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


Western Orphean Warbler Twitch (Tuesday 29th May 2012)

Western Orphean Warbler @ Hartlepool, Cleveland by Chris Bell

First 2 Crowd shots by Mark Stirland and last Crowd shot by Jamie Dunning

Daily Express article. I can be seen in the Crowd shot, I am wearing a white T-shirt.

On Monday 28th May I arrived at Grantham for a 3 day work visit. I had a feeling in my water that a tick could be on the cards anyday now, so along with the work clothes I packed my scope, tripod, bins and credit card. I checked into the Angel & Royal Hotel (according to the literature this is the oldest hotel in Britain), which is only a 10 minute walk to work and after a hard days graft I celebrated by visiting the breeding Ospreys at Rutland Water.

Next morning whilst tucking into my full English Breakfast the mega alert went off. I picked up the pager and almost collapsed in a heap while holding my rectangular block of vibrating delight. It read "MEGA Cleveland ORPHEAN WBLR Hartlepool Headland trapped + ringed + will be released at bowling green at c8:45am"

Holy Bible. The waitress just brought over some Coffee and I said to her "Can you believe it, a rare bird has just turned up and i've got a busy day at work today". Why did I tell her that? She doesn't know me, she doesn't need to know what I do in my spare time. Anyway what do I do??!! I got a phonecall from a famous birder with one eye, who was in Suffolk and kindly offered to pick me up on route to Cleveland. I had to decline, there was no way I was prepared to let work down. On route to work Liz Costa rang me up and offered me a space with John Lees. I refused again.

I got to work at 8:45am and declared to my boss that a rare bird has just been found in Cleveland and then I proceded to start working. A few more phonecalls were received by the gentleman in Suffolk and he confirmed that Chris Bell has seen the Western Orphean Warbler(WOW). Ok maybe I should consider going after work today, AA route master suggested it would take 2 hours and 45 minutes to get there. So if I finish work at 4pm (work through lunch), I should be at Hartlepool around 6:45pm. The Warbler wouldn't have gone to roost by then and I should get a couple of hours to connect.

Hour by hour....the news kept coming through on the vibrating rectangular block that the WOW was still present. At 1pm enough was enough, my important work for the day was done and my vibrating toy was becoming a nuisance. I asked the boss if I could go, he said "Yeah ok, but do you want to tuck into the buffet food first?" I said "No, I'd prefer to go now, you know birds have got wings and they can fly off at any point".

Off I went. I arrived at Hartlepool at 3:30pm and the WOW had left the bowling green at 3:20pm. Jeeeessssssussss. I felt terrible. All the effort I've put into gettng here and the Warbler decides to fly off into a vast housing estate with impenetrable gardens where approx. 2000 people have enjoyed it over the last 6.5 hours. The last thing you want to do know...is talk to fellow birders about a bird you have possibly just dipped. I did bump into Tony Ford and his wife. She felt I looked hungry and needed a Snickers bar more than her, so I accepted her kind offer. Wow what a nice lady. I tucked into the Snickers bar immediately and then someone started shouting, many birders started running, so I joined in the mob run. The run was in completely the wrong direction to where the WOW had just been seen. The running turned into walking and heavy breathing and before we knew it, the WOW was claimed by someone else and the sight of running men happened all over again. Again the song "Talking Heads, I'm on the road to nowhere" sprung to mind.

This pursuit become fruitless and what was becoming apparent is that the WOW was infact making it's way back in the general direction of the bowling green. When I was within 10 meters of the bowling green at around 4:45pm the WOW was apparently back. At this stage over hundred birders were back at the green. Dave Holman was watching the WOW on arrival and he was shouting out directions. I never managed to connect mainly because I don't the difference between a holly, privet or rose bush. No problems I thought, I'm sure I will get another chance to see it in a few minutes time. Well these few minutes actually turned into more than an hour. The WOW was mega elusive. The view I finally got was through somebody elses scope. All I could see was its head. I repositioned my scope on a different edge of the bowling green and eventually found the correct closed rose bud and the bill of the WOW a few inches below it. The WOW sat largely obscured for the next hour. Then it hopped to the right. This time I could see it's mantle, wings and flanks (no head or feet). It moved a couple more times then vanished. Some managed to get full side on views as it moved quickly through the assorted hedge. I did see the whole bird with my naked eyes. The next prolonged viewing occured around 7pm when it sat in the holly with it vent, primaries, and buffish underparts on constant view for an hour. Every now and then it would turn its head to the left and you could see all the salient features.I hung around to 8pm....just wearing a T-shirt I started to shiver and then decided to head back to my car. On the way back to the car it was really nice to meet Jason Stannage finally. Jason has been very kind and friendly towards me since we become friends on Facebook, and I really appreciate the package of goodies you sent my family and me. You're a top guy.

Fantastic to see such a sexy warbler. But with a fat score of 0 and a muscle score of 1 and not seen feeding during the whole of Tuesday, I felt it was not going to move on that night. 

Got back to the Angel & Royal Hotel at 10:15pm and all the restaurants in Grantham were closed. I had a doner kebab and ate it back at the hotel and washed it down with a pint of Stella.

Sadly the bird was not seen the next day.

Oops! This site has expired.

If you are the site owner, please renew your premium subscription or contact support.