Everglades National Park, Day 4 – Monday–February 11, 2013

Day 4 – Eco Pond, Noble Hammock Kayak Trail, Nine Mile Pond, West Lake, Coot Bay Pond

Our day started out with just two objectives.  Nancy wanted to go to Eco Pond to look for Roseate Spoonbills and then the two of us planned to kayak the Noble Hammock Kayak Trail. 

Our plans got altered a bit,
so I have included this map for your reference later in the blog;o))
10 - Flamingo Area Trail Map
Nancy here:  Our day started at Eco Pond,  a short walk from the campground.  
As I rounded the entrance to the pond,
I realized that the PROFESSIONALS had beat me to the view;o(
01 - Early Morning Eco Pond Sign  01e - Early Morning Eco Pond - Birders out in force
As I inched forward, trying to sneak a peak,
the only Roseate Spoonbill there took flight!!
01b - Early Morning Eco Pond - Roseate Spoonbill flying away
He was kind enough to circle around right over my head:o))01d - Early Morning Eco Pond - Roseate Spoonbill flying overhead
They are beautiful and strange looking birds!!
Since there was no room to see at this spot, I decided to walk the trail around the pond. 
Turns out there was a lot more to be seen on the trail than on the water today!!
Pileated Woodpeck                                                         Cardinal
01g - Early Morning Eco Pond - Pileated Woodpecker 01o - Early Morning Eco Pond - Cardinal
Red Shoulder Hawk
02 Red Shouldered Hawk
Pine Warbler                                               Gray Catbird
01k - Early Morning Eco Pond - Pine Warbler01l - Early Morning Eco Pond - Gray Catbird
Painted Bunting
01h - Early Morning Eco Pond - Painted Bunting
I know I will be returning to Eco Pond most mornings!!!
When Nancy got back, we ate breakfast, packed our lunch and drove to
the Noble Hammock Kayak Trail launch.04a - Noble Hammock Canoe Trail - Put In
We weren’t the first to arrive and one of those cars belongs to Sherry and David!!
We had been given rave reviews about this kayak trail. 
 Since we have an inflatable kayak,
we need to be a little more concerned about possible obstacles and low water levels. 
Before we decided to do this kayak,
we check with the park ranger and he assured us we would be fine ;o)
The launch and first channel were a little narrow;o((
04b - Noble Hammock Canoe Trail - Put In 04c - Noble Hammock Canoe Trail - Paddle to Marker 1
Then things opened up :o))
04f - Noble Hammock Canoe Trail - opened up again
Marker #4 was a little tight;o(
  04e - Noble Hammock Canoe Trail - marker 4 a little narrow
Then the water level started going down;o((04g - Noble Hammock Canoe Trail - shallow and grassy
It got narrower and shallower;o(((
04i - Noble Hammock Canoe Trail - and narrower  04h - Noble Hammock Canoe Trail - narrower
At marker 21, we decided to call it quits and turn around.04j - Noble Hammock Canoe Trail - turned around and heading back
Just not worth taking any chances in the middle of The EVERGLADES!!!
Later when we talked to Sherry and David, who had kayaked the entire trail in hard kayaks.  They said there were over 100 markers and we had made a good decision to turn around.  It just got more narrow and more shallow towards the end!!  Sometimes, you just can’t go everywhere with an inflatable kayak!  You can read about their kayak trip here.
Once we got back to the launch point and packed up the kayak,
we decided to check out a few other points along the road.
10 - Flamingo Area Trail Map
I knew this map would come in handy!!
We have signed up for a free Ranger-led canoe trip at Nine Mile Pond.  We drove there so we would know just how long it will take since we have to be there just after 7am.  We will share lots of photos of that trip later.  Today, we just enjoyed our lunch and watched a few birds;o)
These Crows were very entertaining!!
05 - Nine Mile Pond for Lunch
Caspian Tern                                                              Pied-Billed Grebe
05d - Nine Mile Pond for Lunch -  Caspian Tern  05g3 - Nine Mile Pond for Lunch -  Pied-Billed Grebe
After lunch, we stopped at West Lake where there is a boardwalk trail and a canoe trail.
We opted for the boardwalk trail this time;o))
 06c - West Lake Trail - trail sign06d - West Lake Trail - Boardwalk
It was a beautiful boardwalk through the Mangroves with lovely Bromeliads everywhere.
06e - West Lake Trail - Bromelaide06e2 - West Lake Trail - Bromelaide
When you visit the Everglades, you WILL learn about Mangroves!!!
06e2 - West Lake Trail - Types of Mangroves Sign
We finally reached West Lake and had a view of new Mangrove Islands
 just starting to form!!
06i - West Lake Trail - Boardwalk over lake 06j - West Lake Trail - Red Mangroves
Mangroves are really hardy!! 
Their roots are in salt water and are covered with barnacles…amazing!!!06j3 - West Lake Trail - Red Mangroves Barnecles
There was so much sea foam that it looked like the mangroves were in SNOW;o))
06j4 - West Lake Trail - Red Mangroves in Sea Foam
Next stop
 07 - Mrazek Pond Sign
This lovely pond sits right next to the road and is a favorite early morning birding spot!!07a - Mrazek Pond Birds
Just across the road is Coot Bay Pond.
08a - Coot Bay Pond 
What a lovely pond!! 
We may have to return to kayak this one:o))
Even when plans didn’t go as planned, we still had a fantastic day!!!


  1. What a beautiful place, thanks for sharing the pictures!

  2. Love the bird pics. Especially the roseate in flight. I never did get a good shot of one.

  3. Incredible picture of the roseate spoonbill flying. How did you get it to stay still up in the air to snap its picture?

    I'm with you about not pushing too far in shallow water with your inflatable kayak. Too many gators looking for a snack.

    So much to see in the Everglades, you certainly are enjoying it and we're enjoying it with all your pictures. :c)

  4. I doubt those professionals got as good a shot of that flying roseate as you did. That is just a fabulous picture. So is the one of him taking off. Boy you must have been quick to get that. Thanks for the shout out to our trip around Noble Hammock. Well after looking at this I'm ready to turn around and go back. I think it's warmer there.

  5. Love love love the roseate spoonbill and painted bunting pics!

  6. Great pictures! Love knowing what the birds' names are -- usually I have no idea. We camped at Flamingo in December and took the guided tour boat and heard about the kayakers. Thanks for the great insight into how kayakers do it. Very interesting!