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

 

'11 Red-footed Booby Twitch (Saturday 9th to Sunday 10th June 2011)

 

On Tuesday 6th July 2011 I tweeted about going on a plane from Gatwick. Chris Galvin asked if I was going to France to see the Red-footed Booby…I fell about laughing and quickly confirmed I was on a business trip to Newcastle and certainly had no intention to start Euro Twitching.

Every day I got reminders from the awfully nice people from RBA that the Red-footed Booby was still present and similar tweets were received from WPNewsByNetfugl.

Seeing Josh Jones swimming in the nude (well almost), in touching distance of the Booby, certainly got me thinking about going for it.

I departed Newcastle on Thursday 8th July 2011 at 2:30pm and got back to Gatwick at around 4pm. When I got home all I could think about was the bloody Booby. I tested the water to see if John and Kevin fancied a bit of Euro Twitching and sadly they both did.

I knew the biggest obstacle in going was getting permission from Kim. When Kim and I got married I promised her a couple of things. Which is also known romantically as the “The Deal”. The Deal is very simple, I agreed to it verbally 9 years ago which includes a few conditions like being faithful (intact), not spend every waking hour talking about birdwatching (almost achieved),not chartering planes to see birds (ooops broke that one a few times) and that I wouldn’t go Twitching abroad (broke only a couple of times).

Lee Evans also wanted to go and he had to back in Little Chalfont by 7am Sunday 11th July . I almost agreed to go with him… but I just need to ask Kim first.

Kim got home about 6pm. It took me 30 minutes to pluck up enough courage to ask her about going to France. She said “No, you’ve got to baby sit Georgie on Saturday!!!!”. I phoned back Lee to tell him I couldn’t go. I also informed John that I couldn’t go and told Kevin McCoy that I couldn’t go unless I got a baby sitter.

After a couple of hours of discussing potential baby sitters, it appeared that we only have one baby sitter approved by Kim....which is infact her MUM and I was forbidden to ask her to baby sit on this occassion.

OK let’s think about this for a second……

....... yep, I'm not going. It's going to upset Kim too much, this one is sadly out of bounds.

Whilst munching my dinner, I got a phone call from Kevin and he said “What are you going to do then?” I said “You better go with John and Lee, I just can’t go” I added “Kim won’t be back home on Saturday to after 3pm and……wait a minute……if we leave at 3pm, and get back home by 9am Monday morning we have roughly 42 hours to make this trip work”. Eureka, Kim finally agreed to let me go, as long I bring her something nice back. John rang me back late on Thursday night and I said Kevin & I we going for it late on Thursday. All of a sudden, the idea of him getting a lift…and not having to wear his car out become an immediate hit.

Getting to France

The distance from Calais to Lac de Sainte-Croix is 1060 kilometres each way. Therefore you need 24 hours return driving time, and a couple of hours for locating, watching, sketching, painting or giving the bird a stroke.

 The Channel Tunnel was about £160 return for a period greater than 24 hours. This would be £42 return if you see the bird within a 24 hour period. OK for owners of Lamborghini Countach and not bothered about getting a few speeding fines on route.

Sea France Ferry was priced at £50 return for a flexible 36 hour period.

 Cheque Book Birders might prefer booking a Last minute flights to Marseille, Nice or Toulon all costing in the region of £600 return.

We opted for Sea France. Kevin booked the Sea France Ferry for his car Thursday night. Booking the 3:30pm departure from Dover to Calais on Saturday at 3:30pm and returning to Calais on Sunday at 8:30pm.

 Adverts to RBA yielded a couple of phone calls on Thursday and Friday night. On Friday night Hugh the Price is Right took the last car seat.

On Saturday morning I took my daughter bowling. She got a strike and got a score of 87, most of my bowls missed the skittles but I did manage to get 81 points. So my SEVEN year old daughter wins again.

Then we headed home, within an hour John Lees and Kevin McCoy arrived at my abode. I made then both a cup of Coffee and begged them not to smash up the house whilst I drove Georgie to Kim’s workplace. With Georgie in safe hands I made my way back home for about 1:15pm.

For those of you thinking about taking the car to France, there are a few items that need to be taken. Items include:- Fire Extingisher, GB Car sticker, Warning Triangle, spare car bulbs, fluorescent waist coats, head lamp deflector, rope and loads of bloody money. You will need at least 174 euros for the tolls alone.

We picked up Hugh and his bag of tricks at Three Bridges Railway Station.

 The journey to Dover was relatively straightforward apart from a sign saying that some junctions on the M20 were down to one line. We came off before Folkestone and made our way on the Coastal A259 to Dover.

The Ferry departed on time and John, Kev & I made our way to the restaurant. I opted for Beef sloop-og-anoff. Initially I was a bit pissed off as the pretty girl (yes she did have big tits), directly in front of me in the queue was given 3-4 big spoonfuls of beefy sloop from admiring male Chef. When I got served, I gave him a big smile and he only gave me 1 spoonful of Beefy sloop….maybe he thought I was a fat bastard who needed to lose a few pounds….I will never know. Just before I paid for the food, I grabbed a cup of Cappuccino from the self-service dispensing machine. These 2 items cost me about 12 euros and you’ve guessed it….the food tasted like shit and the cappuccino was cold.

