only has been there so many trips you couldn’t count them but in every season under almost ever condition you can imagine. He lives in Richlands of Tazewell County. We have probably spent a hundred hours of more on the phone and visiting and birding. The goal was to meet every major landowner in the garden, get to know them all on a personal basis, gain their respect and gain warm and welcome access to the thousands of acres they own and manage. It was a door-to-door effort and a farm-to-barn effort across Burke’s Garden.
Clancey was to find and bird every hidden habitat, pond, creek and path available. Take no one lightly, respect everyone and their property and earn a trust that has never been established by any other naturalist or birder.
Members of the Bristol Bird Club have compiled more than 25 years of mapping good bird finds
in Burke’s Garden. Efforts made there by Clancey in the past year reveled that the eBird reporting locations for the garden did not measure up to snuff so an all new system has been developed and
implemented. We have created new locations and names for reporting hotspots in the garden. They have found favor with the eBird editor for the mountain areas of Virginia. One problem that's definitely relevant to Burke’s Garden is the use of the current "Burke's Garden" hotspot.
Here are some of the new hotspots Clancey and I have worked with:
Burkes Garden – Blue Spring Creek (West End)
Burkes Garden – General Store
Burkes Garden – Gose Mill Road (Oak Grove Pond)
Burkes Garden – Snyder Branch (Banks Ridge)
Burkes Garden Creek – Gose Mill Pond
Burkes Garden – Spring Creek (MBC Pond)
Current hotspot data, listed as only Burke’s Garden, is being converted to the new sites above. These will soon come up on your smart phones and input lists to eBird automatically from Cornell when you are working with garden data. Data will become much more useful to those compiling data and records for the state and Burke’s Garden for future publications.
We have been invited by the Burke’s Garden community association to present a program on our bird study efforts in the garden and how we might advance working arrangements with landowners. The hidden ponds, forested interior habitat and much more that Clancey has made access to as well as identified have never been birded by anyone until he got there. Landowners sharing information with us and pointing the way and granting very selective and personal access for what we are doing has been a cornerstone.
Key to some of the most useful associations have been developing trusted relationships with the Amish community that lives there. Not only did that lead to their helping BBC with food preparation at the store but also has identified teenage birders living in the valley that have gone under the radar. We have gotten literature and checklists to them and met some. This is an enormous development, as we see it. From that we learned that the Burke’s Garden Store is closing for the winter today (30 Nov) and will not open again until spring.
We have made an effort to search large and isolated pine stands in the Garden in hopes of finding Long-eared Owls. We have turned up a roosting location for a Short-eared Owl but have not yet seen a bird.
Burke’s Garden is known as the large thumbprint of God. What a great description!