Winter is a coming. The first bittern was sighted at the London Wetland Centre in Barnes last night - the earlies record to date.

Previous records show the bird has never arrived before late November and staff at the centre are wondering if this could be a sign that it could be a cold winter.

The bird flew in at dusk last night, and landed among the reedbeds, where it is likely to stay until February or March.

Keen birdwatcher Rupert Kaye saw the bird flying over the London Wetland Centre.

He said: "I feel lucky to have scored at my first attempt. Last night was the first time I'd been waiting around the reedbed at dusk hoping to see a bittern."

Bitterns usually take a few weeks to settle and find their winter feeding spot, but once they do they remain in their territory through the winter.

Other autumn birds seen at the Wetland Centre this week include the water pipit, rock pipit, mealy redpoles, Jack snipe, brambling and a red kite.

Visitors can take in all the sights of the autumn migrations on self-guided tours around the centre, or book a course of Introduction to Birdwatching tutorials running on November 4, 10 and 25.