I’m not exactly sure where Bilbo baggins went whilst we all tucked into this meal fit for a King. But when we did catch up with him, he managed to get a three course meal and a bottle of Champagne for less than a couple of Euros....lucky bugger.

Kevin drove off the ferry at just after 5:45pm French time, and headed south. The only item Kevin failed to obtain from the earlier list of goodies was the headlamp deflectors. I will tell you that the next 15 petrol stations shops don’t sell them; you can certainly buy them on the Ferry for £6.99, any Halfords or 5p plus £5.95 postage from Ebay.

Every stop on this long journey TWO things generally happened (1) John would buy an ice cream and (2) Mr Hughman Rucksack would weigh a few less pounds.

Driving on these French toll roads is an amazing experience. The roads are straight, smooth, well sign posted, litter free, little traffic and no road rage. I would say the whole journey to the south of France was totally stress-free and enjoyable.

At 5:30am Sunday morning we arrived at Lac de Sainte-Croix. It was just getting light. I was first to get out and start searching for the Booby. The first birds we encountered were Alpine Swifts swirling above our heads….but no sign of the Booby. In the distance we could see two others birders walking towards the Lac. I headed towards them and introduced myself, the guy who I first spoke to was in fact French but fluent in English. His name was Jean-Phillipe Siblet and he gave us a run down on the Booby and its whereabouts over the last few days. Jean was from Paris, but the bird knowledge he had of this particular area was second to none. Whilst Jean & I were chatting Kevin borrowed my scope and found the Booby sitting on a nearby boat.

A little after 6:30 am all four of us were admiring this beautiful bird. It allowed very close approach, I managed to get some hand held photos with my Samsung NV-4. Whilst watching it Jean pointed out some sub-song of a nearby male Golden Oriole. Another cracking bird in the notebook (Yes lee I have got a notebook). The lac is situated near a camp site and we had to keep our voices down as we didn’t want to wake the holiday makers up. One guy was sleeping right next to us on a wooden bench..he had nothing covering his sleepy body.

 

 

 

The BIG Twitch. (Left to right) Jean-Phillipe Siblet, Jeans friend, John Lees hiding behind my scope and Rucksack Ronny.

At 7:00am we decided to head back to the car and said our goodbyes to the two French birders. It was really nice to meet Jean, I will definitely take up his kind offer of doing some future birding with him in the Paris area.

A few very brief stops on the North bound journey home, gave us views of Serins, Bee-eaters, Black Kites, Turtle Dove etc etc.

We counted over 60 Black Kites on the way home, and John did well…he spotted a Woodpigeon flying over the motorway.

The entertainment in the car was amazing to be honest. Hugh can impersonate people’s voices with the greatest of ease; he impersonated Nelson Mandela, Rory Bremner, Tony Blair, Ian Botham, Nasser Hussain, Dickie Bird, Frank Bruno, Chris Ewbank, Richie Beno and hundreds more. Not only were the impersonations perfect but the various dialogue he gave were amazingly witty. Surely Britain’s Got Talent would love him. Kevin connected his phone to the car speakers and we had a mini competition of guessing pop songs. During all the fun and frolics I got a phone call from Ernie Davis (Devon) that a Belgium Birder Kris De Rouck (Top 10 Western Pal lister) had smashed his car up on approach to the Lac de Sainte-croix and Ernie wanted Lee Gregory’s phone number to see if he could aid Kris. I don’t know Kris, but I hope everybody is ok.

We all wanted to get back to Calais at 7:00pm to give us plenty of time for the 8:30pm. Everything was going well, until the Car broke down at 6:00pm.

 

This picture will hopefully remind everybody that there have two species of  Booby in the Western Palearctic and its the sort of bird I will be talking about for years to come.

An antipollution fault warning flashed up on the dash and the car lost power and Kevin steered us onto the safety of the hard shoulder. Kevin tried to start the car again and we had a repeat performance of the car starting and then losing power and grinding to a halt.

Luckily Kevin took out European Breakdown Cover. After ringing the breakdown number, a recorded message indicated that the Police would have to get involved. We all thought that without the beam deflector being used, we were due to be locked up for a night at the nearest Gendarmerie.

Preparing ourselves all for the worse, Kevin thought he would try to start the car one more time. Bingo….the car started and no loss of power, Kevin decided to keep the car at low speed and keep all the optional extras off in the car just in case this was creating the problem.

We made the ferry in time for the 8:30pm crossing and I got home at 11:00pm Sunday night.

Great trip only costing 3 tank loads of petrol, 174 euros in tolls, £50 ferry, £20 breakdown four ways was £108.

Anybody thinking about in going for this bird, yes it can be done even if one of the passengers needs SIXTY THREE diarrhoea stops and another has an ice cream fetish. I would like to congratulate Kevin in being a top bloke and I certainly would want an advance warning if ever farts again…just enough time to get the ear defenders on. And lastly it was nice to have Hugh’s company again, not only is he an Encyclopaedia of who’s who in British Birding, but he’s all round bloody nice bloke who would enhance the enjoyment of any group of travelling birders.

Lastly but not least. a 125ml bottle of Marc Jacobs "Daisy" was presented to Kim the next morning, hopefully this will keep the door open for another affordable Europa League Twitching extravaganza.