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


Pine Grosbeak Twitch (Saturday 2nd February to Wednesday 6th February 2013)


Bert Ratter found the Pine Grosbeak on Tuesday 29th January. The news was broadcast on Thursday 31st January and it was not seen on Friday 1st February. Whilst out birding on Saturday with a work colleague called “Tim”, the inevitable happened….. It was found. So another twitchable 20 year bird is just what the Doctor prescribed; only trouble is…it’s on bloody Shetland.

I was only in my car for 25 minutes on the Saturday till the pager mega’d. I do feel sorry forTim, as my phone then got many calls, texts, twitter mentions etc. My ability to find good birds was severely hampered. I instantly decided I was going to going to drive to Aberdeen at midnight with anybody that wanted to come. The first definite passenger who wanted to go with me was John Pegden, he cancelled a few hours later when he was offered a space on a plane charter.  

Pine Grosbeak is a mega bird but does it justify spending £603? (£450 plane charter, £100 petrol to charter airport, £33 car hire on Shetland and £20 of petrol on hire car). It transpires the bird has been on Shetland for 3 months and will probably be around for a couple more weeks, so this is the main reason I ruled out a charter.  Other factors that might have influenced my decision not to charter a plane was Kim’s suggestion for me not to bother coming back home as the door locks will be changed.

I put an advert on Twitter (with my telephone number..I know I’m a twat) and RBA about tonight’s exciting adventure. I did manage to get a Birdnet customer called “Gareth Stamp” to join in the fun. A quick ring around and John Benham then signed on the dotted line. Then I was ready to rock’n’roll!

The plan was to leave Crawley at midnight, pick up John at Leatherhead and meet Gareth somewhere on the M5.

I must admit I’m finding it harder to do these long journeys to Scotland these days. I’m now 45 years old and Redbull is not giving me wings anymore. But to John’s credit, he had an attack of diarrhoea (of the verbal variety)  and he kept me awake by giving me a run down on every bird he has ever seen.  Talking about diarrhoea, I popped into ten consecutive service stations just before Aberdeen and just for the record I didn’t spend a penny.

The journey to Aberdeen should take 10 hours from Crawley and the ferry departs at 5pm. So if you’re good a maths you’re be realising that I could have left my house just before 7am. Not for me, I’d rather catch an hour’s sleep in a service station and do a bit of birding in Aberdeen before sailing.

We arrived at Rattray Head just after 12pm. I soon flushed the Desert Wheatear whilst walking along the beach. Other good birds encountered included:-Long-tailed Duck, Goldeneye, 200 Pinkfeet, Gannet, Shag, Eider etc.


Desert Wheatear @ Rattray Head Sunday 3rd February 2013

I picked up a McDonalds on route to Aberdeen harbour. Depending on how rich you are, you have the choice of parking your car at a NCP for about £16 a day or dumping it on Stell Road near the Petrofrac building. I did the latter.

The Northlink ferry to Shetland is heavily subsidised. It only costs £52 for a foot passenger return. A further £200 for a car return and £70 for a single cabin (sleeps 4). On the ferry, there were 14 soles making the pilgrimage:- Jonathan Holiday, Bob Chaukley, Mark Rayment, Adrian Webb, Dave Webb, Keith Fellows, Malcolm Oxlade, Pete Antrobus, Alistair Orton, Mark Payne and Dave Robinson and my crew of 3.


 (Left to Right) John Benham, Gareth Stamp & Garry Bagnell @ Aberdeen - Shetland Ferry Monday 4th February 2013

Jonathan Holiday in foregound, Mark Rayment, John Benham, Gareth Stamp & Bob Chaukley (Left to Right in background) @ Aberdeen to Sumburgh Ferry Monday 4th February 2013


 (Left to Right) Pete Antrobus, Alistair Orton, Mark Payne and Dave Robinson @ Aberdeen to Shetland ferry Sunday 3rd February 2013


On the ferry, most of the birders watched the Man City v Liverpool match, over a few beers. At midnight, Gareth and I went on the hunt for somewhere to sleep. All of the bench seats were taken, so Gareth and I settled for the Cinema floor. I would recommend sleeping here if no films are being broadcast. You do actually get quite a good night sleep. The ferry did bang and roll many times during the 13 hour crossing, so earplugs would enhance your sleep.

We docked at Aberdeen at 6am, but we weren’t let off the ferry till 7:30am. Very conveniently the restaurant was now open and you are able to purchase a cooked breakfast and drink for a £10. Once you’ve paid the £10, you  get as much food or drink as you wish.

I picked up a small car just after 8am on Monday 4th February. The day before, the Pine Grosbeak was last seen at Collafirth. During Saturday I plotted a map on AA routeplanner of how to get to ColIafirth. Here it is.

So according to route planner its just south of the Yell ferry terminal and takes 49 minutes to get to. So I should be able to get there just before 9am. Wrong. I got to the Yell terminal but didn’t see Collafirth, nobody had a map. The sat nav couldn’t find Collafirth. Just to make things worse the Sat Nav lead kept falling out and we got a text from North Link ferries at 8:52am saying that tonights sailing is cancelled due to adverse weather. The stress level went up several notches and I felt like screaming, smashing up the sat nav etc...I was definately very pi**ed off. .

