked a plane from Inverness.

Lee immediately rings back Charlie to see if he can get the second plane load as Steve Webb appears to be double booked. Charlie then mentions a fourth plane load for Dan Pointon, John Pegden & Mick Frosdick at 14:30 and a fifth plane for the Broadbent family.

At 21:00, we get to junction 13. Trevor kindly drives Gordon back to my house, and I follow Lee back to his house in Little Chalfont.

We leave Lee’s house at just after 23:00, with the addition of Chris Heard. The journey to Wick is shared between all 3 of us.

We get to Wick at 11:00 Saturday morning and on arrival we are very surprised to see 9 other birders sitting in the airport lounge. One group consisted of Bob Watts, Julian Thomas and Adam Wilson. The second group consisted of Johnathan Williams, John Gregory and Simon Slade and the third group consisting of Dan Pointon, John Pegden and Mick Frosdick.

We cannot believe our eyes, the Pointon party is not due to be at the Airport for another 3 ½ hours. Why is the John Gregory party there? Why is Bob Watts there??

It turns out that Bob Watts party was given the 10:30 slot.(ie the Steve Webb booking). They all arrive at Wick 15 minutes early for there flight, only to find out that the Broadbent party had got to the Airport early and took their flight.

Then John Gregory announces that he has agreed with Charlie that his crew goes next, and that Charlie is operated on a first come, first served basis.

Lee disagrees and explains first come, first served idea cannot work. When people book a flight they leave their house at a time which will coincide with them arriving at the agreed time booked to catch the plane.

Eventually Lee agrees the order with all birder teaims. Order being Julian Thomas group first, Lee Evans group 2nd, John Pegden group 3rd and lastly John Gregory's group.

Then Julian Thomas hears that the CAA are inspecting all charter flights onto North Ronaldsway, to make sure they have all the paperwork in order to carry fee paying passengers. Julian states that Charlie is not doing anymore North Ron flights today.

So two (Lee & Julian) of the four groups opt for taking the car ferry to Orkney. I tried to persuade John Pegden and his party to take the ferry accross to Orkney, but he stated he has to be back at work on Monday, and he just cannot risk being stuck on Orkney.

Whilst waiting for the ferry to Orkney we notice Charlie's plane landing back at Wick. We drive quickly back to Wick to see if it's possible for Charlie to fly all teams to Kirkwall instead of North Ronaldsway. At Kirkwall we could all get ferried accross on the Highland Airways plane that Steve Webb had chartered for the day.

When we got back to Wick, Charlie was then taking the John Gregory party direct to North Ronaldsway!! This conflicts with what Julian tells us. I immediatley ring John Pegden to tell him the unbelievable news.

We then race back to Gills Bay to catch the ferry to St. Margarets Hope, I asked John Pegden to see if he can hold the ferry for us. Unfortunately Pentland Ferries run to a strict timetable and we have 20 minutes to get to Gills Bay from Wick Airport. We just make the ferry by the skin of our teeth. It departs on time at 13:15.

During the crossing it turns out that Bob Watts has been able to get a scheduled flight from Kirkwall to North Ron at 5pm, and returning to Kirkwall the following day. Lee, Chris & I then manage to book a scheduled flight on Sunday morning at 9am. Lee manages to book a return flight the same day, where Chris & I all booked to come off North Ron on Monday.

The Pentland Ferry docks at 15:00 in St. Margaret's Hope and then we have a 20 minute drive to Kirkwall with a showy White-billed Diver on route. When we arrive at Kirkwall we investigate to see if there is a standby list for the scheduled plane. Unfortunately they don't. So we have nothing better to do than wait and see if all the passengers turn up for the North Ron flight. They do. But I get a huge slice of luck. The 17:00 plane that Bob has booked onto has two very small children on it. Due to weight allowances, the plane is capable of talking an extra adult on the plane. Normally Chris (Biggest lister in car) would have the space, but as I had such a bad week(ie driving 1200 miles to see a Pied Fly, and starting this journey by dipping the American Redstart in Ireland), Chris & Lee didn't object for me to having the space.

Bob & I  land at North Ron at about 17:15, we are driven by Bob Simpson to the Cretzschmar's Bunting site.

On arrival it is showing well to a small assembled crowd including Alex Lees, Franko, Ian Wilson, Pete Donnerly, Johnny Allan, John Pedgen, Mick Frosdick & Dan Pointon. I was very surprised to see the last three as they told me earlier they were all heading home.  Bob & I enjoy the Bunting for just under 2 hours, where it stayed feeding in the same area the whole time.  Around 19:00 the Bunting flies up and perches on a fence, then hops the other side. Alex & Franko walk around the long way to re-locate it and fail. Then Adam Wilson and Julian Thomas manage to charter a plane from Kirkwall to North Ron. But are unfortuately too late to see the Bunting.

We all stay at the obs, and have very enjoyable meal served up by Kevin & Alison Woodbridge and their staff.


 The above photo clearly shows Adam Wilson, Bob Watts, Julian Thomas (Right hand Side from nearest first) Then Dan Pointon, top of someone's head, Johnny Allan & Ian Wilson (Left hand side from nearest first)

I sit back & hope the Cretzschmar's Bunting sticks for another day, so all my car passengers connect.

 The Bunting stays the night. Hooorrray. Julian and Adam both connect. The scheduled flight bringing Lee & Chris to North Ron at 9:24, taikes Franko, Johnny Allan, Bob Watts, me and now Julian Thomas & Adam Wilson off.

On arriving at Kirkwall, I take Johnny Allan back to St. Margaret's Hope ferry. 20 minute stop enroute to enjoy the moulting summer plumaged White-billed Diver.

 I arrive back at Gill's Bay at 13:15 and I hope that Lee & Chris manage to catch the 17:00 crossing, so we can all drive back to London together.

They hire a taxi from Kirkwall Airport to St. Margarets Hope and the fery has got its footbridge in the upright positon. Luckily they manage to get the ferry staff to lower it for them to walk across. The ferry docks at 18:30.

I started the journey home, Chris and Lee took over for last 100 miles back to Little Chalfont. I got home at 8:30am Monday morning. Trip cost £170 plus food each.

The trip would have been a lot more enjoyable if the followng things did happen:-

1. Agreed Charter times were stuck to.

2. People did not jump ques.

3. CAA scare didn't happen.

4. Certain birding colleagues were more honest when re-booking flights etc, so we could all benefit.

Fortunately the bird stayed for three days and everybody connected.

Twitching is only a hobby, I am not in competition with anybody apart from  myself in seeing birds.  I started too late in life to be a prize winning twitcher.

I get my enjoyment from seeing the birds, taking people to see birds (100 different people have been in my cars over the last 10 years), seeing different parts of Britain and the adrenaline rush. 

Cretzschmar's Bunting @ North Ronaldsway

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