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      Nature Report: Great Blue Heron

      Sunrise over the Gulf of Mexico is a perfect way to start the day. Brown pelicans are soaring by in the rosy glow, and a great blue heron stalks the shoreline at first light.

      The heron is an expert angler, and soon has a squirming fish clenched in his beak. He wastes little time gulping down the first catch of the day.

      Nearby, pelicans float in the roiling surf occasionally dipping their bills into the salty water and straining out a piscine treat.

      With a curious sideways bend of its long neck, the heron peers intently into the surf for fishy presence. Soon he has speared another and strolls toward the beach with his prey, then in one quick move the fish is un-skewered and gulped down.

      But not all attempts are successful, and even the sharp eyed heron occasionally misses.

      Next, on the menu is an even larger fish, and how is he going to manage to swallow this one?

      After reaching the safety of the beach, just in case he drops it, the heron flips the still wiggling fish into a head first position and it's down the hatch.

      This time the still hungry heron catches a catfish, but the big bird is leery of swallowing the prey which has a sharp barb protruding from its back.

      At one point, he loses the catfish and chases it back into the surf to retrieve his prize.

      No amount of arranging seems to satisfy the heron, and for some ten minutes he stabs and stares at the catfish. Even after the fish is limp and lifeless, the heron appears reluctant to take a chance on swallowing.

      Finally, he flies off, perhaps to consume his catfish dinner in another locale.

      With your Nature Report I'm Richard Moore.