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


Myrtle Warbler (Friday 8th to Saturday 9th October)

Picture taken  by Graham Clarke.

This Myrtle Warbler arrived bang on cue for me not being able to drop my pencil sharpener and leg it. Why? Coz it’s my extremely busy week at work week. Every month one particular week I have to do some work…[SHOCK, HORROR, NOT WORK] I hear you cry….I know it’s sad….but Yes I have to prepare the Management Accounts for two Departments I am involved in.

Anyway lets change the WORK subject….I am sure you don’t want me to go into detail about the gratuitous flashing of boobs by the exceptionally beautiful HR girls do you?

During this period of work, I have missed many birds in the past, such as the Outer Hebs Purple Martin (ooh I still cry about that one), and the Portland Yellow-breasted Bunting (almost extinct?? so I read). During this scary week during September & October, I pray nothing good is ever found. But this time a Myrtle Warbler is found, not the most valuable gem in the Collins Bird Book, but one l would nevertheless, still like to see.

The news broke on Tuesday 5th October at just after 5pm, I was just pulling into my house at the time. I had a quick tot up on how many Myrtle Warbler (MW) records there had been since records began. I counted 29 and attempted to analyse the records graphically with bar charts, pie charts, logarithms, trigonometry, Pythagoras theorem, binomial curve and finally deduced with my abacus that the Warbler could stay at least 5 days.

So each day on, I would keep one eye on the pager, just in case the red light flashed…As soon as it flashed, I would grab it, read the message just encase it was from Cape Clear.

I needn’t have bothered looking at the pager really, as the army of Clear Birders avoided the MW site to at least 1pm. It was more important they concentrated finding new Rares, rather than baby-sit the MW. Which would of only benefited new visiting birders.

After the news that the MW was still on Clear on Thurday, I became a cheque book birder for the day and booked the Friday (06:35) Aer Lingus flight from Gatwick to Cork and returning to Gatwick on Saturday (22:10) for John Lees and myself. (£165 return).

Flying Aer Lingus was a very pleasant experience. Very large, comfortable leather seats, friendly cabin crew (that weren’t from Russia), no extra charges for taking the telescope and tripod onto the plane. In fact no hidden costs at all. I had a quick look at what the low cost Ryan Air wanted for the same flight. Its starting price was £200, god only knows what its final price would have been after you pay all the taxes, credit/debit fee, booking fees, insurance etc. Its not all bad news at Ryan Air, even the slightly larger than average guy only has to pay for ONE SEAT. (See if you can spot him below, he's wearing a blue top)


We landed at Cork Airport at 8:15am. First stop was the Budget Car Rental desk. The smallest car available, cost us 110 euros for 2 days (including 26 euros optional insurance). Left the Airport at 8:37am and arrived at Baltimore at 10:00. The journey was only 60 miles long. On route we stopped at the Spar Shop in Skibbereen for some supplies. Here I bought a couple of rolls (one tuna and the other, chicken mayo both tasting absolutely delicious btw), freshly made to order from the deli counter.  



From the free car park at Baltimore, I could see in the distance a couple of Birders with Scopes slung over their shoulders, waiting on the quay next to the Sherkin Boat & Cape Boat. 

One of the Birders turned out to be Dermot Breen (the guy who positively identified the Little Blue Heron). He had just came off the Cape and predicted that the Myrtle Warbler would not have left last night. He said “There were strong winds and heavy rain all night”. Well that was just the sort of news I wanted to hear.

John & I got on the 10:30 ferry and 45 minutes later we set foot on the Cape.

[Cape has recorded 303 different species of bird. Including SEVEN different species of American Warbler (Black & White, Blue-winged, Yellow, Myrtle, Blackpoll, American Redstart & Northern Waterthrush)]

Mary, the taxi driver was waiting at the quay with a good sized people carrier (+353-(0)86-3836759). She got us to Michaels Vincent’s Garden within 4 minutes.  The garden is a forest of trees, shrubs and TWENTY HUNGRY CATS. The garden is almost impenetrable to the human eye. However John Lynch found a good spot to see in. If by magic, whilst I was waking past him, he shouted out “I’ve got it”. He was standing on a stone wall over looking the garden. I joined him and saw the MW immediately. It was hovering, feeding and preening for at least 5 minutes that I was in attendance. This was around 12:45 and it was nice to see its lemon coloured rump whilst hovering. My friend dead eyed Dick (a.k.a. John Lees) couldn’t get onto the bird during this 5 minute spell. He made the mistake of trying to see the bird with binoculars first. If he used eyesight alone, he mightly have connected, but knowing John, he probably would have still missed it IF IT SAT PREENING ON HIS FOOT. But with adrenaline pumping, any method deployed, I confess it can still be difficult to connect. So John decided to stand on this wall and pray the MW would miraculously come back to the same section of garden.

