NOTE: This post is part of a continuing series of observations: [ Next >> ]

Many of you have been following, with great interest, the unusual occurrence of a pair of young Whooping Cranes arriving at Lake Ray Hubbard in Rowlett, Texas this spring. Eleven days ago those two cranes decided to move on. The latest reports have them in Wise County several miles to the northwest of DFW. I reported on their exodus last Tuesday, and at the time I believed that was the end of a once in a lifetime experience. I was wrong.

About the time the two Lake Ray Hubbard cranes were moving out of the area, another set of five Louisiana Whooping Cranes came up from southeast Texas and took up station at Lake Lewisville in Denton County. Unbelievable, right?

On Monday evening (June 10, 2013) I made my way to the lake to have a look for myself. Sure enough, the five cocky juvenile cranes were foraging in the tall grass and weeds in a floodplain adjacent to the lake. Difficult to see at first because of the obscuring grass, I soon noticed the bobbing of their heads as they would occasionally take a break from feeding to check their surroundings for danger.

Whooping Crane - Summer of the Cranes

Whooping Crane - Summer of the Cranes

Whooping Crane - Summer of the Cranes

The cranes roamed far and wide while I was on site. They changed location five times while I was observing—flying most of the time and walking on one occasion. From the spot where I first found them, they soon took to the air and flew a short distance to the water’s edge. At this location a couple of the birds engaged in an interesting behavior. The two birds faced each other and jumped off the ground flapping while their wings. They repeated this action several times.

Whooping Crane - Summer of the Cranes

There is something interesting going on in the background of this photograph.  See the next picture for details.
There is something interesting going on in the background of this photograph. See the next picture for details.
This is an enlargement of the previous picture.  I didn't notice it at the time, but there are people in the background of this photograph.  Can you see them directly under the crane?
This is an enlargement of the previous picture. I didn’t notice it at the time, but there are people in the background of this photograph. Can you see them directly under the crane?

Whooping Crane - Summer of the Cranes

Whooping Crane - Summer of the Cranes

Whooping Crane - Summer of the Cranes

Whooping Crane - Summer of the Cranes

Whooping Crane - Summer of the Cranes

Whooping Crane - Summer of the Cranes

After that episode settled down a bit the group began foraging along the shore. They did this for only a short time before taking flight again.

This time they flew far to the east and began foraging in the margins between the floodplain and a cow pasture. Here, I watched as one crane separated from the other four. As the distance between the cranes got larger I expected to see the lone bird turn and rejoin the group of four. The exact opposite happened, as illustrated in the video below.

Whooping Crane - Summer of the Cranes

Whooping Crane - Summer of the Cranes

Whooping Crane - Summer of the Cranes

Whooping Crane - Summer of the Cranes

As the shadows began to get long the cranes were on the move again, returning pretty much to place where I first found them. I called it a night at that point, shaking my head in disbelief. Its going to be the summer of the Whooping Cranes.

Whooping Crane - Summer of the Cranes

Whooping Crane - Summer of the Cranes

NOTE: This post is part of a continuing series of observations: [ Next >> ]