After welcoming in the New Year with excessive drinking, followed by a dreadful hangover, I was hoping to get cracking on trips out and about on cold, frosty, sunny days. Hmm. 2014 started as 2013 ended. Wet. In fact, for the first week of the year I failed to go anywhere or take a single photo. All very depressing.
Sure I tried to get out in breaks between the downpours, finding a huge flock of finches on the Lickey Hills, for example. Alas, even though they were all around me, and perched on the roofbars of my car, it was so gloomy I'd have needed a spotlamp attached to my lens to even work out what I was looking at, let alone get a decent shot.
I did try for the little owls one morning, though it was cloudy. Found them both, got some pics of one before it flew off, and almost, despite having a 4x4, got stuck on the verge.
After starting out at the back of the plantation, the shrike began to favour the area nearer the road, which was not only better for the light for photos, but also meant no need for a very muddy walk along the canal, an even muddier hike around the fields, and of course prevented me from being labelled an egotistical, money-shot-grabbing *insert expletive here of your choice*, as I was so generously called after my first sortie into the public area.
If the shrike wasn't around though, often the buzzards, kestrels or local sprawk would provide some entertainment. The latter usually pursued by crows.
Thankfully the shrike flew closer again, but this time where everyone was waiting, and allowed more shots to be taken, although not quite as close as before.
With the place to myself, and no-one to offend, I took a few shots, walked up the path to get closer, took some more, and so on, until I was as close as I could get, without being in the field. Like the bird has any perception of the hedge as being an acceptable boundary! But, it does provide something of an object to hide behind, perhaps.
But at least 2014 was finally up and running.