The almost-highlight of Friday morning's count was a probable Otter that swam around some reeds and into a hidden channel at Passage House, disappearing before I could get my scope set up. I'm sure they occur in the area but I've yet to see one in almost seven years of watching the estuary on a regular basis.
After that the rest of the survey was somewhat of an anticlimax. Totals included 326 Oystercatchers, 83 Curlew, 36 Redshanks, nine Ringed Plovers, seven Common Sandpipers, seven Little Egrets, eight Shags, six Cormorants, 15 Teal, 12 Mallards, eight Mute Swans, four Little Grebes and singles of Greenshank, Shelduck, Moorhen, Water Rail and Kingfisher. The lack of Shelducks and Red-breasted Mergansers suggests that a significant proportion of wintering waterfowl is yet to arrive.
Elsewhere, at Teigngrace there were 13 Little Egrets and a good count of 31 Pheasants, and last Sunday at least 22 Turnstones were roosting on the harbour master's boat at Teignmouth.