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

http://garrybagnell.webs.com/jokes.htm

 

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

http://garrybagnell.webs.com/11ltstinttwitch.htm

 

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

 

Little Blue Heron & Scarlet Tanager Twitch. Friday 10th October to Saturday 11th October 2008

At 8:34am on Sunday 5th October, RBA mega alerted Little Blue Heron in Galway. At this time of day it would not be possible to see the bird same day by catching the Fishguard-Rosslare ferry. So the only option was to fly. Ryan Air don’t advertise their flights online for same day travel, you have to ring a premium rate number (£1 a minute) to make a booking.

I gave Ryan Air a ring and they wanted about £380 day return. Considering the Heron was now there for its 12th day, I thought going same day would be a waste of money. Incidentally, other Airlines were also charging similar prices. I decided to book a flight for Saturday 11th October. This was with Ryan Air, flying Stansted at 08:15, arriving at Shannon at 09:40. Departing Shannon at 21:25 and then back to Stansted at 22:45. Giving me almost 12 hours to drive from Shannon (Clare) to Letterfrack (Galway), then see the Heron and get back to Shannon. AA route master calculated it to take 5 hours driving in total.

I couldn’t get any days off work for the next 5 days. So every day the ritual was to check the pager for Heron news. Once the bird was on the pager, I could let out a deep breath of fresh air.

Many twitchers went on Monday 6th and easily connected with the Heron.

The next day Tuesday 7th at 5:48pm another Mega Alert went off on the pager. This time a Scarlet Tanager in Cork.

On Wednesday 8th, I was hoping the Tanager was not going to be seen again, but it was. Now I was feeling pretty p*ssed off, as I held no hope for the Tanager staying to Saturday. Later that day at 11:57 another Mega alert goes off. This time a first for Britain "Empidonax Flycatcher".

Now there are 3 new birds in the British Isles for me and the earliest day I can twitch is Saturday. Which is still 2+ days away. Whoppedo.

I nearly got my hammer out and just about stopped myself from smashing the pager to smitherines.

Why did I stop myself? The pager this week is seriously ruining my life. When I feel down, I try to remember the good old times. Like the weekend I shagged two blonde sisters. (Don’t worry I was single then) .

Then Thursday arrives. The pager tells me some good news & bad news. Good news is the Heron & Tanager are still in Ireland…and the bad news is that the Flycatcher is still in Cornwall. OK I need to think of some good experiences…..got one…chatted up a stunner in my single days at Branigans, Crawley. On the way back to her house she swore at a Policeman…..this was not a good move…..as she then got arrested…..and my effort for the evening was wasted as she was carted off to the local police station.

Anyway does it matter if 700 people see a first for Britain, while I am stuck at work. Of course it doesn’t, at least all the money raised for the Flycatcher on site will be going to good cause….Well as long as the person collecting the money hands it in…..of course he will its Lee Evan’s for god sake.

When I booked the Ryan Air flights on Sunday, the cost was £64. If the Tanager does stay to Saturday, it will not be possible to see both birds in 12 hours. I will need at least 15 hours in Ireland, plus time to find & satisfy myself (I am sure you know what I mean). I checked on the Ryan Air website to see if the cost of my Saturday flights had changed...they had...they were now being priced at £114 return Anyway, I noticed a flight leaving Stansted at 10pm and getting to Shannon around 10pm Friday night. It was priced at £70 one way.

To me it was a no brainer, I had to book it, if I wanted to see both birds on the same visit. The drive from Shannon to Garinish Point in Cork will take about 4 hours, with first light at 8am. So I should arrive at 3am, should get 5 hours kip. I would have to leave the Tanager by 10am, for the 10.5 hours needed to drive to Heron and then onto Shannon Airport for a 20:30 check in.

On Friday morning it felt like a huge weight had been lifted. The Flycatcher had departed Cornwall, but both the Irish birds were still present.

 

I left work on Frday 10th at the usual time of 17:00 and headed towards Stansted Airport with John Lees. On route we made a small detour to pick up Vince Halley-Frame and his beautiful burberry baseball cap (see photos).

We arrived at Stansted just before 19:00. Parked in the Mid-term Car Park (15.50 per day) and got on the courtesy bus to the terminal building.

Ryan Air seems to be very good at charging for what they call extras. Such extras include putting a suitcase in the Aircraft’s hold (£24.00 return), another £16.00 for checking you in both ways(only if you failed to do it online) and one day in the not to distant future I hear you can pay £25 for a female hostess to buckle you in and get a quick flash of her tits etc.

Our group of 3 sat down for a sumptuous meal airside. I had a cheese burger and chips and a latte for £11. Just after eating our meals Tony Vials from Northamptonshire turned up. Then all four of us settled down in the departure lounge to wait for our boarding gate number.

I had only met Vince once before and it didn’t take long to realise Vince was a ladies man. His eyes instantly locked onto a couple of giggling college girls sitting opposite us wearing mini skirts, leather boots, stockings & suspenders……at least Vince has got a couple of nice feathered birds he can lock his eyes onto when he gets to Ireland.

In the departure lounge was another group of three birders, including Howard Joliffe & Simon Buckingham. They had the same plans as us, they were going for the Tanager for fist light and then onto the Heron and back for the 21:25 flight from Shannon to Stansted.

The gate number was shown and we boarded and departed.

On arrival in Shannon, I walked over to the Hertz desk and decided to splash out and hire a Land Rover (£60 a day with the enhanced insurance). We left Shannon just after 23:00. Tony navigated to Garinish Point. On route Tony luckily noticed a sheep sitting in the middle of the road, I instantly swerved, whilst waking up John & Vince and narrowly avoiding hitting the sheep.

We arrived at Garinish Point unscathed at 3:30.

I tried to sleep, but someone couldn’t stop farting in the car (mainly me)…and Vince was snoring so loud I am surprised he didn’t flush the Tanager.

We all got out of the car around 7:30 and walked to House with the For Sale Sign in it’s garden. Here we met Mark Carmody http://flickr.com/photos/drcarmo/ (Top guy), who explained the Tanager routine to us all. At 08:00 Mark located the Tanager in a small tree opposite the house. We all watched the Tanager on/off for the next hour. By the time we was about to leave the site, many other Irish birders had arrived, and a group of 3 birders from SW including Ernie Davis. Stuart Elsom was also present and he joined forces with Howard’s team. We left the site at 10:00 and then made our way back to Shannon Airport to pick up Ashley Howe (12:45) and then onto Letterfrack (15:20). The Heron was on show immediately. It was allowing us to phoograph it at point blank range. After about 30 minutes it decided to fly off to another bay, where the views could only be described as crap.

The team posed for a few group photographs and we then made our way back to Shannon Airport. Vince & I had a celebratory beer and then bumped into Ian Kendal & Phil Ball (who went and saw Tanager only). I also spotted James Hunter and his team Vaughan ? and Paul Holmes who just went for the Heron.

I almost fainted whilst queing for the plane, as no other than a bunch of celebrities were present. The one and only "PUNKBIRDERS!!!!!!!" http://www.freewebs.com/punkbirder/

Great trip, great company and cost me £189.27 plus food.

PS: I must ask Vince when his birthday is so I can buy him a new hat.

 

 

 

 

Scarlet Tanager @ Garinish Point

 Little Blue Heron @ Letterfrack

 

John Lees, Garry Bagnell, Tony Vials & Vince Halley-Frame

Punkbirders @ Shannon Airport