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U.S. Geological Survey

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Everglades NP
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Everglades National Park

| Northern Section | Southern Section |

Travel along with us toward Flamingo, located at the park’s southern end. Stops along the southern section of the main park road will include Mrazek Pond, Coot Bay Pond, Eco Pond, and Flamingo. If you'd like, you can also hop on a plane and visit some of the Bays along the Park's southeast mainland border. Or, choose to see some other areas of Everglades National Park.

A photo gallery is available for this page. [Photos taken December, 1999, unless otherwise noted]

ecosystem map of tour stops along southern main park roadbayseco pondflamingomrazek pondcoot bay
Map showing locations of stops along the southern section of the main park road in Everglades National Park. The colors show the various ecosystems within the Everglades.

Mrazek Pond

About 2 1/2 miles north of the Flamingo Visitor Center, Mrazek Pond is located along the main park road. At the right time of year, when winter water levels in the pond are low, large numbers of wading birds visit the pond.

Along the main park road
photo of mangroves along main park road
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Just north of Mrazek Pond, facing northward, vegetation including cabbage palms and small oaks frame the west and east sides of the main park road.

The 38-mile paved main park road begins at the Ernest P. Coe Visitor Center, located at the Park Headquarters entrance, and ends at the park’s southern end, Flamingo.

A black vulture and a turkey vulture walk in the grassy area in front of Mrazek Pond. Can you guess which is the turkey vulture?
photo of vultures walking in grass
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Vultures are scavengers that mainly feed on carrion - the flesh of dead animals. Carrion can make for messy meals, therefore, a vulture's bald head is suitable for keeping them from getting too messy when they stick their heads into their food.

Morning Glory
photo of (purple) flowering morning glory vine
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A morning glory vine flowering at the edge of Mrazek Pond. The leaves of the morning glory vine may be entire (no lobes or divisions) or three-lobed. This vine, which blooms year round, has trumpet-shaped flowers that may be white to pink in color and may be solitary or two to three in a cluster. close-up of purple morning glory flower
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Coot Bay Pond

About 2 miles north of the Flamingo Visitor Center, Coot Bay Pond is located along the main park road.

An alligator sunning itself by the informational kiosk at Coot Bay Pond.

Alligators should be treated with respect and viewed from a safe distance, which is why we snapped this large alligator's photo from inside our vehicle.

photo of alligator sunning by kiosk
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Red-shouldered Hawk
photo of red-shouldered hawk in tree
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Just south of Coot Bay Pond, along the main park road, a red-shouldered hawk roosts in the lush greenery. Red-shouldered hawks are referred to as birds of prey, or as raptors. They are commonly found in wet areas near streams and swamps and mostly feed on smaller prey such as lizards, frogs, toads, snakes and small birds. photo of red-shouldered hawk in tree
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Eco Pond

At Flamingo, just beyond the park visitor center and before the camping grounds, a 1/2-mile loop trail surrounds Eco Pond. An elevated observation platform allows a view of the freshwater pond and the small island at its center.

photo of Eco Pond and surrounding vegetation
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(Left) Looking across the waters of Eco Pond with cattails in the foreground and a tree island to the right. Eco Pond was mostly deserted on our late evening visit. During the early morning hours and before sunset, numerous birds can usually be seen foraging and roosting here.

(Right) A late evening view of cattails in the shallow waters of Eco Pond.

photo of shallow waters in Eco Pond
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At day's end, a flock of ibises and egrets roost in the trees at the center of Eco Pond.
photo of birds roosting in trees
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Coastal Salt Marsh
Looking northward (from the trail surrounding Eco Pond) at a coastal salt marsh crossed with drainage creeks. Coastal salt marshes exist where land and marine waters meet. These areas are at least occasionally inundated with salt water and contain salt-tolerant plants.

Most animals of coastal marshes can tolerate varying levels of waters and salinity in waters. Animals that may be found in these areas include small mammals, fish, juvenile fish, shellfish, and birds.

Wading Birds
photo of wading birds foraging at Eco Pond
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(Left) White ibises, a young moorhen and a tricolored heron forage at Eco Pond in the early morning hours.

(Right) Three "not so camera shy" ibises flew over to be included in this photo with the cattle egret. Look closely for the black wingtips seen on the ibises. These distinguishing markings can be seen clearly when the ibis is in flight. photo of egret and ibises standing on rail
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photo of ibis foraging in Eco Pond
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(Left) The rising sun illuminates the bill of this white ibis foraging in Eco Pond. During breeding season, the ibis' distinguishing downward curving bill turns a bright red.

(Right) An immature white ibis poses on the rail as moorhens swim in the background waters of Eco Pond. Immature ibises are brown above and lighter below. During the winter, they become mottled with brown heads and white bodies.

photo of immature ibis
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Ibises probe for food on the water bottoms using their curved beaks. The bird throws back its head and quickly swallows food it finds. Most ibises like to eat crustaceans, fish and insects.

