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


Alder Fly & Northern Parula Twitch (Saturday 25th to Tuesday 28th September)

   Georgie & I were playing some very complex school number games with spinners, counters and a numbered grid, (1 to 100) and “yes” she beat me. Then Kim shouts out “You’ve got a Text on your phone.”

 I amble upstairs and pick up the phone and it read’s  “MEGA Norfolk Empidonax flycatcher (probably Alder, Willow or Least) Blakeney Point in Plantation at 1:05pm. Approach with caution” . My heart starts thumping, Kim’s starts giving me chores I don’t really want right now. I settled for just dragging a mattress, single-handedly into Georgies room, for her impending sleeping over Cousins.

 I then charge downstairs for my wallet, then charge upstairs for warm clothes, then charge downstairs for car keys, then charge upstairs for my camera, then charge downstairs for my notebook…Quite honestly I’m bloody useless with same day twitching.

 Will I ever be more organised and have a pre-packed bag in the car boot? I doubt it..I’m a man for god sake.

 I left the house at 1:15pm and the first stop was Tesco fill up . Whils’t filling up, my mind was calculating an E.T.A. The Cley to Blankeney Point  walk takes at least 1.5 hours, the Cley journey is between 3 to 4 hours depending on traffic. Therefore my E.T.A. is at worse 6:45pm and the bird will be getting ready to roost by then.

 If I dip I can always stay the night. On route Brighton John wanted me to wait an hour for him to get to mine and Chris was hoping I could go clockwise around the M25.

I declined both offers.

I arrived at Cley at 4:30pm. I take one step out of the car,  and soon realised I forgot to bring my coat, gloves, hat and ruck sack. Never mind atleast I had a spare T-Shirt in the boot. And by god, did I need it.

The 3 mile walk was absolutely horrendous. The route to the point was mainly on shingle, with hail stones/ rain, 30mph westerly gales in your face for the whole journey .If you didn’t have enough energy to propel yourself forward, the gale would have taken me back to the car park without me having to lift my legs. I considered returning to the car more than once.. I assure you. But this is supposedly a “Yellow-bellied Flycatcher”, a first for the Western Palearctic, I had to keep moving, even if it meant conserving energy by moonwalking ("Michael Jackson style" )every now and then...I was still overtaken by many fit birder racing each in wheelchairs and roller skates.

On route to the point I can bearly make out the birders leaving. I’m sure I spotted James Hanlon, Richard Millington, Neil Alford, Lee Greogory , Adrian Kettle all leaving with big grins.

I got to the point at 5:45pm and 10 minutes later I connect with this Empidonax sp. I notice the double white wing bar, typical flycatcher upright stance, lemon coloured throat and belly, and then it hops right (just about still see it, but crap views), and then hops right again and this time out of sight.

 I take a look for the first time to see who’s at the twitch. Most birders are sitting on a raised bank, looking down in the compound.

But one twitcher is looking in the opposite direction. Infact, he is laying down and looking up the hill, at the very friendly Penny Clarke (it reminds me of old Cadbury’s Flake adverts). However the images, she obtained will undoubtedly prove vital in clenching the Flycatcher true identity.

It was quite easy to spot me at the twitch. I was the one with the "RED HAIR". No It wasn't red die... the bank was so slippery and when someone called they had it... I rushed over...I slipped on the damp bank....and before I knew I was laying on my back with my Manfrotto tripod, now newly attached to my head. After a few minutes the bleeding stopped and news of a "Northern Parula" broke. One group of twitchers present, immediately organised a next charter to Tiree.


Photo courtesy of Penny Clarke


I left the point at 18:30 and got back to the car around 20:00. Whilst in the car I tried to use my mobile phone, but this had got soaked and I wasn't able to rmake/ receive a call or send/ read a text. I took it apart and tried to dry it, then the battery went flat. The plan was now very clear, no team, no phone; therefore it was time to head back home. At Fakenham, I popped into a chip shop and there before my very eyes stood LGRE and his friend Alan. He said "I've been trying to get hold of you, John Bell as reserved you a seat for a boat leaving Oban at 9am tomorrow morning". Initially I wasn't interested, but after putting Oban into the Sat Nav and finding out that I could be there at 6am Sunday morning, which would give me a safety margin of 3 hours to get there., I cracked and decided to go. I left Fakenham at 21:30.

The sat nav took me through a few back roads, but it eventually got me on the A1. At Scotch Corner, I came off on and went onto the A66, then to the more familiar M6.

 I arrived at Oban at 6:30am. I parked up at the Columba Hotel and John arrived there at 7:45am on foot. At 8:13am, the people of Oban might have spotted me hugging John. Don’t worry I’m not bi or gay . I did, what I did because the pager just confirmed the best news in the world, “The Parula is still present for its 2nd day”…..wow…what a feeling. Before this message, there was every chance that my sleepless night was to become a whole lot worse,  I might have to start driving home.

 We drove to the ferry terminal, and attempted to get the car booked on the Sunday ferry and returning on the Monday. No problem getting out, but couldn’t bring car back to Tuesday. This forced us to go as foot passengers (£16.70 return each, where ticket was open for a month).

