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Volume LXIII, Number 2 October 2010

2010-2011 Audubon Teaches Nature Series
The Making of Nature Journal
Sunday, October 17th, 2:00 p.m. ~ Larry Davenport, Guest Speaker
Oak Mountain Interpretive Center Auditorium
I am happy to announce that the 2010-2011 slate of Audu- Alabama Heritage magazine, and these columns form the
bon Teaches Nature (ATN) seminars has been confirmed basis of the chapters in his new book, Nature Journal,
and I think you’ll like the choice of seminar speakers and which was published in August by the University of Ala-
topics. Some will be familiar to you while others are new to bama Press as part of the Gosse Nature Guides series.
the series. Larry’s presentation will focus on the making of Nature
Journal and how you and your children might incorporate
The ATN seminar series is a joint effort of the Alabama its contents into your own lives to foster a new sense of
Wildlife Center, Birmingham Audubon Society, Friends of connection to the natural world.
Oak Mountain and the Oak Mountain Interpretive Center.
The series is designed to appeal to a range of natural his- Be sure to come early and enjoy some refreshments and
tory interests for all age levels and it is especially hoped conversation in the Observation Room at the Alabama
that families with children will attend together. After all, the Wildlife Center, then, when it is time for the program, we
family that plays together stays together! will proceed to the Interpretive Center for the program.
There will be a bird walk after the program, weather per-
The first speaker in the series is well known to BAS mem- mitting.
bers and the Birmingham conservation community. Dr.
Larry Davenport is a Professor of Biology at Samford Uni- See page 5 for the other topics and Seminar dates in the
versity who has taught for many years at the Audubon series.
Mountain Workshop. Larry authors a regular column in

October Monthly Meeting
Telescoping Time in Bhutan
Presented by: Jim Brown, Malia Fincher and Dick Mills
Thursday, October 21st, 7:00 p.m. ~ Birmingham Zoo Auditorium
Bhutan is the last of the independent Himalayan king- host of the group was a nobleman and director of the
doms. More rugged than the Rockies and more heavily Centre for Bhutan Studies, Oxford educated (and the
forested than the Smokies, it is about the size of Swit- governmental official in charge of officially measuring
zerland but 20 degrees further south. It was closed to GNH!). He gave the non-Bhutanese conference speak-
all foreigners until the late 1950s, and only legalized TV ers a wonderful tour and explanation of at least the
and the internet in 1999. Mahayana Buddhism is the western half of the country. Upon return Brown immedi-
official religion, a tantric version that came by way of ately talked up the possibility of a travel/study trip there
Tibet. Bhutan gained some quirky fame with the last with other faculty members. Malia Fincher, whose ex-
Bhutanese king’s claimed attempt to maximize not pertise is in plant-insect interaction, was one of the fac-
Gross National Product, but Gross National Happiness. ulty who enthusiastically signed on. Dick Mills agreed to
be our liaison with a well-connected but new and untried
In the summer of 2009 Jim Brown was invited to give a Bhutanese travel agency. Half a dozen students bought
presentation on values as preserved in traditional folk- into it, and a few adults from out in the “real world,” and
tales to a royally-sponsored “Bhutan National Storytel- the trip came off the last of May 2010, including a foray
ling Conference” in Thimphu, Bhutan’s capital. The main (Continued on page 2)
August 8 through August 31, 2010
Bob Sargent reports that this has been a banner year for Ruby-throated Hummingbirds through-
out eastern United States and Canada.

Now, get this. On 1 September, 2009, Mary Wilson banded a Ruby-throated Hummingbird at Al-
pine, Al. Remarkably, this bird was recaptured 8 August, 2010 near Huttonsville, West Virgina by
Hummer/ Bird Study Group trainees.

Greg Harber has been enjoying watching several hundred Chimney Swifts entering a chimney on
Birmingham’s Southside. Greg says this begins about 7:40 PM and by 7:45 PM they are all in for
the night. Harriett Wright and Pelham Rowan joined him on 31 August. Of course by the time that
the October Flicker Flashes is delivered most of these birds will have migrated, but perhaps they
will return to the same location next year (7th Avenue South at 24th Street). Stay tuned.

