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Santee Birding: Palmetto Pro Birder Module

  • Santee National Wildlife Refuge (map)
Image from

Image from

The Santee area has become a haven for birds and birders, alike. From open waters to open fields and hardwood canopies to pine wood edges, the diversity of habitats lend to an amazing diversity of birds, with nearly 300 species observed.  This class will explore the Bluff Unit of the Santee National Wildlife Refuge, as well as the Walworth Plantation on the other side of Lake Marion.  Walworth is owned by Martin-Marietta, who is a partner in SCWF’s Wildlife And Industry Together (WAIT) program, and is managing the land to improve wildlife habitat.  Migrating warblers and vireos will be seen, as well as beautiful wading birds found along the shores of Lake Marion. Several species of birds of prey will likely be seen hunting the open fields and waters.

Photo by D. Dial

Photo by D. Dial

136 species of birds have been reported to E-bird during May in previous years at the Santee National Wildlife Refuge - click here for a printable list.

Where:  Class will be held at the Bluff unit of the Santee National Wildlife Refuge in Clarendon County, and the Walworth Plantation in Orangeburg County.  Registered participants will receive more detailed information regarding meeting locations, directions, etc.  If you are staying overnight in between, the town of Santee is a good central location with several lodging options.    

Photo by Reg Daves

Photo by Reg Daves

When:  Friday, May 11th, 9am-3pm, and Saturday, May 12th, 7am-12noon

Who: This training is open to the public. No prior knowledge is required. Minimum age is 16.  For SC Master Naturalists, this event can count as Advanced Training and towards your statewide certification if you need a Coastal Plain component. Lunch will last thirty minutes on Friday, so depending on when we finish, this module will count for approximately 10.5 hours of training. If you are not a Master Naturalist, just come have fun with us. Participants will also receive contact info of other participants to allow for carpooling to the class.

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This class will be led by Steve Patterson.  Steve began birding in 1981 shortly before entering Erskine College as a freshman. He learned all he could about how to identify what he found and started keeping a list. Since then he has birded in 1,050 counties in the United States, including every county in North Carolina, Florida, Maine, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Delaware, and of course South Carolina. Steve is the past compiler of the Long Cane and Rocky River Christmas Bird Counts, having founded Rocky River in 1991. He is a member of the American Birding Association, the Greenville County Bird Club, Aroostook Birders (Maine), and a lifetime member and former president the Carolina Bird Club. 

To ensure a quality experience for all, space is strictly limited to 20 participants.  Classes fill quickly, register today!  After registration, you will receive an email with lodging recommendations, directions, and any other details pertinent to the class.

Other Important Notes:

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•    If available, please bring binoculars & your favorite field guide to Eastern birds.

•    Restrooms are available at both locations.  Pink and blue bushes are along the trail…

•    Participants should bring a bag lunch on Friday, water and be prepared for a day in the field. 

•    There is no rain date for this event.  We will make every effort to hold it, even in a few rain showers.  If it looks like a deluge, we'll notify you of cancellation and refund your money.

•    After registering, you will receive important correspondence via email.  If you change your email between now and then, make sure to notify us.

Cost: The cost is $150.00 per person and limited to the first 20 people that register.     

IMPORTANT: Participants should be in good physical shape. Birding involves alot of standing, and we may cover some distance in our field work.


Questions?  Please contact Sara Green, SCWF Director of Education.

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