NOTE: This post is part of a continuing series of observations: [ First | << Prev | Next >> ]

Amazingly we are now at week five for the wayward sub-adult Whooping Cranes at Lake Ray Hubbard in Rowlett, Texas. The young, first year male and female—both originally from Louisiana—are now spending the bulk of their time near the northeast end of this part of the lake.

The Whooping Cranes now spend most of their time near the northeast end of this part of the lake.
The Whooping Cranes now spend most of their time near the northeast end of this part of the lake.

Recent rains have raised the water level allowing the cranes to forage in the shallows of a recently inundated field of what I believe is Smartweed. The vegetation grew up thick on the mud flats as the water retreated earlier in the spring. Now that the water has come back it seems to be providing an ideal habitat for the whoopers.

Foraging in the Smartweed.
Foraging in the Smartweed.

Whooping Crane - Week Five

Whooping Crane - Week Five

Of note on this visit was a clear look at the identifying bands on the legs of both the male and the female bird. We also got a glimpse at a crane manipulating an object (possibly a freshwater mussel) in its beak.

A look at the identifying leg bands.  Red and blue indicates L5-12, the female (left).  Red, blue, and yellow mark the male, L3-12 (right).
A look at the identifying leg bands. Red and blue indicates L5-12, the female (left). Red, blue, and yellow mark the male, L3-12 (right).
This crane has something in its beak.  It's hard to say from these pictures, but the item might be a freshwater mussel.
This crane has something in its beak. It’s hard to say from these pictures, but the item might be a freshwater mussel.

I will close out this observation with a brief video of the cranes foraging along the shoreline, and a gentle reminder for everyone to maintain a respectful distance when observing the birds. 2000 feet is the legal guideline in Texas for Whooping Cranes.

One last look at the cranes from my car parked in a nearby neighborhood.
One last look at the cranes from my car parked in a nearby neighborhood.

NOTE: This post is part of a continuing series of observations: [ First | << Prev | Next >> ]