70 / 55
      72 / 56
      75 / 61

      The Nature Report: Full Moon Rising

      As the sun slips beyond the distant horizon, a pale moon starts its ascent into the evening sky over Green Island. Sunset brings hundreds of ibis flocking onto the island, quickly filling their favorite mesquite tree and surrounding brush. The day before the full moon is a magical time, as the sunset and moonrise are perfectly synchronized, one replacing the other just at dusk. At first the moon is pale and barely visible, but as sunlight wanes the moon glows yellow gold in the darkening sky.

      As nightfall envelops the island, the birds settle in to roost beneath the luminous moon's soft light. At sunrise the phenomena is repeated, only in reverse.

      Silvery moon glow shimmers in the Laguna Madre at the cusp of dawn as shorebirds begin to stir.

      When the sun begins peeking over the bay, the pale moon retreats beyond the western horizon. The ibis that arrived at dusk depart in mass at dawn.

      They are in peak breeding plumage with brilliant red faces and crimson legs. A pair of bright pink spoonbills court in the early morning light, rising and bowing in unison, and rubbing their spatula shaped bills together as they bond for the nesting season. A handful of tricolored herons have arrived, and they too are in resplendent breeding plumage, with their topknots bobbing in the breeze. But no bird on Green Island can outdo the great egrets when it comes to impressive feathers, and throughout the island the gaudy egrets are in full courtship displays.