Other sightings were:

8/8 Tricolored Heron, only five previous records for the Mountain Region;
Lake Purdy (GJ,DJ).
8/24 Warblers- Chestnut-sided, Cerulean, and Canada;
Baltimore Oriole (3); Botanical Gardens (GJ,DJ).
8/28 Osprey; Highland Lakes (BC).
Veery; Lincoln, Al. (RC).
8/30 Buff-breasted Sandpiper (4 juv); Pell City sod farms (GJ).
8/31 Common Nighthawk (Approximately 100); Homewood (GH).

Contributors: Barry Clemmons Greg and Debi Jackson Mary Wilson
Ross Cohen Pelham Rowan Harriett Wright
Greg Harber Bob and Martha Sargent

Please submit sightings for November/December FF at least five days before the October 1st deadline to:
Ann Miller, 520 Yorkshire Drive, Birmingham, Al. 35209

(Continued from page 1) geology and climate, soils, native vegetation, native zo-
into the rural heart of central Bhutan, Bumthang, and the ology, layers of human history, and the modern eco-
valley of Phojibka where the black cranes winter (though nomic and political balance that obtains today – as a
it was not the time the cranes were actually there). quick way to get a handle on a very foreign subject. Jim,
Malia and Dick will try to do as much of that as they can
The attempt of the course was to “telescope time” in a in the program time, with Google Earth maps and photo-
study of Bhutan – to do as best we could with the time graphs by way of illustration.
available the old Regional Planning trick of surveying

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October Field Trips

Oak Mountain State Park - Half Day
Saturday, October 2nd, 8:00 a.m.
Early October is near the peak of the southbound fall mi- ciably and the hawks and vultures start taking to the skies,
gration, and as we will hopefully witness for ourselves on we’ll head for the hills. The hills, in this case, will be the
this trip, migration season includes more than just migrat- road to Peavine Falls. Here we’ll have an unobstructed
ing birds! Butterflies of several species also migrate, and view of the ridges and valleys to the north of Double Oak
so along with songbirds and hawks, we hope to Mountain. Our trip will then adopt a lazy man’s
observe butterflies on the wing too. Vitaly approach to birding and butterfly watching as we
Charny, co-author with W. Mike Howell of the take to our chairs and wait for the hawks and
recently published Butterflies of Alabama, will co- butterflies to come to us! Hopefully, the weather
lead this trip and we’ll depend on him to identify will cooperate and bring us a cool front, and with
the butterflies we see! it, Broad-winged Hawks migrating past our van-
tage point. Butterflies such as Monarchs should
Our plan is to meet at 8:00 a.m. at the Ranger also be in evidence.
Station, outside the main entrance to Oak Moun-
tain State Park. The park is located in Pelham; This trip won’t take us far since we’ll stay within
take the Cahaba Valley Road exit (#246) off I-65 the park the entire time. Be sure to bring a folding
and follow the signs to the park. From here we’ll chair with you, along with plenty of snacks and
travel into the park in search of migrant and resi- drinks. Dress for the weather, as always. Park
dent songbirds at several locations within the admission is $3.00 per person, $1.00 for senior
park, visiting different habitats in an effort to maximize the citizens.
number of species we’ll observe. We’ll also be looking for
butterflies, so bring your butterfly field guides. For further details and/or questions, please call our trip
leader Greg Harber at 205-251-2133. BAS member Vitaly
Mid-morning, once the temperatures start to warm appre- Charny will co-lead the trip.

