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Bonanza at Santee Lakes: Waterfowl, Photographers Flock to Preserve

Pelicans join ducks, egrets and herons for colorful season at Santee Parks Recreation Preserve.

While Santee residents share the holiday season with out-of-town guests, winter visitors are joining hometown waterfowl at Santee Parks Recreation Preserve. It’s a gift for birdwatchers and photographers.

American white pelicans—which scoop rather than dive—are seen along with double-crested cormorants and osprey as cold weather temporary visitors to the lakes, the recreation website says.

Wood ducks, great blue herons, great egrets, mallard ducks and American coots are others among the 178 species of birds that call the seven Santee Lakes home. The preserve is open 8 a.m. to a half-hour before dusk Monday through Thursday and 6 a.m. to just before dusk Friday through Sunday.

In addition to bird watching, fishing is popular at the lakes. The next trout stocking date is Jan. 12. Two thousand pounds of rainbow trout will be released. A state fishing license is not required to fish.

Vehicle fees are $5 on weekends and holidays, and $3 on weekdays.

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