Little Blue Heron
photo of little blue heron on mound
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(Left and Right) A little blue heron foraging in the waters of Eco Pond.

Adult little blue herons are dark blue and have a bluish beak with a black tip, while immature little blue herons are completely white.

Little blue herons primarily feed in shallow fresh waters. Foods they may eat include small fishes, crayfishes, frogs, and aquatic insects.

Cattle Egret
A cattle egret with fluffy head feathers poses on the rail surrounding Eco Pond. Cattle egrets have migrated from Africa to throughout the world. They are smaller in size than other egrets and have a short, thick bill. During the breeding season, the cattle egret acquires brown, buff plumes on the head, back and chest.

Cattle egrets wade in the water like other egrets, but are most often seen in pastures around cattle. The movement of the cattle stirs up insects that are eaten by the cattle egrets. Other foods this egret might eat include earthworms and frogs.

Red-shouldered Hawk
photo of red-shouldered hawk in tree
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A red-shouldered hawk observes the early morning bird action at Eco Pond. This raptor (bird of prey) is commonly found in wet areas near streams and swamps. It mostly feeds on smaller prey such as lizards, frogs, toads, snakes and small birds.


From Flamingo’s campground, the sunrise and sunset over Florida Bay is a fantastic sight.


photo of sunrise through the trees
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Sunrise over Florida Bay, as seen through the trees near Flamingo Lodge.


2nd photo of sunset over mangrove island
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3rd photo of sunset over mangrove island
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(Above) The sky filled with a profusion of colors as the sun slowly set behind this mangrove island in Florida Bay.

Standing on grounds lightly littered with coconuts and watching the coconut palm tree silhouettes slowly become darker made for a peaceful day-ending experience. photo of sunset through tree silhouettes
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photo of sunset at Flamingo campground
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Sunset through the silhouetted trees of Flamingo campground.

Year-round camping is available in parts of Everglades National Park. Chekika campground is no longer open for camping. Please visit the Everglades National Park website for updated information on camping.

photo of sunset over Florida Bay
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The skies and waters of Florida Bay illuminated by the sunset.
photo of sunset over Florida Bay
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Time for bed - Flamingo Campground
photo of Flamingo campsite
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Flamingo campsite setup along Florida Bay.


Joe Bay
photo of Joe Bay
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Aerial shot of Joe Bay.

Alligator Bay
photo of Alligator Bay
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photo of Alligator Bay
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photo of Alligator Bay
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Aerial shot of the Buttonwood embankment looking south over Alligator Bay.
Aerial shot of the Buttonwood embankment over Alligator Bay. Aerial shot of the Buttonwood embankment. This a shot from the south of the embankment, over Alligator Bay.

Little Madeira Bay
Aerial shot of the Buttonwood embankment, the mangrove fringe between Florida Bay and Taylor Slough, on Little Madeira Bay. photo of Buttonwood embankment on Little Madeira Bay
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(date taken unknown)

Other Photos from Everglades National Park

photo of an alligator
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photo of an alligator resting on limestone bedrock
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(left) An American Alligator in Everglades National Park. The species was once listed as Endangered, but was removed in 1987 after a successful recovery.

(right) Alligator Resting on Limestone Bedrock in Taylor Slough. Water levels are critical to the life cycle of alligators. Part of the Everglades restoration plan is to determine what historical water levels and flow rates supported healthy alligator populations.

American Crocodile
American crocodiles are restricted in their range within the USA to southern Florida. Decisions on restoration of the Everglades must incorporate protection for this threatened species. photo of a crocodile
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(date taken unknown)

Sampling in the Mangroves -- 3-D Twister!
photo of scientists sampling in the mangroves
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(date taken unknown)
USGS scientists are studying the plants and animals that are part of the coastal mangrove ecotone of Everglades National Park.

Anhinga Drying Its Feathers
photo of an anhinga drying its feathers
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(date taken unknown)
Anhingas are considered primitive birds because they do not produce oils like ducks and other water fowl. They must dry their feathers periodically in order to fly or even remain buoyant, so they remain perched for significant periods of time with wings outstretched.

Great Blue Heron
Great Blue Herons are found throughout much of North America, but are always associated with water. Because they fish by sight, they need relatively shallow water. Release of too much water through the canals north of the Everglades can interfere with their ability to find food. photo of a great blue heron
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(date taken unknown)

Related SOFIA Information

Below we have listed science projects and publications for studies that are being conducted, or have been conducted, in the area of Everglades National Park. Follow these links to read about each project and to see project-related publications and data.

Science Projects:

Related Publications:



U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey, Center for Coastal Geology
This page is: http://sofia.usgs.gov /virtual_tour/enp/indexsouth.html
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Last updated: January 15, 2013 @ 12:44 PM (KP)