Skyway Motorway and Talladega Mountain,
plus Kymulga Grist Mill, Childersburg
Saturday, October 16th, 7:00 a.m.
Fall color and migrant songbirds (late fall and early winter) some scenic countryside and we’ll have a late picnic (bring
will be the order of the day for our October field trip to the your own) lunch once we arrive at the mill. Following lunch
Skyway Motorway atop Talladega Mountain south of we’ll bird in the forested areas of the site as well as taking
Cheaha State Park. In recent years we have visited the in the historic structures within the park. There is a $3.00
state park and Rebecca Mountain, at the southern termi- admission fee.
nus of the motorway. This trip will take us to an intermedi-
ate stretch of the road between the two. As veterans of the trips I lead will attest, lunchtime is flexi-
ble, especially if the birding is good. The drive to the park
The Skyway Motorway is paved for a short stretch south of takes about 45 minutes, so come prepared with plenty of
the state park before it becomes a reasonably well- snacks and fluids to tide you over during the drive. Dress
maintained gravel Forest Service road. We’ll travel it for for the weather, and be sure your car’s gas tank is full.
several miles through the forest atop Talladega Mountain,
stopping at various sites as conditions warrant. It is a Travel plans: Depart 7:00 a.m. from the Eastwood McDon-
beautiful landscape with some impressive vistas, and the ald’s, located at 1569 Montclair Road and caravan east on
fall color will make it even more breathtaking, so you’ll I-20 to exit #173. We’ll travel the back roads to Cheaha
definitely want to come on this trip if you’ve never been to State Park, where we’ll take a short bathroom break at the
the area. store at the park entrance. Those wishing to meet us here
should arrive by 8:30 a.m.
Once we come down the west side of Talladega Mountain
we’ll make our way back country to the Kymulga Grist Mill, For further details and/or questions, please call our trip
located northeast of Childersburg. Our route will traverse leader Greg Harber at 205-251-2133.

BAS Field Trip Cancellation Policy
If there is a possibility of dangerous road conditions due to inclement weather please contact the trip leader at the phone number provided.

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Sea Turtle Egg-vacuation
By: Shirley Farrell

The state of Alabama is blessed with a tremendous 50 days, but the number of days to hatch varies be-
number of different animals and plants (biodiversity), tween sea turtle species. Once the eggs hatch they will
including five sea turtle species that visit the beaches. be released in the Atlantic Ocean.
When these species, Atlantic Loggerhead (Carreta car-
reta), Green Sea Turtle (Chelonia mydas), Atlantic In order to remove the eggs, biologists had to carefully
Hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricate), Kemps Ridley dig through the sand with their fingers. Each nest may
(Lepidochelys kempi), and Leatherback (Dermochelys contain over 125 eggs. The eggs are placed in coolers,
coriacea), are mature adults, they return to the beaches with sand from the beach. Each egg must be placed in
where they hatched to lay their eggs. For some of these the same “up” position as it was in the nest. In other
turtle species that return trip may be 30 years later. words, the bottom and top sides of the egg must remain
the same for the baby turtle to develop properly.
This year many turtle eggs were removed from Ala-
bama, Mississippi and western Florida beaches and The eggs were transported free by FEDEX. Eggs were
sent to Georgia and eastern Florida beaches. Many of transported three times a week for four months! How
these eggs were sent to a climate controlled building at many trips did FEDEX make transporting sea turtle
NASA’s Cape Kennedy facility to prevent the baby tur- eggs? Actually by mid-July, FEDEX would start making
tles from swimming through the oil spilled into the Gulf six trips per week using a semi truck and trailer. Thank
of Mexico. you FEDEX!!

Beaches are monitored daily during the summer for sea To learn more about sea turtles visit the Sea Turtle Con-
turtle nests. When a nest is found, a fence is placed servancy (http://www.conserveturtles.org/), the oldest
around it to keep people from walking on or digging up sea turtle conservation organization in the world! You
the sand. These nests are monitored and the fences can “follow” via satellite several different sea turtles that
removed when the sea turtles hatch. This takes about have radios on them.

Save The Sea Turtle Hatchling!

There are many hazards that can prevent a baby sea turtle
from getting to the ocean. One hazard is predators. Many
birds and other animals eat these turtle babies. Another
hazard is buildings with lights on at night. The turtles see
the bright lights and think it is the ocean. They crawl to-
wards the lights instead of heading to the ocean. Help our
baby sea turtle make it to the ocean by finding the path
through the maze!

We are looking for artists and writers: Send us your pictures, jour-
nal pages, stories and poems about birds, nature, wildlife, etc. If
selected, your original work will be published in the Flicker
Flashes.

