The Christmas and New Year break provided a chance to recharge batteries and snuggle up warm in front of the fire after the December cold snap. A brightening in the weather over new year also provided an opportunity to pop down to RSPB Rye Meads with the camera for a leisurely walk to blow away the cobwebs and see what was about. On arrival at the reserve one of the wardens told us that a bittern had been seen that morning, as well as a small flock of bearded tits. We weren’t lucky enough to see either, however the low winter sun picked out the colourful ducks on the lakes and meads. We watched a crow and green sandpiper picking their way across the ice from one hide then counted up the species on another; Tufted Ducks, Common Teal, Shovellers, Mallards, Gadwall, Heron and a Cormorant all were in attendance, often brought closer to the hides as the light breeze pushed the ice sheets, bringing the birds into close up view. After a couple of hours the cold from that breeze started to bite so we we headed home for more fireside warming and steaming cups of hot chocolate.