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


White-throated Robin Twitch (Monday 6th to Tuesday 7th June 2011)


Both White-throated Robin shots taken by Matt Eade http://seafordbirding.blogspot.com/ on Thursday 9th June.

It’s Monday morning at 8:36am and I just load my laptop and sandwich box on the back seat of my Vauxhall Vectra and I hear the liquid sound of a text message hitting my HTC Wildfire. Without trying to open the message I decide to first look at my silent pager (I hate the mega alert going off whilst at work) and see if it is. Bingo it is. I read it as I simultaneous perch my derriere inside the Vectra.

 My god it’s really a real MEGA.  No less than a White-throated Robin in Hartlepool. I sit still for 10 seconds and consider the following facts/theories.

 (1)  I’m due to be at work in 20 minutes time. (2)  On Tuesday I’m flying to Newcastle for a 3 day work visit. (3) My darts team is appearing tonight in it’s first ever Cup Final. (4) This certainly will be “real”, it won’t be an elaborate hoaxes involving a stuffed bird and a native branch. (5) This is a nocturnal migrant, and we’ve got approx 12 hours before darkness, and a journey that will take between 5 and 6 hours, depending on traffic.

 I decided it was worth the risk in going (even if by alone). All I had to do was get permission, I rang up my Newcastle based manager and he gave me the thumbs up Then I rang RBA to advertise the trip. I popped into the office to get some files I needed for Newcastle and during the 3 minute office visit my mobile didn’t stop ringing.

 First stop was PETROL. Tank was more or less empty, so I totally filled it up. I tried to get some cash out at the Cash point but it was empty. No time to bugger about getting any cash out of another cash point as the adrenaline was starting to pump and my body was starting to twitch. So that’s why they call it twitching.

 The only confirmed passenger I had before I left the petrol station was Tony Vials who was going to meet me at M1 junction 15A. I quickly entered the M23 and starting driving Northbound. The decision had not been made whether to go Clockwise or Anticlockwise around the M25, but after John Benham confirmed he wanted to come, the decision was made to go Clock wise. Seconds later I received passenger offers from Kent. These both had to be refused, as Clockwise was agreed. A couple of friends also rang me to say they were on their way, but I hadn’t heard from LGRE. Which was unusual for him.

 I put a tweet and a facebook message out, advertising my twitch.

 It took 45 minutes to get to Leatherhead and John was quickly found patiently waiting,  Then I get another call from a guy called Brendan who wanted a lift. I asked  him to get to Junction 18 of the M25. That means the car is now officially FULL.

 Lucky for Lee his partner Carmel is one of my Facebook friends. She sees my message and leaves work to drive back home to see if she can wake him.

 M25 has ground to a halt and it takes me 2.5 hours to get to Junction 18. Lee then rings me and asks “What am I doing about the Robin?” I said “I’m at junction 18 and can be at your in a few minutes time!” Immediately he wants to come.

 Minutes later Lee is sitting in front seat of the car and making phone calls galore.  John and Brendan are sitting in the back of the car and enjoying listening to THE colourful conversations Lee is embarking on.

 Whilst on the M1 it becomes obvious that we need to take a detour eventually as Junction 19?-20? is closed. We pick up Tony Vials at 15A at about 12:30pm. I guess it becomes uncomfortable in the back, but what could I do different?

 We came off the M1 a few junctions up and get back on the M1 at about one junction north of the closure.

 Many of the phone calls Lee receives have us all in stitches. The phone call he receives that the Bowling team has just turned up was hilarious. Lee enquires if they can postpone their match to another day, and he was willing to give them money to stop playing. Well if you know Lee, you very rarely see him part with money. On this trip Lee brings a cardboard box full of food and drink. Lee has got no space for his feet in the foot well.

 Another phone call about a barking dog was a classic. Constant barking was just too much for the Robin, she or he decided to fly back into the impenetrable Doctors garden.

 Chris Heard who was already on site said he missed the Bird by a few seconds.

 10 minutes later Chris rings says he's now seen the Robin and its back on the Green. The Dog and Bowling Party are still in attendance. Lee at this point is apoplectic. I think that’s the right word for Lee’s condition.

 At 3:15pm we arrive at Hartlepool. There must have been 500 twitchers all with big smiles on their faces. They were smiling because the Robin made a brief appearance at 3:10pm. The Robin had gone missing for the last two hours.

 I am soon greeted by the two Kent lads that I could have gone with if I went anti-clockwise. They had both seen it.

 I couldn’t believe how small the Bowling Green was and it was totally surrounded by Twitchers and photographers.

 Two and quarter hours then passed and there had been no sign of the Robin anywhere.