Do you have any suggestions as to what you would like to read
about in Kid's Corner? Send your ideas to:

Birmingham Audubon Society
Attn: Kids Corner
P.O. Box 314
Birmingham, AL 35201

Page 4
Captive Audiences
By: Helena Uber-Wamble

Common Bird Songs is the title of one of the programs the program intently! How do I know this? Well, the two
that is presented on the McWane Science Center stage year old boy had some pretzels on his stroller and he
at least once a week. Sounds simple enough, right? Peo- had the munchies, but he did not want to miss seeing
ple of all ages come over to listen to the sounds that anything on the screen - so he stood up and walked
some of the most common birds make. This program backward with his hand feeling for the stroller tray. He
was created to spark more interest in those that love grabbed a few pretzels without looking and came right
feeding the birds, but need or want a little more help in back into his mother’s arms. Now this might not seem
learning about the birds they hear around their homes, like a big deal, but when the two boys both shouted out 6
and to get people to step over to the “sound tree” to learn out of 8 birds that were featured on the screen correctly,
about other birds in Alabama too. I was totally impressed. Some adults can’t do that some-
times.
I never know what kind of crowd I am going to have or
even if they will stay, but for the most part, unless they As I was cleaning up, I watched as the mother lead them
have lunch plans, they stay for the entire program. Re- over to the bird sound tree and played some of the same
cently, I had a woman come with her two and four year bird sounds over again and the kids still had the right
olds to listen in on the program. There were about 15 answers. When the Mom added another sound the kids
people during this presentation listening in to learn about wanted to know what bird that was too. This is just one of
bird songs. I was totally thrilled. This woman took a seat those times that give me hope for the future of our birds,
on the floor with her two sons and they leaned in to listen wildlife and habitats. People only care about the things
to the birds. they know about – and what they know about is what
fires their passion to protect it. Whether we are two or
I have added a photo of each bird on the stage cart so ninety-two, it is never too late to learn about the world
the kids could remember the different birds that were around us, to claim it with a passion, and to protect it
talked about throughout the power point - which grabs with a better understanding of how it is all connected and
their attention right from the start. Usually when present- I am glad to help that passion soar. I send kudos to that
ing, I watch the faces looking at me and try to gauge not Mom for stopping by and giving her children a small
only interest levels, but how much I will have to review foundation on which to build that passion!
with the audience before giving them their “group quiz.”
On this day, the little boys caught my eye, not because Happy Birding Everyone and remember to follow your
they were disruptive, but because I had them fixed on passion.

2010 - 2011 Audubon Teaches Nature Series
Red-cockaded Woodpeckers in the Talladega Na- Reptiles and Amphibians of Alabama ~ Critters that
tional Forest ~ Meet the new Neighbors Hop, Slither and Crawl!
Sunday, November 21st, 2:00 p.m. ~ Art Henderson, Sunday, March 27th, 2:00 p.m. ~ Ken Marion, Guest
Guest Speaker Speaker

An Introduction to Birds of Prey An Introduction to the Fishes of Alabama
Sunday, January 16th, 1:30 & 3:00 p.m. ~ John and Dale Sunday, April 10th, 2:00 p.m. ~ Mike Howell, Guest
Stokes, Guest Speakers Speaker

Ruby-throated Hummingbirds ~ Winged Jewels of the Spring is Here ~ Time to Learn our Bird Songs
Skies Sunday, May 22nd, 2:00 p.m. ~ Greg Harber, Guest
th
Sunday, February 20 , 2:00 p.m. ~ Bob and Martha Speaker
Sargent, Guest Speakers

Page 5
2010 BAS Spring Count Report
Saturday, May 1, 2010

The 2010 BAS Spring Count was one of the slowest in recent memory – indeed, the entire spring migration almost
seemed as though it never occurred. Still, teams of intrepid BAS birders managed to count 131 species on count day,
with an additional 4 count week species noted. Teams spent 97.25 party hours in the field, with 0.1 hours spent owling.
563.1 miles were covered by car and 24.75 miles were spent on foot – a substantial effort! Temperatures ranged from
62-83 degrees, with cloudy skies, variably breezy conditions and trace amounts of rainfall.

