The golden autumn colours are slowly disappearing into the winter gloom as yet another dreary weekend slips away it is becoming difficult to find enthusiasm at this time of the year to get out with the camera. That said, I ventured out to the reed bed hide Stodmarsh where I hoped there may be a Bittern or two showing. Their numbers are boosted through the winter with birds from the near continent and it is not unusual to gain several sightings, even on a short visit. Although dreary it remains mild for the time of year making it comfortable sitting in the hide. I was on my own for a while noting Heron, Cormorant, three Marsh Harrier, Teal, Mallard, Water Rail, Bearded Tit, Wren and Carrion Crow .I was joined by two gents who were new to birding, they were thrilled when I pointed out the first of two Bitterns that gave us good in flight views although distant for the camera. As the morning raced by I moved on to the alder wood noting a large group of Long tailed Tit and several Fieldfares feeding on berries .Again the light was poor so no photos. Making my way to the lampern wall a Great Spotted Woodpecker called and showed briefly. A scan of the main lake produced lots of Teal which took off in a real commotion. Its not long now to the official start of winter and it would be nice if we can have a little Sunshine to brighten up the short days. Yesterday morning I joined a work party driven by Natural England where we cleared the pools adjacent to the feast hide which is at the grove end of the valley, a few years ago this area was a must to visit but the pools became overgrown losing valuable habitat which used to attracted the likes of Baillons and Spotted Crake. We were let lose with pitch forks and rakes etc and made short work of the task. Hopefully the area can remain under control and views of the Crakes will be possible again next autumn.............Photo from a sunny day.