FOUR hours later, he still hadn’t seen it. At this point, light was beginnng to drop and it looked like he was going to dip (It reminded me of the time I missed the Lesser-crested Tern flying past Cley, I did eventually did see it at Happisburgh). But John's lucky stars were shinning on him.  Steve Wing (Warden) and Jim Dowdall (Ireland joint top lister) both arrived by car. Steve got permission from Michael Vincent for all of us to enter his garden. Within 5 minutes of entering garden, Jim saw his 6th MW on the Cape and John finally saw it. Hooorrraayyy. One nice guy on our boat, (name escapes me) did unfortunately dip it. He headed back before the warden arrived, as he was desperate to catch the last boat off the island at 16:00


Baltimore - Cape Clear Boat   http://www.cailinoir.com/timetable Tel Office: +353-(0)28-39159 Tel Boat: + 353-(0)87-9831876 

Cape Clear Observatory run by warden Steve Wing   http://www.birdwatchireland.ie/Birdwatching/CapeClearBirdObservatory/tabid/567/Default.aspx         Tel: +353-(0)28-39181 Email: stevewing@eircom.net

Cape Clear Hostel run by Ritchie & Sinead Fenlon  http://www.capeclearhostel.com Tel: +353-(0)28-41968.        Emailsunshine@capeclearhostel.com

John & I then walked with a spring in our step to the Cape Clear Hostel. On arrival we was greeted by an exceedingly handsome Irish Gent called Richie Fenlon. He gave us a tour of the Hostel. Couple of very nice features in the hostel included a Chess board setup (on table) in the lounge and a Ping Pong Table in the dining room. I would have loved to have played Richie at Chess, next time I will challenge him to a game; that’s for sure.

 Also staying at the Hostel was Harry Hussey and his friend John Lynch. Harry & John prepared themselves a meal at the hostel, whilst John & I decided to join the Irish birders eating at Club Cleire. The dish of the night was pizza, I had one with black anchovies, capers & olives and for me that was the best pizza you can get, it’s absolutely delicious. The food was so good that every seat in the restaurant was taken. The birders in attendance were Maurice Hanafin, Seamus Enright, Dennis O’Sullivan, Graham Clarke, Brian Lynch, Tony Nagle, Geoff Oliver (Birder who runs a B&B 028 49193 or 087 6197817). Paddy O’Keefe, James McNally, Alan Horan, David O’Connell, Peter Phillips, Victor Cashera, Jim Dowdall, Steve Wing & Mary Gade

 After Dinner we went upstairs to watch Ireland v Russia International Football match, followed by log call and ending up drinking Guinesss/Beer to the early hours of the morning.

 I had very enjoyable chats with many Irish during the evening. It was good to chat at length to Jim Dowdall, Dennis O’Sullivan, Paddy O’Keefe and Victor Cashera. Ireland has also got some interesting characters also well worth talking to:- Tony Nagle (“the pig”) a charming man as long as you don’t mention the Bird Atlas to him. Then one to avoid at all costs is the very straight faced Eamonn O Donnel (“Bob”) He is famous for a Bobolink he strung saw. Whatever you do, don't get him debating the British & Irish Listing scene. If you see him smile, feel very priviileged. Eammon if you ever read this write up, i'm only joking mate, it was really good to meet you.

Club Cleire, which is situated on the North harbour

Peter Phillips (Myrtle Warbler finder)

(Left to Right) Victor Cashera, Jim Dowdall ('05 Cape Myrtle Warbler finder that I dipped), Steve Wing & Mary Gade


(Far side Left to right) Maurice Hanafin ('06 Canada Warbler finder), Seamus Enright, Dennis O'Sullivan & Graham Clarke

Saturday morning John & I got up at 8am. We made our way to ktichen and had some coffee and beans on toast. Then strolled over to the Observatory. Whilst Steve Wing was testing me out on the Bird quiz, news broke of a Yellow-breasted Bunting at Dursey Island. John & I then decided to go for it and we then took the midday boat off of the Cape. We drove non stop to the Dursey cable car. Then we was waiting to get a positive text from Owen Foley who was on  Dursey searching for it. He sent us a negative message and at 4pm we headed back to Cork Airport. I got home at 22:15 on Saturday.

The final costs of the trips are as follows:- Plane Ticket £165.16 each, 40 euros petrol, 16 euros each for ferry return, £21 each B&B, £17 three taxi rides, 110 euros car hire and £10 each in the tick bucket. My individual total was £272 + food.

I hope more Brits will take the plunge and book a few days or week on the Cape. I think you will be pleasantly surprised at what the Island has to offer a birdfinder.


Cable Car to Dursey


   A free leaflet, showing where a few of Cape's Rare Birds have been seen. 
















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