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5/17: Gallery (photo)

Two great blue herons click their bills together while looking for food along the waters of Longboat Pass, just south of Coquina Beach.

Abundant with wildlife, beautiful scenery and miles of shoreline, Manatee County is a gem. The recent explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico, and the thousands upon thousands of gallons of crude oil gushing from a mile below the surface, has placed us all on alert, causing all to appreciate even more the fragile beauty around us. Many shore birds like these are in potential danger, not only from being covered in oil, but having their food source contaminated. Let’s hope their plumage stays blue and the sands white, and we all are able to continue enjoying the pristine waters along Manatee’s shores.