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

 

Stejnegers Scoter (Saturday 12th March 2011)

 

 

Photographed superbly by Chris Batty on Friday 11th March 2011

News broke on the White-winged Scoter on Wednesday 9th March at 10:39 whilst I was on my last day of a 3 day visit to Newcastle. At the exact moment the news broke, I was sitting on one of those comfortable plastic chair’s with an oval shaped hole in the centre. I quickly finished the paperwork and got back to my desk to consider my options. ….

 One of my regular twitching buddies (Kris Curd) was quick on the drawer and texting me to find out my travel plans, other regulars (Leigh Heavens) was currently guiding a group of birders around Morocco and Western Sahara and he was due back later that day.

I departed Newcastle Airport around 14:30pm on a Flybe Q400 aircraft. Once back at Gatwick I was greeted at 15:42 with the best news of the day. Not that United Kingdom has got 3 new Billionaires (now totalling 32) but the extremely exciting news that the White-winged Scoter had not been seen all day at Rossbeigh. This news enabled me to make a snap decision on what to do about the Scoter. Conclusion was to stay put and go at the weekend if was ever to be seen again. 

On Thursday the inevitable happens, the Scoter was seen again and I was soon getting calls from Kris, Cleese and Lees all wanting to fly on Saturday.

 Many people will know that booking Ryan Air flights can seriously injure your wealth. I booked 4 seats Stansted-Kerry-Stansted during Thursday and got return flights for £136 each. Fares can be as little as 13 euros return if you book at least 5 weeks in advance.

 Saturday eventually soon comes round. The plan is now very simple (Johnnyboy) Cleese needs to get to my house for 3:30am, next stop is  Chaffinch House for 4:30am and then to get parked in Stansted’s long term car park by 5:30am. Bus should get us to Terminal for 6:00am. This would give us a whole hour before the gate closes for us all to chill out in the Terminal.

 Nothing can go wrong, can it?...Wrong Johnny boy get lost. He’s only been to my house 100 times before…..maybe he need’s another 100 visits before he knows it,   off by heart.

John’s got a sat Nav but I don’t think his partner Liz has showed him where the on/off  button is yet. Anyway John rings me just before 04:00am to say he’s got lost and decided to take signs to Centreville and park at the very well known Asda superstore.

I drove to ASDA and John follows be back to my house, with only half an hour lost, we should still make the flight.

Nothing else can go wrong before we fly can it? At approx 06:30am all four of us are queuing by the x-ray machine. Obviously we all know what you can’t take through liquids, sharp objects, machine guns etc. But one of our crew had an item of cargo that made the security guards push the panic button and before you can say “STEJNEGERS”one of our crew members was surrounded by Armed Police.

What!..Who?.Why? I hear you shout.

Sadly Leigh who hasn’t got a Shotgun license, was caught with a live Shot gun cartridge in his jacket pocket. He found it whilst out and about studying rare pheasants. And before anyone asks , NO he wasn’t in the process of buying a couple more Lady A’s to supplement the declining Beds/Bucks population.

After being detained for about half an hour, a message from the Sergeant at the nearby nick was radio’d through. “Let the idiot go”. Well Leigh was relieved and was soon repatriated with his fellow twitchers.

Whilst entering the plane queue we spotted many groups of fellow twitchers. The queue also contained a few singletons. Leigh managed to get Justin and his dad to take Kevin McCoy (Sussex) and  a guy resembling Fat Boy Slim (Essex) (sorry your name escapes me) to join forces.

The plane landed on time at Kerry (1.5hours in duration) and as I disembarked the plane, County recorder Ed Carty recognised me and shouted out “Garry, the Scoter is still there and showing well”

I hired a car with Hertz and it cost 62 euros (with enhanced insurance) per day. The airport to Rossbeigh is only 33 kilometres (20 miles) apart, and it took us about 30 minutes.

We were the last group to arrive from the Airport, and sadly we missed the Scoter by 10 minutes. Kevin McCoy who was going to come with us, but because of the car swapping he connected with the early morning sighting.

Our crew felt low, the bay is gigantic and was I feeling very uneasy about the Scoter being seen again today.

Leigh suggested we took a look further up the coastal cul-de-sac road. Other crews did the same thing. Alan Lewis did remarkable well, to re-find the Scoter in the bay an hour after it flew off from the beach. He allowed me to look through his scope, but my rapidly deteoriating eyesight (I blame daily PC use over a 25 year period) could only see black dots, just couldn’t decipher anything different with this brief view. Leigh and Kris, with their eagle eye ability, both could see the Scoter well enough to tick. John & I didn’t and we both hoped it would come in closer. It didn’t on this occasion and eventually everybody lost it.

