Like many my winter days are often a little like a vampires, in that I go out in darkness and return in darkness and see very little daylight in the middle. Today as has been the case for the last six years was one such day.
Whilst birders up and down the land were running around their chosen patch/route/county ensuring a healthy start to the LIST, I was working on my own list, a stock list as the end of the calendar year heralds the end also of my financial year and my self discipline dictates I should count stock rather than birds.
So my bird list was a meagre rather than magnificient seven, all from the car either en route or on the return. A Blackbird scampered out from under the headlights as I pulled away in the gloom. I didn't notice another bird for eight miles till halfway between Widdrington and Red Row not one but two wheeling Barn Owl broke my morning gloom as they crossed the road above me.
My working day done I retraced my steps, chasing the setting sun. From the road above Alnmouth two Mute Swan were the only birds visible in the estuary in the fading light. Jackdaws and Rooks made a final flight above Warkworth Castle making four and five. Hunched above the weir on the Coquet a solitary Grey Heron cut a forlorn figure, a single Carrion Crow it's only company in the tree behind.
Now the real excitement started, I had seven, the post title became obvious I just had to not see anymore birds between Amble and home. Ten miles with closed eyes, I shouldn't have worried not even a Starling broke the skyline and the bank holiday traffic was light.