Spring and summer are when most people seek to get outdoors, but I actually prefer winter in the Lowcountry, particularly if my aim is one of my chief hobbies, photographing birds. In the winter, there are no bugs to battle, flattering light and little foliage to block the view of your subject.
What's more, you get visits from out-of-the-ordinary species.
Barry Lowes, noted nature photographer and birder, is hip to cool-weather bird-watching, too. He will present photographs of 135 birds commonly seen during the winter on Hilton Head Island during a Dec. 4 event at First Presbyterian Church at 540 William Hilton Parkway. (For the sake of this post, you'll have to settle for a dozen or so of my amateur shots.) Many of these birds could be spotted during the 2013 Audubon Christmas bird count.
The event starts with a 7 p.m. cookie exchange and social. Lowes' presentation begins at 7:30 p.m. and is free and open to the public, according to a news release. Prior registration is not necessary.
The presentation serves as a review for Hilton Head Island Audubon Society members who are involved in the upcoming 2013 Christmas Bird Count, but is it also enthusiastically attended by those who enjoy seeing these beautiful photographs of birds, the release said.
The Hilton Head Island Audubon Society has traditionally used Lowes' presentation as its Christmas party. (Members are on the hook for the cookies — each is asked to bring a plate full.) There will be time to socialize, eat cookies and buy Audubon items before the presentation starts, according to the news release.
Now the longest-running citizen science survey in the world -- 114 years -- Audubon's annual Christmas bird count will begin Dec. 14. The data collected helps identify birds in most urgent need of conservation action, as well as conservation success stories.