During this time John Murphy was instrumental in getting me onto the location that Alan found the Scoter. But due to the many small groups of Scoters constantly changing in shape and size due to constant diving and re-surfacing all in different directions could hinder getting firm future landmarks. If your scope has not got at least 60x power it’s not really worth going for this bird. Anybody who's got Patrick Moore as a facebook friend could have a distinct advantage, If if he lets you borrow one of his telescopic toys.

It started raining and crews started retreating back to their cars. We decided to seek out a garage and re-fuel our tired bodies.

Within half an hour, the  rain had stopped and we went back to the beach for more searching. Whilst chatting to some of the visiting Brits an Irish birder offered us all free Coffee from the boot of his car. The Coffee was supplied by a local hotel. Absolutely brilliant gesture and it enhances the already very high sentiments I have for this nation.

Just as I took my last sip of Coffee, Lee Gregory received a call from Stuart Elsom that Scoter had been re-located much further up the cul-de-sac road.

Within 5 minutes we was on site and I had a quick look through Richard Bayldon telescope (same as mine, kowa 823 with 60x zoom). Bingo Dingo…I could see the Scoter clearly, I could easily make out the diagonal white eye stripe almost reaching the top of its head.

 Even better Johnny Boy saw it through someone elses scope aswell.

 What ever we saw now was a bonus. Birds seen in the bay included 400 Common Scoter, Eider, Red-throated Diver, Great Northern Diver, Shag, Razorbill, Guillemot, Black Guillemot, Chough, Raven, Rock Pipit, Sparrowhawk (near the dipper stream, but no dipper) etc etc. What a brilliant day it was turning out to be, a celebratory drink on the plane later is a must.

 During the next couple of hours, I was capable of finding the Scoter myself. The features noted on the Scoter were the white secondary panel, on open and closed wings. Reddish edge to lower mandible, black knob on bill, heavy bill and majestic eye stripe. Josh Jones has done very well with this re-identification.

 On the way back to the Airport we popped into Cromane and noted a Spoonbill and a nice flock of pale bellied Brents.

 Leigh and Kris fell off to sleep. As Johnnyboy was embarassed about his early morning gaf of being late, I thought I would give him a chance to redeem himself by doing a bit of map reading. All I wanted him to do was direct us back to the Airport. John took the map and I followed his instructions. True to form Johnny directed me in completely the wrong direction, whilst in the  Castlemain area. Leigh woke up and was furious at Johnnie for getting us lost   Leigh snatched the map off of Johnny and directed me back to the airport. I had to drive a breakneck speeds to make the plane, at one stage I even drove into someones front garden just to ask the homeowners if we now heading in the right direction. I didn't even get a chance to get out of the car,  Leigh shouted out "we haven't got  f**king time, just keep f**king driving."

 I drove as fast as I could safely. I even managed to overtake a tractor  with trailer and a bicycle on the way back.

The gate for the flight was due to close at 17:30. We screeched into the terminal building at 17:35. No time to return car to the hire company.  We dropped it off in the short term carpark opposite the terminal (I left the car keys with lost property) and we legged it towards the x-ray machines. The gate was now officailly closed,  but they still let us board. I don’t think this kindness would have been replicated at a UK airport. Maybe I’m wrong.

During this period of madness, I left my mobile on the x-ray conveyor belt. Johnny boy spotted it and returned it to me, I then used it to apologise to Hertz for not filling the car up with unleaded and dumping it inside the carpark. Yet again the Irish employee of Hertz, said  “no problem”.

Before we boarded the plane Ed Carty rounded up the twitchers for a group photograph of us all standing next to the plane.

 

From left to right - Bagger's, LGRE, Derek & Justin Taylor, John Lees, David Ellis, Craig Holden, Will Soar, Matt Deans, Lee Gregory and Kevin McCoy. Taken by County Recorder Ed Carty .

On the flight home it was nice to chat to Adele who runs a successful hairdressing business in Kerry, she started off the conversation, so Leigh and I quizzed her about mysteries of hairdressing. I celebrated with a packet peanuts and a bloody Mary. It cost me over 9 euros, but the cost of missing the plane would have been a fortune.

After disembarking the aircraft we waited in the nothing to declare zone for Johnny boy to come through. We were all puzzled has he was only one person behind us in the queue. After waiting 10 minutes he finally appeared. But he was being escorted by a security guard. Maybe he was caught pinching the bottom of the extremely attractive Adele as she was reaching out to extract her hand luggage from the overhead locker...no can't be.... John's married. Apparently the reason Johnnie was detained was because he lost his  f??king boarding pass on the plane and security had to escort him through a different security gate.

Great trip with a great crew who never cease to amaze me. My cost element was £165.26