Picture of the day: The one that got away

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The Independent Online

A tricolored heron is photographed attempting to catch a tiny fish from the clean waters off the southern tip of the Louisiana coast, 75 miles south of New Orleans.

Though often seen in Central America, the Caribbean and parts of Brazil and Peru, these herons come to breed in the Mississippi delta, where the great river disgorges into the ocean. It is these lands that are now under threat as oil from the Deepwater Horizon rig explosion has begun to drift ashore.

The small fishing community of Venice, where this picture was taken, is the last outpost along the Mississippi accessible by road, earning it the nickname "the end of the world". It was an irony not lost its human residents five years ago when Hurricane Katrina blew in from the gulf and destroyed their homes. Few have come back. Now Louisiana's herons may also be forced to depart.

Photograph by Charlie Riedel/AP