EcoTravel Day Trips

Swallow Spectacular on the Connecticut River

Swallow Spectacular
September 11, 18, and 25, 2016

Call now! Filling up quickly!
Witness one of the most spectacular avian happenings as thousands of Tree Swallows congregate on the lower Connecticut River and settle in on a giant communal roost each evening at sunset. Birds come from as far as 30 miles away, often creating a ballet of synchronized flight.

Join Connecticut Audubon Society naturalists aboard Essex Steam Train and Riverboat’s Becky Thatcher as we journey first by train and then by boat to see the spectacular, awe-inspiring display. Enjoy picturesque scenery on the train ride to the 70-foot Mississippi-style river boat. Food and a full bar are available on board. There is ample seating, three decks, and restrooms. If you take only one trip in the fall, make sure it is this one! Tours are approximately three and a half hours in length. Fee: $40. Eight years and over, please.

All of our boats in 2015 sold out, so make your reservations early for 2016.
For reservations online Click Here!

Or call 860-767-0660, Monday through Friday, 830am to 430pm.

Gift Certificates are available! Call.

swallow storm - Deb Dombek

Don’t Miss Our Cruises!

Golden Eagle - Shravans14Eagle and Osprey Boat Cruises
April 30, 2016    SOLD OUT!
10am and 2pm     EMAIL us to be put on the notification list for 2017.
Connecticut Audubon Society EcoTravel will again conduct boat cruises aboard the motor vessel Becky Thatcher to search for Bald Eagle, the occasional Golden Eagle, Osprey, and other bird species migrating through and nesting along the Connecticut River.

Bald Eagles can be found year round along the lower river, a habitat that hosts nesting adult eagles and numerous unattached juvenile eagles. Naturalists are on board the vessel to assist in bird identification and share information about the Connecticut River, the birdlife, and natural history. The Becky Thatcher has an enclosed cabin, restrooms, and three open decks for optimal viewing. Tours are approximately two and 1/2 hours in length (or longer depending on the river conditions) and are appropriate for children eight years old and over. Food and drink available on board. Boats leave from Haddam, CT. Detailed directions will be sent with your reservation.

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Day Trip Listings


Wood Warblers of Cockaponset State Park
Thursday, May 19   6am – 2pm
Cockaponset, named after an Indian chief, is the second largest forest in the Connecticut state forest system, encompassing over 16,000 acres. The forest is the best habitat for migrating songbirds and should provide for a busy morning of warblers, vireos, thrushes, and more. Leader: Andy Griswold. Fee: Members $75/Nonmembers $85.

Nehantic State Park for Beginner Birders
Thursday, May 26     7am – 2pm
Nehantic State Forest in Lyme is a fabulous place for beginners to get their feet wet. This forest is one of the most popular stop-over places for migrating songbirds and a great spot to get good looks. Leader: Andy Griswold. Members $75/Nonmembers $85.

Golden Wings of Sterling Forest
Thursday, June 2   5:30 AM-4 PM
Although just across the border in New York, Sterling Forest is home to a wealth of species that are uncommon in Connecticut. Hooded, Cerulean, and Golden-winged warblers are all fairly common breeding species at the site and should all be seen in decent numbers. The expansive forest has a wealth of different habitats, all of which make it a paradise for birders. Habitat loss and competition with the genetically similar Blue-winged Warbler all add up to serious pressure on the Golden-winged. Leader: Jim Denham. Fee: Members $85/Nonmembers $95.

Songbirds of the NW Corner
Saturday, June 11   7 AM -3 PM
The natural beauty of Litchfield County is a splendid backdrop for spring migrants in their colorful plumage. Travel to hot spots and visit backyard feeders around Barkhamsted, Goshen, and New Hartford. A couple of stops will be made at local state parks for trail walks and more bird spotting. Leader: Nick Bonomo Members $85/Nonmembers $95.

Birding Griswold Point and Coastal Areas
Wednesday, June 15   7 AM-3 PM
Join us on a birding trip to the coastal areas of Eastern Connecticut. Start in Old Lyme at the mouth of the Connecticut River, then travel east, visiting Rocky Neck State Park and other popular birding spots. Leader: Andy Griswold. Members $75/Nonmembers $85.

Plum Island, New York
Thursday, June 23     7 AM-4 PM
EcoTravel has been lucky enough to gain access to the Plum Island Animal Disease Center and will be hosting a trip to this small island in Gardiner’s Bay off Orient Point. The group will learn about the purpose of the facility and what birds and mammals call the island home, followed by a tour of the island with opportunities for birding and nature exploration. Access is by ferry departing from Old Saybrook. Fee: Donation.

Berkshire Hills, Massachusetts
Thursday, June 30     8 AM-5 PM
Enjoy the day as we head north to the lovely hills of the Berkshires. Stops include the famous Bridge of Flowers at Shelburne Falls, Joseph Skinner State Park where you can see four states at once, and other trails and places of interest. Nature exploration and trail walks are planned. Leader: Priscilla Wood. Members: $85/Nonmembers $95.