Well, all the other 11 people from the ferry had found the correct Collafirth. So folks there are some good news and some bad news. The bad news is the bird had not been seen all morning,  the good news we weren’t gripped off on arrival

Amongst the small crowd, I spotted a face I didn’t recognise; his name was “Will Miles”. He’s usually on Fair Isle, but decided to have a nibble at the Pine Grosbeak. He soon decided to go head off North on foot and would let me know if he re-found it. I was thinking about heading south. I decided to use the well-known premiership tactic of moving the car to where the crowd is standing, always a good strategy if you need to get somewhere quick when a bird is re-found.

Our knight in shining armour “Will Miles” re-found the Pine Grosbeak at nearby Housetter. He drove back to tell me, and we all got back into our cars and followed him back to the garden he last saw it.

 Pine Grosbeak @ Housetter, Shetland 4th February 2013

I reckon we watched the Pine Grosbeak in awe between 10:50 to 11:40am. What do we do next? Gareth fancied seeing the Ring-billed Gull, John wanted to be keep warm and I just wanted to get some birds on my year list. So off we went to Scalloway. At Scalloway we found a 1st winter Kumliens Gull, Rock Doves, 50 Kittiwakes, Oystercatcher, Turnstone & Fulmar but no Ring-billed Gull.

Kumlien's Gull @ Scalloway Harbour Tuesday 5th February 2013

During the afternoon we had a drive round Lerwick and found 3 Black Guillemots in the harbour and found a very nice B&B called “Aurora Guest House” and their telephone number is 01595-690105

We retired early for the evening. Gareth and I shared a twin room and John had a double bed to himself. This birding lark is thirsty work, so Gareth and I demolished the complimentary Coffee granules in the room before the evening meal.

For the evening we teamed up with Mark Rayment, Bob Chaukley and Jonathan Holiday for an Indian at the Raba restaurant on the opposite road to our B&B. I had a mild lamb curry (I think, it might have been chicken the more I think about it) and I washed it down with a nice beer. Later on we teamed up with Adrian Webb, Dave Webb, Keith Fellows and Malcolm Oxlade in the The Lounge Bar.

(Left to Right) Garry Bagnell, Gareth Stamp, Dave Webb @ The Lounge Bar, Lerwick Monday 4th February 2013



 (Left to Right) Arms of Keith Fellows, Malcolm Oxlade, Garry Bagnell & Gareth Stamp @ The Lounge Bar, Lerwick Monday 4th February 2013


 (Left to Right) Dave Webb, Jonathan Holiday, Adrian Webb @ The Lounge Bar Monda

Let’s be honest folks, it’s so easy to smile when you’ve had your 518th tick for Britain and Ireland.

I think I was in bed by 10am and got up at 7am on Tuesday for the breakfast. I popped out to my car during breakfast and just as I did a family party of Whooper Swans flew across Lerwick harbour. Wow what an amazing place.

We left the B&B at 9am and had a whiz round the south of the Island. We saw the Kumliens Gull, 2 Black Guillemot, large Eider flock, Rock Pipit & 5 RB Merganser at Scalloway and still no Ring-billed Gull.


Eider flock @ Scalloway Harbour Tuesday 5th February 2013

Black Guillemot @ Scalloway Harbour Tuesday 5th February 2013

It was difficult to prize Gareth away from the Kumliens Gull, but when we did we hit Loch Spiggie. Gareth struck gold by finding an Adult Glaucous Gull amongst the supporting 2 Slav Grebes, Tufted Duck, Wigeon, Mute Swan and Goldeneye. Quendale was next on the agenda and didn’t disappoint. Gareth yet again found an adult white-winger. This time an Iceland Gull.


Iceland Gull @ Quendale Tuesday 5th February 2013Kumliens Gull @ Scalloway Harbour Tuesday 5th February 2013

Other birds noted included 12 Raven feeding on a dead lamb, 30 Whooper Swans, Fieldfare, Curlew, Twite, 18 Long-tailed Duck, Great Northern Diver & 2 Red-throated Diver and some Shags. Scatness added Sanderling, Dunlin, more Long-tailed Ducks and Black Guillemots. Sumburgh region was quiet  lots of Fulmar were already picking nest site and the only new auk I saw on the sea was Guillemot. Sumburgh hotel had 8 Snipe, Great Northern Diver and 10 Long-tailed Ducks in the bay. A few Barwits, Grey and Golden Plovers at Virkie Pool. Then back to Scalloway to dip the Ring-billed Gull again. I must thank Jonathan for letting us know the Ring-billed Gull was back in the afternoon but we were too far away to go back at this stage of the day. White wing man found another Iceland Gull this time a 1st year bird.

We dropped the car back and settled down in ferry terminal to catch up with some notes.

The trip cost the following £52 ferry return, £175 diesel, £64 Car hire, £35 petrol on Shetland and £33 B&B. My individual share was £176 + £60 in food. Worth every penny.

If you are considering going for this long staying Pine Grosbeak please go on the North Link ferry. They are currently re-structuring and sadly 34 people got made redundant last week. If they make more cuts it will probaby effect the frequency of sailings and that could cost us seeing future birds.




The ferry departed on time at 19:00pm and we docked at Aberdeen at 7:00am Wednesday morning. The car was fine and I got home at 17:00.

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