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

 

White-throated Needletail Twitch (Tuesday 25th to Thursday 27th June 2013)

 

White-throated Needletail @ Western Isles: Harris, Tarbert (Photo by Chris Bromley)

I left Tipner, Hampshire at 4pm and I was thinking about popping over to the Ferry Pool for the Green Sand.  Just before I was about to hook a right on the B2145 my telephone rang. It was George Kinnard. He informed me about a Needletail on the Western Isles. I was speechless. I didn’t know what to do. Should I pull my hair out or just dance. Needletail in Britain is an absolute monster. If it stayed the night, it would feel like being close to the edge of glory.

I decided to ignore the Green Sand and head home. On route I put an advert out on rare bird alert. When you put an advert out you don’t whether you’re going to get a government hooker, bad kids, heavy metal lover or a member of the paparazzi ringing up. Anyway it’s good to put an advert out because at the end of the day you’re all my little monsters anyway.

When I arrived home I decided against having a bloody mary as I was on a mission to leave the house as soon a.s.a.p. My telephone kept ringing with more and more people wanting to go. With my best poker face I gave the sad news that I was full. The only thing I managed to do in the house was get some blue jeans on as it was clear it was going to be tight schedule. I left my house at 5:30pm and arrived at Leatherhead at a little after 6:00pm. Jerry Warne turned up 20 minutes later. Jerry put his gear in the boot; the car book was unfortunately full of glitter and grease due to the recent trips to the dump. Next stop was Wraysbury to meet Bob Chaukley. I said to Jerry “you and I have already got our flight tickets booked between Inverness and Stornoway by Bob Watts, but I don’t think Bob Watts has booked a flight for Bob Chaukley”.I was right, so as soon as Bob Chaukley arrived at the car it was going to feel like an electric chapel. I will have to setup my laptop up with the 3G card and book Bob a Flybe flight. Trying to operate a laptop without a mouse is like having a dance in the dark. It’s such a bad romance. Just as Bob Watts arrived at Wraysbury, Bob Chaukley’s flight was just about booked and so off we all went down the highway. Unicorn make good dart sets by the way, I’m sure everybody knows that….Anyway I input Inverness into the sat nav and our predicted arrival time was going to be 5:30am Wednesday morning. The flight was departing Inverness at 7:50am, so all being well we should have a couple of hours slack.

My sat nav gives great directions especially if there are traffic problems.  But any phone call on the Bluetooth makes the sat nav directions disappear. During the journey Johnny Mc rang up (he was keen in sharing the minibus we arranged at Stornoway Airport) just at the point when I was approaching spaghetti junction. I didn’t realise I was due to make a turn when Johnny was on the phone, but as the phone call ended the sat nav showed we were heading in completely the wrong direction and our new arrival time was 5:50am. I came off at the next junction, but it didn’t take long for me to take another wrong road. God knows what my passengers think about my navigational skills, but one thing for sure is that I am good at staying awake on these long journeys to Scotland. The only way to get through these 12 hours (without any sleep) is to try and marry the night. If you can’t you’re going to have to make lots of Caffeine stops. I hardly ever make stops, maybe I was born this way. The worst thing about an overnight journey is that you are away from the one you love.

Game of darts is always worth contemplating if it’s an overnight trip. But don’t bring the Unicorns if you’re too tight fisted for hold luggage, It doesn’t matter if are beautiful, dirty, rich Americano. Or if your name is Judas, Alejandro, Princess Die or Kenn Kaufman the Unicorn darts will get confiscated by the authorities as dangerous weapons. It happened to me on a trip to Newcastle, and for that matter don’t take a live shot gun cartridge either.

We arrived at Inverness Airport at 7am. Parked the car and enjoyed the luxurious V.I.P. treatment Flybe gave us in their lounge. Free Coffee, water, cereal bars, buns, peanuts etc. The flight to Stornoway is 30 minutes each ways, so an hour on a plane with all that glorious food is well worth the £250. Also in the lounge was the Chris Bromley along with Pegleg and Josh Jones.

