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      Nature Report: Wading Pool

      High tides and recent rainfall have created a shallow wading pool along the shore of Green Island in the Lower Laguna Madre just northeast of the mouth of the Arroyo Colorado.

      The shallows are full of small baitfish and provide a perfect nursery or wading pool for various species of colonial waterbirds that are fledging and learning to hunt on their own like this pale young roseate spoonbill seining the water while accompanied by its bright pink parent.

      A young snowy egret seems a little lost as to what to do, but eventually will learn to catch its own food.

      However, many of the young birds, particularly the reddish egrets are not ready to give up chasing their parents around for a handout.

      With their constant frog like croaking, flowing plumes, and offspring comically chasing them around, the reddish egrets are putting on quite a show.

      Reddish egrets come in both reddish and white coloration, and the young of both color phases are busily chasing one another around the wading pool.

      Occasionally, the persistence of the youngsters pays off and they manage to grab hold of their parent's bill and receive a brief regurgitated meal.

      These young reddish seem ready to snatch a meal from anyone, be it a juvenile snowy egret or tricolored heron|or maybe they just enjoy pestering other birds like this spoonbill.

      But some are learning to successfully hunt on their own, only it takes a few tries sometimes to snare that slippery minnow and arrange it just right for a gulp.

      The circus will continue for several weeks as more young leave the nest and join the flock in the nursery.