Canada Goose 303 Red-bellied Woodpecker 62 Black-throated Green Warbler 1
Wood Duck 14 Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 2 Blackburnian Warbler 1
Gadwall 2 Downy Woodpecker 31 Yellow-throated Warbler 1
Mallard 55 Hairy Woodpecker 2 Pine Warbler 22
Blue-winged Teal 4 Northern Flicker 7 Prairie Warbler 26
Wild Turkey 15 Pileated Woodpecker 10 Palm Warbler 13
Northern Bobwhite 3 Eastern Wood-Pewee 1 Blackpoll Warbler 1
Double-crested Cormorant 96 Acadian Flycatcher 12 Black-and-white Warbler 2
Great Blue Heron 71 Eastern Phoebe 66 American Redstart 2
Great Egret 27 Great Crested Flycatcher 68 Prothonotary Warbler 3
Cattle Egret 20 Eastern Kingbird 159 Worm-eating Warbler 5
Green Heron 8 Loggerhead Shrike 6 Swainson's Warbler 1
Black-crowned Night Heron 9 White-eyed Vireo 185 Ovenbird 1
Yellow-crowned Night Heron 22 Yellow-throated Vireo 12 Northern Waterthrush 2
Black Vulture 17 Red-eyed Vireo 49 Louisiana Waterthrush 7
Turkey Vulture 49 Blue Jay 97 Kentucky Warbler 24
Osprey 1 American Crow 353 Common Yellowthroat 24
Mississippi Kite 3 Fish Crow 5 Hooded Warbler 37
Sharp-shinned Hawk 1 Purple Martin 172 Yellow-breasted Chat 41
Cooper's Hawk 9 Tree Swallow 28 Summer Tanager 48
Red-shouldered Hawk 15 Northern Rough-winged Swallow 226 Scarlet Tanager 12
Broad-winged Hawk 7 Cliff Swallow 674 Eastern Towhee 149
Red-tailed Hawk 17 Barn Swallow 194 Chipping Sparrow 45
American Kestrel 2 Carolina Chickadee 97 Field Sparrow 1
Peregrine Falcon CW Tufted Titmouse 135 Savannah Sparrow 4
Falcon species 1 White-breasted Nuthatch 17 Song Sparrow 2
American Coot 1 Brown-headed Nuthatch 30 Swamp Sparrow 1
Killdeer 43 Carolina Wren 128 White-throated Sparrow 12
Lesser Yellowlegs 3 House Wren 2 Northern Cardinal 381
Spotted Sandpiper 6 Ruby-crowned Kinglet 2 Rose-breasted Grosbeak 18
Least Sandpiper 7 Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 66 Blue Grosbeak 37
Pectoral Sandpiper 2 Eastern Bluebird 225 Indigo Bunting 116
Wlson's Snipe 2 Gray-cheeked Thrush 3 Dickcissel 7
Rock Pigeon 53 Swainson's Thrush 6 Bobolink 154
Eurasian Collared-Dove 17 Wood Thrush 52 Red-winged Blackbird 354
Mourning Dove 383 American Robin 133 Eastern Meadowlark 76
Yellow-billed Cuckoo 5 Gray Catbird 19 Common Grackle 220
Eastern Screech-Owl 2 Northern Mockingbird 225 Brown-headed Cowbird 116
Great Horned Owl CW Brown Thrasher 69 Orchard Oriole 35
Barred Owl 9 European Starling 376 Baltimore Oriole 1
Chuck-will's-widow CW Cedar Waxwing 115 House Finch 76
Whip-poor-will CW Tennessee Warbler 13 American Goldfinch 43
Chimney Swift 169 Northern Parula 12 House Sparrow 90
Ruby-throated Hummingbird 21 Yellow Warbler 4
Belted Kingfisher 9 Chestnut-sided Warbler 3 Total 6,624
Red-headed Woodpecker 28 Yellow-rumped Warbler 32

Many thanks to the following participants (party leaders in boldface): Greg Harber, Jessica Germany, BJ Allen, Donna
Shook, David George, Sharon Hudgins, Katherine Bouma, Andrew Haffenden, Mac Braid, Suzanne Elder, Maureen
Shaffer, Anne Miller, John Imhof, Pelham Rowan, Harriett Wright, Mary Lou Miller, Gina McWilliams, Elisa Mejia, John
Swan, Larry Wright, Cheryl Horncastle, Sallie Brice, Greg Jackson, Linda Cicero and her Montevallo - Orr Park volun-
teers, and feeder watchers: BJ Allen, Stan Hamilton and Donna Shook. Compiler: Greg Harber.

