Salt-Water Pond and Egret

This photo shows an egret in one of the salt marshes in the J. N. Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Sanabel Island
Photo by Elizabeth VanderPutten. February 2001

J. N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge

One of Sanibel Island's most memorable features was the J. N. Darling National Wildlife Refuge. Its 6,354 acres of fresh-water and salt-water marshes and mangrove islands are home to 243 bird species including tundra swan, bald eagle, and green-backed heron plus more than 50 species of reptiles and amphibians, and some 32 mammals most of which are viewable along its 5-mile Wildlife Drive.

At the far end of the Refuge is Shell Mound Trail. The original Indians who lived on the island built a huge mound out of sea shells as a refuge from periodic flooding. It was really quite an amazing feat. The drive (in low gear) leading up the the side of the mound is probably a half mile long!