Exploring Fisher’s Island, New York
Wednesday, July 6   10 AM-8 PM     Wait List Only
Saturday, August 13     10 AM-8PM     ADDED DATE!

Don’t miss this very popular day trip to Fisher’s Island, which sits between our eastern coast and the north tip of Long Island. Fisher’s is accessible only by plane or ferry, serving mostly as a remote destination for summer vacationers in their exclusive island estates. Visit the Ferguson Museum and a local oyster farm. Take a tour of the gated East End, off limits to the public. Leader: Bob Kuchta. Members $95/Nonmembers $105.

Beaches and Birds of Rhode Island
Thursday, July 14   9AM-5 PM
A warm summer day is the perfect time to stroll the beaches in search of shore birds. Rhode Island has a wide selection of state parks and shore front just perfect for shorebirding. Walk along the ocean front of Newport’s famous Cliff Walk. We make stops at Sachuest Point, Brenton Point State Park, and other birding hot spots as well as a vineyard on the way home. Leader: Priscilla Wood. Members $85/Nonmembers $95.

South Beach in Chatham, Massachusetts
Wednesday, August 3     7 AM-6 PM
Take in a full day of shorebirding on one of the barrier islands off the coast of Chatham. Your group will be ferried to this beautiful and vast barrier beach habitat populated by Western Sandpiper, Roseate Tern, Hudsonian Godwit, Marbled Godwit, Whimbrel, and Piping Plover. In the past we even found an Arctic Tern. A beautiful way to spend a late summer’s day. Leader: Andy Griswold. Members$95/Nonmembers $105.

Wave Hill
Saturday, August 6     8 AM-5PM
Plantsmanship, aesthetic sensibility, and human experience is the horticultural emphasis of Wave Hill’s 28 acres of gardens, grounds, and woodland in Bronx, New York. Tour through the estate that was once rented as the summer residence of Theodore Roosevelt and leased by Mark Twain. In 1903, George W. Perkins, a partner of J.P. Morgan, purchased Wave Hill House and devoted much of his extraordinary energy in planning the grounds so as to enhance the magnificent vistas. Leader: Bob Kuchta. Members $85/Nonmembers $95.

Milford Point Shore Birds
Saturday, August 13     8 AM-5PM
Check out the shorebirds of Milford Point and see what the dog days of summer have to offer in the birding world. Stops at other birding hot spots include Mondo Pond and the Connecticut Audubon Society Milford Point Coastal Center. Enjoy a late summer day by the water. Leader: Jim Sherwonit. Members $75/Nonmembers $85.

Kykuit: Architecture, Gardens, and Art
Saturday, September 10     8 AM-5 PM
Kykuit is the preeminent Hudson Valley landmark. For architecture, remarkable gardens, art, history, and spectacular scenery, a trip here is a must. This hilltop was home to generations of the Rockefeller family, beginning with philanthropist John D. Rockefeller whose business acumen made him the richest man in America. A site of the national significance, this landmark has been meticulously maintained for more than 100 years. Leader: Bob Kuchta. Members $85/Nonmembers $95.

Ledyard Glacial Park and Avery Preserve
Thursday, September 15     8AM-5PM
There is a lot more to Ledyard than casinos. Enjoy the day walking the woods of Ledyard at the Glacial Park where trails wind through stunning rock formations created 13,000 years ago. You will walk past and over boulders ranging in size from beach balls to buses. Visit Avery Preserve and take an easy one-and-a-half-mile trail featuring several interesting sights. Leader: Priscilla Wood. Members $85/Nonmembers $95.

Wine Trail of Litchfield County
Wednesday September 21     9AM-5 PM
Litchfield County has been named one of the most exciting and fastest growing wine regions in the United States. A variety of wine styles and stunning scenery are enjoyed as we meander through the beautiful landscape. The cooler climate allows for refined flavor development in wines and is also a great place to look for early fall migrant songbirds. The trip includes a short hike at White Memorial Conservation Center. Leader: Priscilla Wood. Members $85/Nonmembers $95.

Click Full Newsletter  for a printable version of our listings!




Have you ever wanted to search for a rare bird near Connecticut, but couldn’t find directions or were concerned about going alone? Here’s your chance to join CAS EcoTravel Rarities Expeditions. We’ll provide the transportation, driver, pleasant company, experienced leadership, and logistical arrangements. This is how it works: first, call EcoTravel to sign on. Then, when a “bird of significance” is in the area, EcoTravel will contact you with the chance to join the adventure. You have the option of coming along or waiting for the next big rarity. The fee will be determined by how far we have to drive for each bird and the number of people participating. Call 800-996-8747 to get your name on the list! Call now so you will not miss out!



Falcon in a Tree

Falcon in a Tree

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Connecticut Audubon Society EcoTravel
30 Plains Road
PO Box 903
Essex, CT 06426

Andrew Griswold, Director

Priscilla Wood,
EcoTravel Assistant

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TV News Clips:
Fox 61: Swallow Cruise
MyTV 9: Swallows at Sunset
CBS: Eagles - Species Status
FOX: Selden Island "Daytrippers"
ABC: Eagles in Essex

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