Page 6
~ Membership Application ~
Birmingham Audubon Society/National Audubon Society*
 National Audubon Society  Birmingham Audubon Society
New Members* $20.00 New Members and Renewals $20.00
Seniors (62 or better) $15.00 Seniors (62 or better) $15.00
Full-time Students $15.00 Full-time Students $15.00
* NAS will contact you directly for membership renewal

Make check payable to: National Audubon Society Make check payable to: Birmingham Audubon Society
Send application and check to: Send application and check to:

National Audubon Society Birmingham Audubon Society
P.O. Box 314 P.O. Box 314
Birmingham, AL 35201 Birmingham, AL 35201

Name: ________________________________________________________________

Address: ______________________________________________________________

City, State and Zip code: _________________________________________________

Phone: ( ) ______________________ Email: ______________________________

My check for $___________ is enclosed.
Phone: (205) 714-8227
Birmingham Audubon Society C0ZA0000Z
Birmingham Audubon Society is tax exempt under 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code
clip along dotted line

* There are two ways to become a member of Birmingham Audubon Society:
1. Join National Audubon Society. Birmingham Audubon Society serves as a local chapter of the National
Audubon Society. Joining National Audubon Society also provides you a membership to Birmingham Audubon
Society and access to all chapter activities and benefits. You will receive the National Audubon magazine.
Your dues support the work of National Audubon Society and a small percentage is returned to the
Birmingham Audubon Society for local efforts.
— OR —
2. Join Birmingham Audubon Society without National Audubon Society affiliation. This chapter only member-
ship provides you access to all chapter activities and benefits. All dues stay in Birmingham to support local
activities. You will not receive the National Audubon magazine.

We need for you to volunteer! There are many opportunities available through which you can give of your time to
make great contributions to Birmingham Audubon. The Education Director is in particular need of those of you who
would lead children on a short birding venture.

A formal volunteer application can be found on the BAS web site under “About Us”, then “Volunteer Opportunities”.
Or just call Louise Ayer Tommie at 428-9652.

The Birmingham Audubon Society gratefully acknowledges the following gifts and memorial donations:

Memorial gift to BAS in memory of Betty J. Susina from Elberta G. Reid
Memorial gifts to Audubon Mountain Workshop in memory of Betty J. Susina from Edith Hunt and Greg Harber

Page 7
Birmingham Audubon Society Non-Profit Org.
A Chapter of the National Audubon Society DATED MATERIAL
P.O. Box 314
U.S. Postage
Please deliver by September 30, 2010 PAID
Birmingham, AL 35201
Permit No. 3794
Business Office: Birmingham, AL
200 19th Street North
Birmingham, AL 35203
(205) 714-8227

Email: Audubon@McWane.org
Web Site: www.birminghamaudubon.org
Please check your mailing label for your
Bird Reporting Line: (205) 879-7709 membership expiration date.

Printed on recycled paper

Flicker Flashes is published eight times a year by
the Birmingham Audubon Society.
Editor: Greg Harber (205) 251-2133
Co-Ass’t Editor: Bianca J. Allen (205) 854-5233
Co-Ass’t Editor: Donna Shook (205) 664-2982

October 2010 November 2010
1 Flicker Flashes articles due, 13 BAS 1/2 day Field Trip,
November/December issue Ruffner Mtn. Nature Center

2 BAS 1/2 day Field Trip, 18 Board Meeting, Birmingham Zoo Auditorium
Oak Mountain for butterfly & Hawk watching (BZA), 5:45 p.m.
General Meeting, BZA, 7:00 p.m.
8-10 Alabama Ornithological Society meeting, Paulette Ogard & Sara Bright, “Butterflies; Gosse
Dauphin Island, AL Nature Guides”
20 BAS Field Trip,
16 BAS Field Trip, Skyway Motorway & Kymulga Grist
Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge
Mill
21 Audubon Teaches Nature,
17 Audubon Teaches Nature, The Wildlife Center, 2:00 p.m.
The Wildlife Center, 2:00 p.m. Art Henderson, “Red-cockaded Woodpeckers in
Larry Davenport, “The Making of Nature Journal” the Talladega National Forest ~ Meet the new
21 Board Meeting, Birmingham Zoo Auditorium Neighbors”
(BZA), 5:45 p.m.
General Meeting, BZA, 7:00 p.m.
Dick Mills, Malia Fincher and Jim Brown, “Bhutan”

Copies of Flicker Flashes can be viewed and downloaded from the BAS web site: www.birminghamaudubon.org