Nobody was optimistic that the Needletail would stick so when we heard the news when we arrived at Stornoway Airport that it was still present at 7:08am at Tarbert harbour. My stress levels went through the roof. I was prepared to kiss every bald-headed blind woman with a moustache at the airport, fortuately for my wife, I didn’t come across any....nor did I come across the elusive Johnny Mc who promised to wait for us to arrive. Like Johnny Mc I couldn't wait any longer for Jerry’s luggage to travel the 5 metres from the plane to the luggage carousel.  I just made a beeline for the guy holding the big white board saying “BAGNELL YOURE A LUCKY BASTARD” and he escorted me to the minibus.

Jerry arrived with baggage at the minibus at the exact point when the minibus paperwork was completed.

The journey to Tarbert was best described as a crawl. It took us 40 minutes and yes we got lost. We asked some of the locals for directions and they pointed us in the right direction. Just before we arrived at Tarbert harbour Johnny Mc rang and said the 7:08am sighting was a cock up. Apparently somebody tweeted the previous evenings news at 7:08am and the bird information services run with it.

Well I let you guess how we all felt. Jerry has dipped more Needletails than I’ve used a needle and cotton in my life time. £310 dips, beautiful scenery, miles from home and watching White-tailed Eagle dots at a 3 mile range silhouted on the horzion are what dreams are made of...aren't they?

While me and 12 other premiership twitchers were enjoying the delights of watching Bonxies, Arctic Terns etc Johnny Mc phone rang. His phone rang at 11:00am. We all went quiet and tried to earwig. I didn’t hear the full phone conversation but when I heard Johnny say the immortal words “It’s coming our way”.  We didn’t need to know anymore, we all run north for 5 metres towards the parked cars and then someone shouted "No lets go on foot, it’s not far away". Seconds later we were all in sheer ecstasy. The Needletail hurtled towards us at full throttle. 104mph, so it states in literature. What a beast. It flew straight past us low over the ground. It must have only been 2 feet off the ground. The birds speed and agility was totally awesome. I cuddled Jerry, both  Bobs and many others.

What an amazing feeling. What an amazing place. What a bird. Life is so good when these events unfold. We all thought it was going to be a dip and then this bird lifted the mood to an amazing high.

The Needletail eventually hung around til 12:30pm and then drifted off. The views over Loch Direcleit were amazing. Have a look at the attached youtube video I took of it as it was whizzing around our heads. Sorry about the language.

 

So when it drifted off..so did us. We drove to Stornoway and found some edible fish and chips and then wandered around Stornoway till our revised departure time of 16:00 to Inverness. The birding around Stornoway was good. Jerry picked up a distant Golden Eagle sitting on a mountain top and a distant Manx Shearwater shearing. After a few minutesthe Golden Eagle took flight and gave better views of it's huge size and plumage.

On the way back South we tried to find some Red Grouse… no joy but after seeing a singing Common Rosefinch, Osprey and Ring Ouzel before our early morning flight and the combination of LGRE ringing me at 17:45pm stating the Needletail is now dead. He stated in a sad voice "It’s just hit a wind turbine". We all felt the grief and I did shed a tear. I tweeted a R.I.P. message about the Needletail.

Just a very sad end for a wonderful bird that brought so much pleasure to the 60+ that connected!

 I got back to Crawley at 6am Thursday morning. I went straight to bed. I woke up and 1pm and then worked at home for 5 hours. I do appreciate my employers for allowing me to have a great home/work life balance. You guys are totally awesome and without your flexibility I would never have seen 500 BOU/IRBC species in just under 14 years.

The flight cost of Inverness – Stornoway – Inverness was £250. The diesel cost was £160 Crawley- Inverness – Crawley. Car hire and petrol on Lewis was £65 and £8 parking at Inverness. Aprox £308.25 each.

All the above shots of the Needletail were taken on my iphone 5

One very happy Garry Bagnell with Needletail finder Adam Gretton

 This i how I found my desk when I got back to work at Tipner, Hampshire on Friday 28th June 2013. Thanks Goodwin, you're a top bloke..