EcoTravel Day Trips

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Cruise the Connecticut River for the Swallow Spectacular!

Swallow Spectacular Boat CruisesSwallows - Diana Atwood Johnson
Sept 11: Sold Out!

Sept 18: Sold Out!

Sept 25: Sold Out!

Email us at with your name, phone, and number in your party to get on to our waitlist and for future notifications.

 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. Departs at 430pm. Fee: $40. Eight years and over, please. 
All of last season’s boats 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.


Eagle and Osprey Cruises!

Osprey - Bill CanosaEagle and Osprey Cruises
April 29, 2017    Reserve Early!
10am and 2pm     A Great Holiday Gift!
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. Fee: $40.

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Call us for the lowest prices on Swarovski and Vortex Binoculars and Scopes. Call us at 860-767-0660!

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Standard Membership Only $50!

bird on a sign

Day Trip Listings

Kykuit: Architecture, Gardens, and Art
Saturday, September 10     8 AM-5 PM   Full!  Call to get on the waitlist.
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’s Glacier Park and Avery Preserve
Wednesday, September 14     8AM – 5PM
There is a lot more to Ledyard than casinos. Enjoy the day walking the woods of Ledyard at the Glacier Park where the trails wind through stunning rock formations created 13,000 years ago by a melting glacier. You will walk past (and sometimes climb over) boulders ranging in size from beach balls to buses. After a picnic lunch, the group will head to the Avery Preserve and walk the mile-and-a-half easy trail with several interesting features to explore. Leader: Priscilla Wood. Members $85/Nonmembers $95.

Wine Trail of Litchfield County
Wednesday, September 21     9AM – 5PM
Litchfield County, in the northwest corner of the state, has been named one of the most exciting and fastest growing wine regions in the United States. A tremendous variety of wine styles and stunning scenery are to be enjoyed as we meander through this beautiful park-like landscape. This cool-climate growing region allows for refined flavor development of wines and is also a great place to look for migrating birds. The trip includes a short hike at White Memorial Conservation Center. Leader: Priscilla Wood. Members $85/Nonmembers $95.

Birding and Botany in Central Park
Saturday, October 8     8AM – 5PM
Spend a splendid day full of birding and botany in New York City’s Central Park as we walk among the maples, oaks, and elms. These are just a few of the trees that create a spectacular backdrop at the park in fall. Head up to the Ramble, where migrating birds make their bi-annual stop. Enjoy all of the park’s arches, bridges, statues, and memorials surrounded by the beautiful colors of autumn. Leaders: Bob Kuchta and Jim Sherwonit. Members $85/Nonmembers $95.

Harkness Memorial Park
Wednesday, October 12     10AM – 6PM
Enjoy panoramic views of Long Island Sound from over 230 seaside acres of sweeping lawns, stately trees, and spectacular gardens of Harkness Memorial Park in Waterford. From here, the group will venture to the Thames River and its tidal estuary to continue the search for migrant warblers and other songbirds of the later migration season. Stop for an early dinner at a favorite local eatery. Leader: Andy Griswold. Members $75/Nonmembers $85.

North Fork Vineyard Tour
Wednesday, October 19     8AM – 5PM
Back by popular demand! Join us on a trip to Long Island and the beautiful town of Greenport, New York. Did you know that the North Fork of Long Island has over 30 vineyards? You will take a tour of a handful of these vineyards and enjoy wine tastings as well as an introduction to the world of enology (the study of wines and wine-making). A stop in Greenport to visit the carousel and shops may be on the itinerary as well. Leaders: Jim Denham and Andy Griswold. Members $95/Nonmembers $105.

A Visit to Sleepy Hollow
Thursday, October 27     7AM – 6PM
Sleepy Hollow is a village in the town of Mount Pleasant, New York, located on the east bank of the Hudson River about 30 miles north of New York City. The names of the famous and the infamous, both historic and legendary, have left their mark on this quiet Hudson River village The group will visit Rockefeller State Park Preserve, an important birding area and fabulous place for trail hikes and nature exploration. Learn about the history of the village along with its famous character, the Headless Horseman. Leader: Priscilla Wood. Members $85/Nonmembers $95.

Saw-whet Owl Banding
Saturday, October 29     1PM – 10PM
Each fall between late September and late November, large numbers of Saw-whet Owls (the smallest owl in the Northeast) migrate through New England, and a good number of these birds end up in the nets of our Pomfret Center banding team. This trip will provide an opportunity to learn about these adorable owls, the banding process, and the scientific data that banding stations help to provide. An unforgettable trip! Departure is from Essex and will begin with a hike of the trails through the grasslands at our Pomfet Center followed by a picnic dinner. Because the banding is of a nocturnal owl species, this event will entail a late night return to Essex. Leader: Priscilla Wood. Members $85/Nonmembers $95.

Andy’s Birding Mystery Tour
Thursday, November 17     8AM – 4PM
Do you want to know where Andy’s favorite birding hot spots are? Join him as he travels east of the Connecticut River to his favorite haunts in Southeast Connecticut and Rhode Island. Join a chase if a rarity has been reported. Leader: Andy Griswold. Members $75/Nonmembers $85.

New York Botanical Garden Holiday Show
Saturday, December 3     1PM – 9PM
An Annual Favorite! See NYBG as it has never looked before. Wrapped in the glow of twinkling lights, model trains and trolleys zip along over bridges and on winding tracks past scaled replicas of New York landmarks. Orange slices, cinnamon sticks, poppy pods, pine cones, and other plant parts make a festive brew as the materials used to create the more than 140 architectural reproductions. Among the favorites are the Empire State Building, Little Red Lighthouse, Brooklyn Bridge, and the borough’s own Yankee Stadium. This trip is sure to put you into the holiday season. Leader: Bob Kuchta. Members $95/Nonmembers $105.

Coastal Birding Holiday
Wednesday, December 21     11AM – 7PM
Join Andy Griswold, EcoTravel Director and expert birder, for an annual favorite as your birding group searches for early winter migrants and coastal birds along the shore from Westbrook to Groton. After this pre-holiday adventure, your group will be stopping for dinner at one of the fine eateries in the area. Leader: Andy Griswold. Members $75/Nonmembers $85. Bring your friends to help kick off the holidays!

Block Island Day Trip
Saturday, January 7     8AM – 5PM
Enjoy Block Island, Rhode Island, and the birds that inhabit the island at a time of year when the landscape is quiet and the island spirit easygoing. The tourists may have left the island, but the birds remain. Focus on winter specialties and the occasional pelagic bird. The group will travel by ferry from Point Judith and spend the day visiting the birding hot spots and various habitats on the island. Leader: Andy Griswold. Members $100/Nonmembers $110.

Birding the North Fork of Long Island
Wednesday, January 18     8AM – 6PM
The North Fork is not short on places to observe birds. With so much water in Long Island Sound and the Peconic Bay System, the trouble is deciding where to go!  From Orient Point west, any road that ends at the water offers opportunities. Beaches have easy access while summer’s guests are gone and winter has arrived. Leader: Andy Griswold. Members $95/Nonmembers $105.

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

Donate your car, boat, truck, RV, Jet Ski or snowmobile to Connecticut Audubon EcoTravel and receive a tax deduction. This no cost, no hassle process begins when you contact our fundraising partner, Donation Line LLC at 877-227-7487. Make sure to ask for our extension 3087. Or you can click here on “Donate Car”  to donate online, now.





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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