[Bristol-Birds] Burkey family found at South Holston Dam !!!

  • From: "Wallace Coffey" <jwcoffey@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "Bristol-birds" <bristol-birds@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sun, 31 May 2009 23:02:10 -0400

What a thrill!  As if out of nowhere, here came the Burkey family.

While Carolyn and Wallace Coffey were birding this afternoon
(5/31) at South Holston Dam, a white van pulled in and the 
familiar faces of one of the Bristol Bird Club's most beloved and
admired families began to unload.  They were very active with
BBC throughout the 1990's.

Front and center came Emily, once and elementary school 
member of the BBC who is legendary in our history.  Birders still
have fond memories and tell tales of her lively participation in
our field trips and other club activities.

Just behind was mom Jennifer and dad Mark.  You would know
them all anywhere.  They look the same.  What a pleasant

Emily, the youngest of the famous Burkey Girls of BBC, was
visiting mom and dad at their home near Piney Flats.  Of course
Emily is grown, graduated from college and married.  She lives
at Murfreesboro, TN.  She is a biology graduate of Middle 
Tennessee State University and became interested in biology
thru birding.

We were pleased to learn that sister Amber runs a small business
at Blountville and her husband is with the internet online services
of Bristol Tennessee Essential Services.  Brother Jonathan and
his wife live in Springfield, TN and sometime around Thanksgiving
expect to have the first Burkey grandchild.

Dad Mark was on crutches, recovering from recent surgery for a
knee energy.  He has been 25 years at Eastman in Kingsport.  

We last saw the Burkey Girls 13 Aug 2002 when they showed
up for on of our "BBC 13th of the month" field trips.  They were
surprise walk-ons and we hadn't seen them for some years at
that time. The August edition of the BBC newsletter, The Eagle,
published a photo of the Burkey's standing arm-in-arm with Jo
Ann Detta and Marty Hubber at the "Brown Dairy Farm" on
South Holston Lake.

No doubt many of you will remember our 1998 BBC Picnic at
the Burkey Farm when we had a pool party and several brought
bathing suits and some were thrown in with their picnic clothes.
Jennifer and Mark still live there and she has, for years, been
teaching horseback lessons. 

The girls were talented and Amber (the oldest) traveled nationally
with a youth choir.  Many of us were in Kingsport to hear her 
perform with a regional youth choir. She also was a very impressive
perform as a member of the cast of "Fiddler on the Roof" at the Barter

Emily earned a place in bird club lore when, on one of the BBC's
overnight field trips to Norris Lake west of Knoxville, she suddenly
disappeared.  We were horrified.  Birders began searching
for little Emily.  Just before panic crept in, we heard her faint voice
screaming for us.  She was almost 80 feet up in the crown of a
White Pine tree, trying to get a better advantage to look down the
Clinch River for waterfowl which were ahead.  Everyone was
tremendously relieved.  She was proud to inform us that there
was a raft of ducks ahead. We took her to a soda bar and bought
her all of a giant sundae she could eat.  What a day!

Many remember a really cold, windy, icy and deep snow in Burke's
Garden when Emily, an elementary student, traveled with us.  She
wanted to go birding to see the Golden Eagles and Rough-legged
Hawk.  Her parents dropped her off with our group and she held
her own on the winter field trip as an independent birder.  Everyone 
was amazed at how she picked up a Golden Eagle soaring nearby 
and began to call off the field marks and point the bird out to almost
everyone there. 

Sunday was a great reunion with great friends and cherished BBC 
members from years gone past.

Let's go birding . . . .

Wallace Coffey
Bristol, TN 

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