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      Nature Report: Wading Pools

      It is first light and the wading pool is already teeming with waterbirds.

      A pair of young spoonbills practices seining for a meal, while nearby a juvenile reddish egret attempts to figure out if there is anything edible in the shallows.

      Just a few short weeks ago these spoonbills and reddish egrets were nestlings, with all meals dutifully airlifted in by their parents.

      Even though the young have now fledged and joined their parents in the shallows around Green Island, they are far from independent.

      They comically chase their parents around in hopes of obtaining a meal, which in the case of these spoonbills results in a flying lesson.

      Frequently the serenity of the pool is interrupted by the antics of the reddish egrets as they aggressively pursue their elders in search of food.

      Occasionally, their persistence pays off, and they are rewarded with a meal.

      The young will remain dependent on their parents for several more days, but eventually they will figure out how to find sustenance on their own.

      Many of the adult spoonbills retain their brilliant pink breeding plumage, and joining them are a resplendent pair of ibis sporting glistening red heads and legs.

      Throughout the morning, waterbirds are constantly landing and taking off from the protected wetlands.

      It has been a spectacular year for nesting birds on the Lower Laguna Madre. And with the tragic conditions of the oil ravaged upper Gulf of Mexico, the success of breeding birds in southernmost Texas is of vital importance.

      With your Nature Report I'm Richard Moore.