At Least no Worries

Welcome to October everyone! The stress of the Halloween event is now passed and almost everything is packed up and put away until next year. Unfortunately, that reduction of stress has been replaced with concerns about this weekend’s ultra trail race. I am officially at the point where internal demons start cracking through the positive defenses – did you train enough, it would be tragic if you clipped a root, moles are out putting traps on the course, did you see those temps inching up, those shoes don’t seem broke in enough and a litany of other worries that always plague the few days before a big test. Honestly, anyone confident about a 50 mile race should probably consider some therapy sessions ha. Anyway, now in the final tapers. Did break in a new pair of shoes yesterday to have as a backup (actually a backup for the backup that I already broke in earlier in the year). These are a new version of my standard trail shoes – lower lugs, updated tread pattern and most of all, the “lyte” version for those later miles when the legs feel like they have cement blocks attached to them. Did manage to laugh at myself when I almost “supermaned” going down a hill yesterday. My usual ASIC Gel Fujitrabuco lugs are thicker and longer, reminiscent of my many years on the baseball field. Never have failed me especially in the 6 hours of rain and mud of my last 50K (link here). The new ones are lower and sharper with a chainsaw like pattern. I’ve gotten use to the very slight slip as the larger lugs sink in and stupidly assumed the same with the lyte pair. Started down a steep hill, made the first plant and literally rocketed forwarded way over my feet as the new tread grabbed instantly and immediately transferred the energy forward. Caught myself, laughed off the close tumble and went to work harnessing the change. My only worry is whether it will self clean like the standard lugs on soggy trails. Stay tuned for the upcoming uber-exciting dissertation on the wonders of Body Glide hehehehe. I know, I know, you are here for the featured feathered friends, not to read babble on my masochist hobby So, let’s get to it.

Least Grebe found at Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park January 2021

Hit the jump to see a few more images of this alligrebe.

How is that for cute and cuddly! The Least Grebe has to be in my top 6 favorite waterbirds. A late addition to my bird list as my first sighting was only in January 2020 (link here). That encounter was at Estero Llano Grande State Park in Weslaco, TX. That was the year my brother Ron was able to come down with us and an incredibly nice volunteer at that park gave us a private tour for most of the morning. A godsend for Ron who was able to check off a ton of new birds that day alone. Today’s specimen also comes thanks to a trip to Texas, however, this one was found last January at Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park outside Mission, TX.

Least Grebe found at Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park January 2021

The previous sighting at Estero consisted of several Least Grebes hanging out at the Grebe Marsh – yes, their very own named pond although there were some Egret and Heron intruders milling about. Still kicking myself for not asking the volunteer if they see what hangs out in their various ponds in order to name them or if the various wildlife simply read the maps and know which way to head as even their other named ponds match up perfectly to their inhabitants. Then again, that volunteer may not have appreciated my humor and thrown us both in the Alligator Lake that sits just past that marsh (before you ask, yes that had Alligators in it).

The Least you see here was enjoying the murky waters of La Parida Banco. I believe this is technically an oxbow lake (locally referred to as resacas) named for a birthed bank if my three years of high school Spanish is anywhere close. For those not familiar with oxbows, they are formed when a river decides it has had enough of meandering around and takes a shortcut across a bend leaving a body of water stranded. In this case it looks like the Rio Grande gave the US more territory as it redirected straight across a choke point otherwise I would have technically been standing south of Mexico (Linda and I have birded places on the border where that is true).

Least Grebe found at Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park January 2021

As far as the Least goes, you will have to head down to the southern tip of Texas, the Keys or down into Central America to get this Grebe checked off your list. They are not migratory so you will not even be able to tin one just passing through the interior of the states, which makes this a very nice add for Ron’s list for his so far one trip down to that area.

According to Cornell, the Least Grebe favors resacas (right on the money there!). Like the Pied variety, the Least will evade danger by submerging its entire body underwater with just its bill exposed – as Dory says, I shall call him “alligrebe” and he shall be mine and he shall be my “alligrebe”. Ow, bad “alligrebe”, bad “alligrebe”. Cornell’s website also mentions their large wings to body size allow them to take flight much quicker than other waterbirds. Unlike the resaca comment, I cannot verify that as I have never seem them do anything beyond lazily float on the water and dive from time to time. Quite the calm, content bird from my perspective – must not have any internal running demons to contend with.

