Last week it appeared as if the two groups of Whooping Cranes at Lake Lewisville had largely worked out their group dynamic. It seemed as if they had begun operating as a more cohesive unit. But this week things were different. The cranes were segregating themselves, and even when the two groups came together for brief periods, it was still very obvious which birds belonged to which group by the way they arranged themselves.
When I arrive at Lake Lewisville on this visit I found the Lake Ray Hubbard pair by the water’s edge. The other five cranes were far to the east on the floodplain in their favorite spot.
I began surveying the area making general observations when I noticed a Coyote walking along the margins just on the other side of the northwest creek inlet. He was carrying some kind of prey item and soon disappeared into the brush.
Cattle were also on the floodplain today browsing near the water’s edge close to where I saw the Coyote.
After a few minutes on site I heard the Lake Ray Hubbard pair begin calling out. This was the first time I had heard the cranes vocalize. The five cranes on the floodplain seemed to respond by raising their heads in unison and looking in the direction of the trumpeting pair. It took almost 2-3 minutes more before the five decided to head back to the water.
When they arrived at the water’s edge they declined to land near the two Lake Ray Hubbard cranes. Instead, they landed several dozen yards away. After 15 to 20 minutes the five cranes finally flew over and joined the other two.
The last picture in this post is a sequence of activity I saw as I was packing up to leave. I wasn’t even sure it was the cranes at the time, but I grabbed a camera a captured a few photos just in case. This appears to be the Lake Ray Hubbard cranes flying toward the treeline to the west. Once there, the two birds dropped down behind the first row of trees and disappeared from sight.
This is the first time I have seen this behavior from either set of cranes. They are becoming more comfortable with their new surroundings and are beginning to explore.
On Google Maps a small inlet or slough can be found in the place where the cranes landed. They have found a more isolated spot for increased privacy.