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Burris Basin Birds

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  • Doug
    Not being able to look in on Burris Basin this summer as much as I normally like to, was able to drop by for awhile this afternoon (4 August). Although the
    Message 1 of 2 , Aug 4, 2012
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      Not being able to look in on Burris Basin this summer as much as I normally like to, was able to drop by for awhile this afternoon (4 August). Although the summer months here are less interesting for overall numbers and diversity of birds, as would be expected, the establishment, and continued expansion, of the tern and skimmer breeding colony at Burris, over the years, has been interesting to watch (which has been the subject of several posts in past summers). The new "Tern Island" has been very active this summer. This 2.4 acre island was created in the middle of the basin a few years ago, specifically as a replacement nesting site for Least Terns, which started breeding here in 2004. The original nesting islands in
      Burris were all removed by a large Orange County Water District "Reconfiguration Project" (to enhance the site as a groundwater recharge basin). The replacement islands appear to be working out well, fortunately, by most of the species that formerly bred within the basin. This year the island is fairly badly overgrown with weeds, so it makes viewing the nesting activity difficult (and making estimates of breeding pair numbers almost impossible). However, just some very rough estimates of breeders on Tern Island this year includes somewhere in the vicinity of 150 pairs of nesting Forster's Terns, at least 50 (to 75?) pairs of Black Skimmers, and possibly somewhere in the vicinity of a dozen pairs of Least Terns. Other breeders include more typical species for an inland location: American Avocets (perhaps in excess of 50-60 breeding pairs), Black-necked Stilts, Killdeer and at least one pair of Spotted Sandpipers. Over the last couple months, it has been obvious that most of the breeders here have been quite successful in fledging young (e.g., up to a 150-200 Forster's Tern fledglings at one time). Black Skimmers appear to still be going strong, and have young close to fledging. Although the majority of the nests are hidden within the weedy growth on the island, there are still large numbers of tern and skimmer adults coming and going from the island attending to nests, or feeding "runners" (pre-flying aged juveniles).

      Other birds of note at Burris today included both pelican species (one American White and one immature Brown). Decent numbers of White Pelicans usually winter here, of course, but Brown Pelican is a rare (though increasing) summer and fall visitor to this area (can't recall how often I've seen two pelican species here in the past, but hasn't been often). A Green-winged Teal (an apparent male in eclipse plumage on the north side of the Tern Island) I'm guessing is the same male that was lingering here through at least late June. Burris Basin can best be viewed from Anaheim Coves, a new City of Anaheim park that borders the west side of Burris. One of the easier access points is at the intersection of Rio Vista and Warner, located about half way between Lincoln Street and Ball Road.

      Doug Willick
      Orange, CA
    • Doug
      As was brought to my attention, I should have said Rio Vista and WAGNER , not Rio Vista and Warner in the recent post regarding Burris Basin (in Anaheim).
      Message 2 of 2 , Aug 5, 2012
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        As was brought to my attention, I should have said "Rio Vista and WAGNER", not "Rio Vista and Warner" in the recent post regarding Burris Basin (in Anaheim). Wagner runs east-west, and terminates at Rio Vista, which borders the western edge of Anaheim Coves Park (ACP) at this location. Other entrances to ACP, from which Burris Basin can be viewed, are from Ball Road on the south, and Lincoln Street on the north (where there are also restrooms--something that can come in handy if walking the entire 1.5 mile trail along the west side of Burris; there are no restrooms at Wagner and Rio Vista). From the Lincoln Street parking lot, one can also make a short detour (after passing the first pond south of Lincoln) over to the Santa Ana River. In August and September this can be a decent spot to see a variety of migrant shorebirds (e.g., Baird's, Pectoral and Stilt Sandpipers, and a juvenile Ruff were all found by various birders last fall in the River, in the vicinity of the Lincoln Street crossing).

        Doug Willick
        Orange, CA


        --- In OrangeCountyBirding@yahoogroups.com, "Doug" <Doug.Willick@...> wrote:
        >
        >
        > Burris Basin can best be viewed from Anaheim Coves, a new City of Anaheim park that borders the west side of Burris. One of the easier access points is at the intersection of Rio Vista and Warner, located about half way between Lincoln Street and Ball Road.
        >
        > Doug Willick
        > Orange, CA
        >
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