When Katie mentioned she would like to embark on a 2006 yearlist, my first thought was ''What have I done to her?'' Until very recently, she neither knew nor cared what her life, county or patch list totals were. I, on the other hand, was a meticulous lister: even keeping monthly lists of birds seen on my local patch.
K's idea was that our yearlist should be the antithesis of the bitching, back-stabbing hobbyism that often rears its ugly head in the Surfbirds rankings.
Rather than travel 100 miles to see a fine 2nd-winter Caspian Gull in the murk and grime of a January rubbish dump, we will attempt to observe the 221 species that breed regularly in these isles - in their natural environment. No wind-blown accidentals, no poor, lost and bewildered creature doomed to perish in the North Atlantic.
The majesty of the Golden Eagle against the awe-inspiring backdrop of the Cairngorms, Choughs wheeling effortlessly over rocky Welsh cliffs, drumming Snipe on misty Spring mornings on the washes and Woodcock calling mystically over woodland rides.
In addition to the 221 species above, we'll add a few more. Species which have bred in the UK (and may indeed still do so) - very special species that will add a certain romance and nostalgia to our quest: the Hoopoe, Red-backed Shrike, European Bee-eater, Serin and Common Rosefinch. Inevitably, this will involve some twitching (and we are not anti-twitching), but this is our list, and most importantly, our adventure.
Wish us luck.