Will leave it there folks, hope you enjoyed seeing a few shots of a very cute Grebe.

17 thoughts on “At Least no Worries”

    1. Definitely watching that temperature forecast – having rain here next couple of days which will soften the trail up, but if the temps creep to where they are predicting the valleys are going to be steambaths (not to mention the bugs). Consider it motivation to get my ass out of those in a hurry ha! Appreciate you coming by Timothy, enjoying your balloon shots.

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  1. Hydrate! Hydrate! Hydrate!

    If you get in trouble, think of the cute little Grebe. (watch out for the box fans though)

    Seriously cute little bird. The first two photos look like Photoshop lessons on how to create a reflection. The water is glassy smooth.

    And best of luck on your 50-miler this weekend. Fingers crossed for no emergency vehicle rides. For ANYONE!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. … but if I drink less I’ll sweat less right!?! – don’t want to make my clothes any heavier hehehe. Kidding aside, I will be hydrating a LOT. Ever since I found the Hammer HEED my entire fueling process has been greatly improved (not to mention multiple flavors so yoiu don’t get burnt out on the long courses. Along with that I’ll be employing my 50K calorie intake strategy .. just more of it. The nervous jitters usually subside once the gun goes off.

      On the picture front I was able to make the best of an overcast and still day. Not to mention these little Grebes are very calm on the water which helps keep the ripples down and good for dialing in the manual settings.

      Thanks on the wishes, I have always learned from the mistakes that have failed to kill me – I now look for the fans when I have to jump up and run to the railing to throw up heheheh.

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    1. Well now you are sounding like Ron – my Mother asked when I was going to stop this insanity when I was down visiting last week. I asked her at what part when she was raising me did she ever consider me sane? (you can ask Ron or my other brother – I lost a lot of blood growing up although to my credit I didn’t start breaking bones until I was 32 and started putting my hands through cinder blocks). I just like to know my limits hehehe.

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      1. The stories I could tell – fortunately for her, the baseballs I took off the head and the elbows under the basket did far more damage than any accidents she might have had with me back then. My Father raised me to always get back up and never fear anyone/anything – except clowns and Loons ‘dem scary as hell.

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  2. Grebes are one of my favorites also and they don’t try to scare the heck out of kayakers like their relatives the Common Loon! Had a few close calls in MN and even when you know they will try to surprise you and you prepare for it… it is always a surprise! Best wishes and watch for those tree roots this weekend!

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    1. Welcome back CJ!!! Been thinking of you. Yes, those damn Loons are quite startling when they let loose with that evil clown call – sends shivers down this clown phobia’s spine for sure. Same jolt I get whenever I hear that Barn Owl scream which Ron and I added into the Halloween trail this year. Roots are always a problem on this particular course – managed to jack the legs a couple of times on my simulation run last Saturday and that was during the day hours -my first 10 mile loop will be in the dark so that ought to be interesting (although night is my favorite time to run). Fingers crossed my last loop isn’t in the dark – tired and dragging feet through a flashlight will have its impacts for sure ha. Good to hear from you CJ.

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    1. Good news, for the most part the weather held up although the multiple days of rain leading up to it made the steep climbs pretty slippery. Those damn roots are evil – clipped several but never managed to go all the way down – I declare it a success I made it to the end with a clean (but very wet) shirt ha! Now that is over with I can get back to the much safer hobby of blogging. Appreciate you coming by Sam and apologies for the late response.

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    1. Excellent assessment. This Grebe definitely looked extremely content and paddling along with little concerns (probably hasn’t been exposed to the gators along the Rio yet ha). Also correct on the other front, having now completed that endeavor I can say there were moments of torture! Just keep telling yourself all things eventually pass until you do. Thanks for stopping by Lisa and for the good luck… I needed that.

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