Before long the Old Squaws are swept away by the streaming Blackduck- white and chocolate highlights in the dark shoals.
Every now and then, bold white wingbars stand out, Velvet among Common Scoter, their heads flashing pale thumb prints on cheek and ear. The flocks are made up of mostly female and young birds, the odd young male stands out with the first glossy black feathers emergent.
Further along the coast at Holkham, a lone scoter sits just offshore. It is close enough to see the ragged buffy fringes on its chest and flanks. This unfortunate bird is injured, and struggles to move its wing. resigned to its fate, it buries its bill among its dark mantle feathers, and stares blankly as the shrill voices of the geese echo across the Gap.
The geese are heading inland to feed. Beet fields, recently harvested, come alive with the muddy-footed, busy-necked gleaners.
Bickering, chatting, shouting- pinks. And within this great throng a black and white and red breasted goose- alone in the crowd. quietly it steps through the arguments, its dazzling coat belying its modesty.