Oban is full of pay and display car parks. But if you ask John nicely, he can draw you a map on where there is free parking, The car park is only a 20 minute walk from the Ferry Terminal.

The Ferry departed on time at 9:00am. John and I tucked into a reasonably priced cooked breakfast on the ferry. The crossing is due to take 4 hours. During the cruise, John attempted to organise transport from Terminal to the Bird and accommodation for the night.

Well bless his cotton socks he did try. John has got nearly every useful Tiree number stored on his mobile. Numbers including:- Tiree Ring’n’Ride number (01879-220419)(doesn’t operate on a Sunday), Car hire MacLennan Motors (01879-220555) (also closed on a Sunday) and John Kennedy Taxi (01879-220419) who didn’t answer the phone. John also tried to book us in at the very cheap Millhouse hostel that sleeps 16/18. They were also closed.(01879-220435).

 In the end, Angus Murray kindly laid on some transport. Angus flew onto Tiree with 6 others on a charter plane. The minibus that chauffeured them around on the Island was sent to pick us up at the Ferry port once Angus was airborne again.

During the crossing I spotted an immature White-tailed Eagle flying alongside the Ferry and just above the sea. This was very impressive indeed.


The Ferry docked at 13:00 and 15 minutes later the Minibus arrived. The driver whisked us to John Bowler’s house (11 miles away), and only charged us £11 for the privilege. John Bowler greeted us on arrival and led us into his beautiful house. We took our shoes off, but I probably left a trail of Blakeney sand & shingle from his front door to his living room window. The bird was immediately showing, just outside his window feeding low down on a very small Sycamore. I believe this is the first rarity I’ve ever seen through a living room window.

John rang out the news and shortly after ,John phone was continually ringing. I counted 500 phone calls during the day. He must have lots of friends! It transpired that most calls were from the President of the UK400club asking some very important questions. Questions ranged from:- Have you seen it yet? Where? When? How? Who’s there? What’s the bird doing? How much did it cost ? Has Bagnell changed his underpants yet?

The rugged coastline at Scarinish


Before anybody asks "Did I take this photo?" Tthe answer is no it was taken by the finder "John Bowler".

John Bowler is a great guy, he told us that he wanted to call his house on Tiree“ Parula” after the one he saw on the Scillies in 1992. His wife Janet says “You can only re-name it, if you find one”. John has now been  living on Tiree for 10 years and now he has found one…the big question is….will Janet let him?

We left John’s house at 16:00 and did some birding in the general vicinity. Best birds included Whooper Swans & a Greenland Redpoll. About 18:00, we made our first attempt at thumbing a lift. It was an instant success. A car stopped, we both jumped in and we shared the back seat with a couple of dogs (no, not ugly women). The driver knew where there might be a vacant B&B…and bingo we went to Crossapol and met Marion Campbell and I simply made a Coffee then crashed out on the single bed.

On the Monday morning, John & I get up just before 07:00 and tucked into the sumptuous breakfast Marion had prepared for us. We left the B&B at 08:00 and decided to walk the 3 mile stretch to Scarinish. The Ferry arrived at 12:30 and departed shortly after. I very rarely see any hot totty on Caledonian MacBrayne ferries... But this ferry was full of them! One in particular was wearing knee length leather boots and wearing a tight fitting white T-shirt. I’m certainly glad Kim has not got this type of T-Shirt, as nothing is left to your imagination. One balding lad with red hair, kept staring at the girls beautifully formed love buckets…in the end…the poor lass had no choice but to turn around,, so no more viewing were possbile for the rest of the crossing.

The ferry docked at 16:30 and I suppose I am glad I didn’t spend £450+ on this occasion. But good luck to the crews that plane charter, they are mega keen and certainly deserve the birds.

I got home at 2:30am Tuesday morning. Drove 1181 miles. and trip cost (excluding food) was  £234. Approx £181 (Parula) and £53 (Alder Fly).



Map of Tiree / Tyree

 The Caledonian MacBrayne ferry operates daily, between Oban and Tiree. Thursday is the only day you can day trip it. Once ferry has docked it would not be possible to drive the 22 mile round trip and get back on the same ferry. Ferry only stays docked in the region of 20minutes.

The ferry port is very near Scarinish, and the Northern Paurula is at Hynish. I stayed Sunday night in Crossapol. "Windway" Bed & Breakfast Mrs Campbell. 5/6 Reef Terrace, Crossapol, Isle of Tiree PA77 6UT. Telephone number 01879220423 email marion.campbell2@tiscali.co.uk


I didn't see many sign posts on Tiree, so I couldn't resist taking this photo.


I enjoyed some early morning birding between Crossapoll and Scarinish. (3 mile walk). Note all the roads on Tiree are single carriageway, so thumbing a list is always a possiblity.

The hill in the distant is the Car nan mor (between Hynish & Balephui)


The only police station (Scarinish), I do hope no twitcher needs to go in the slammer for the night. 

Another nice place to stay, but sadly 11 miles from the Bird.


Not many shops on the Island, but this Co-op store located in Scarinish should be worth a visit.


An extract from the Fortnightly Newsletter "An Tinisdeach", in which the finder "John Bowler" writes his Birdie news.


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