 Twitchers/photographers were asked to move back and give bird space to fly in from the corner of the Bowling Green (that is adjacent to the Doctors garden). They refused to move with requests from LGRE and Franko.

 I decided to have a chat with Chris Brown (the finder) and see if he would go back into the trapping area and try to push it back onto the Bowling Green. He said he would but the crowd would need to be moved back to at least to where the Ice Cream Van was parked, this meant them moving about 20 metres. I then asked them to move. 90% of the gathered crowd moved back, but I didn’t see a single photographer moving back. This behaviour I find absolutely disgusting. Why is this group so f??king selfish?? They have already got good pictures and they are not prepared to give the rest of the assembled crowd (500-600 at this time) a chance in seeing the Robin.

Chris Brown soon goes into the trapping area and comes out and announces he can’t see the Robin anywhere. Lee suggests we all independently start searching for the Robin in gardens in the vicinity.

After 20 minutes of searching I get a phone call from Simon Chidwick. He announces that the Robin is currently in the Doctors Garden. With that news, LGRE, Brendan and I run like lunatics towards the garden. On arrival, the garden’s 10 foot brick wall complete with anti-vandal paint has a Van parked up on the pavement with a birder standing on its roof who is currently watching the Robin. Before you can say “Mock Bunting is a load of Bollocks”, Lee manages to get on top of the Van and get a view of the Robin. Lee watches if for a bit and then gives me his space. I eventually see it and the pleasure of Sue Bryan lying on top of my back (see photos). The Robin shows well for me on the wooden structure containing the compost heap for about 20 seconds.

 The time is now 5:50pm and my shit mood has totally lifted. I get down from the Van and give others a chance to view the Robin. I wander back to the Car and devour my packed lunch. I send another tweet and facebook message announcing the good news. Time is getting on and it was getting a bit chilly and so I slip a fleece on and go back to the walled Doctors Garden. Now there are TEN ladders and THREE vans in position to give the large crowd a chance to see the robin. I take another look at the Robin for about 5 minutes on and off.

 The best news is that everybody connects and we decide to leave at 7:15pm. I arrange for John Benham, who wanted more prolonged views of the Robin to get a lift back with our mutual friend John Lees. I needed to get home as I was flying to Newcastle at 8:30am the next morning.

 I must say that were no damage to the wall, but one Vans windscreen did get smashed by someone standing on the wrong section of the roof. The roof of the van I was standing on, did cave in a little bit...I think 10 people on the roof at the same time was just too much.

 On the way home we stopped for fuel and a Burdger King. After I dropped off LGRE at Little Chalfont I got back onto the M25 and 5 minutes later I hear a loud bang coming from the front of my car. The car is still moving so I carry on…maybe I hit something on the road. 3-4 minutes later the battery light starts flashing. I felt instantly sick as my Breakdown and Recovery policy with Greenflag had only just expired in March and I’ve forgotten to renew it.

 Where the M4 connects with the M25 is  the exact point the RED battery light decides to stay on. What shall I do? Surely if I stop and have a look inside the bonnet I will not have a clue what to do! I’m a bloody accountant for god sake, the only thing I know about cars is changing tyres. I decided to carry on driving….I was still have 40 minutes to reach home. I did get home (without any recovery help) at 1:20am and the oil light also came on for the 2nd time during this twitch.

 Petrol cost was £120 and £18 in Oil and a £1 donation to Tees Ringing Group. It cost me approxt £33.60

 I should hear about the Car status on 13th June. Fingers crossed its repairable; I personally think it’s my 5th write off in 12 years (Volvo, Probe, Escort, Mondeo and Vectra). Kim is totally pissed off that I am the one constantly wearing cars out and thinks all passengers should take it in turns to use their cars as well. I guess there is only so many times a car can drive to Scotland and back before it’s worn out.



Photo above taken by Steve Dunn. 3/5 of my crew can be seen above:- Brendan, LGRE and the very MISERABLE Baggers.

Taken off Birdforum. Once I had a phonecall from Simon Chidwick about the 5:30pm re-location of the Robin. Brendan, LGRE and me legged it to where the Robin had been found.


At this stage LGRE had just seen the Robin. I'm sure I recognise the guy wearing the blue and grey coat.

Taken off Birdforum. Sue Bryan decides to give me a cuddle.

Simon Chidwick can be seen infront of the blue car.

The DSLR photographers were asked to move four times, but selfishly refused to move. The photographers were positioned bang smack in the centre of the birds flight path from Doctors Garden to Bowling Green.  They were more concerned about getting more f??king pictures (yes they had all seen and photograhed the Robin) than letting the 1000 patiently waiting twitchers a chance to see this mega rare vagrant at very close quarters.


Picture taken above by John Bell, I was so cold I had to go back to the car and get my fleece.


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