EcoTravel Day Trips

Swallow Cruises on the Connecticut River

Tree Swallow 2Registration for 2015 already available!!

Don’t miss the boat!

Due to the overwhelming popularity of our 2014 Tree Swallow cruises we have decided to begin our 2015 reservations now! Guarantee a space for next year by reserving now! Simply click here to make your reservations online. If you wish, you can call our office to make reservation as well. 

Call 860-767-0660. For more information click below.

 “I have seen a million flamingos on the lakes of East Africa and as many seabirds on the cliffs of the Alaska Pribilofs, but for sheer drama, the tornadoes of Tree Swallows eclipsed any other avian spectacle I have ever seen.” Roger Tory Peterson   The amazing Tree Swallow concentration can be found each fall during migration season where hundreds of thousands of swallows congregate on the lower Connecticut River and at sunset settle in on a giant communal roost. The birds come from as far away as 25 miles and converge at dusk often creating a “ballet” or “funnel” of birds before they settle down to roost.

Join us as Connecticut Audubon Society naturalists narrate a 3-hour sunset cruise down the spectacular Connecticut River sharing the history of the area as well as pointing out the natural surroundings and the birds and wildlife that inhabit it.

Bring a picnic supper and your favorite beverage to enjoy. Bring your binoculars or we will provide a pair. Do not miss this truly inspiring display! $40 per person. Eight years old and over please.

Overnight packages available.

Read about the swallows in the Associated Press’s recent story, Autumn on the Connecticut River.



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Day Trip Listing 


Wine Tasting and Hiking Trail
Thursday, October 9     9AM-5PM   New Date!
Connecticut is becoming 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 the vineyards and visit the tasting tables of Southeastern Connecticut. Our visits will include Jonathan Edwards Winery, Stonington Vineyards, and Saltwater Farm Vineyard. We will make a stop at Oswegatchie Hills Nature Preserve in East Lyme for a short hike to take in early autumn colors. Leader: Priscilla Wood Members $85/Nonmembers $95.


Central Park Colors
Saturday, October 4     7AM-5PM
Spend a splendid day full of birding and botany in New York’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. Leader: Bob Kuchta. Fee: Members $75/Nonmembers $85.


Birding Harkness Memorial Park
Wednesday, October 22     Noon-8PM
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. The group will continue the search for migrant warblers and other songbirds of the later migration season, then stop for dinner at a local eatery. Leader: Andy Griswold. Members $75/Nonmembers $85.


Selden Island Exploration
Saturday, October 25    830AM-12:30PM
Join a historian, a botanist, and a birder as EcoTravel takes a cruise along the Connecticut River to Selden Island in Lyme. This island, the largest on the Connecticut River, is rich in history, flora, and fauna. You’ll be able to choose which topic—local botany, geology, or ornithology—you’d like to learn most about. Perhaps you’ll be lucky enough to see one of our resident Bald Eagles en route. Fee: $45 for all travelers.


Saw-Whet Owl Banding
Saturday, October 25     2PM-11PM
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 the Massachusetts banding team. This trip will provide an opportunity to learn about (and hold) these adorable owls, the banding process, and the scientific data that banding stations help to provide. An unforgettable trip! The trip departs Essex and will begin with a stop at Blackstone Park for birding, hiking, and a picnic dinner. Because the banding is of a nocturnal owl species, this event will entail a late night return to Connecticut. Leader: Jim Denham. Members $90/Nonmembers $100.


Birding Andy’s Favorite Places
Thursday, October 30     9AM-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. Stops will include New London, where there is a Black Vulture roost site along with a few other surprises. Enjoy migration with the beautiful backdrop of autumn. Leader: Andy Griswold. Members: $75/Nonmembers $85.


Newport & Nature
Wednesday, November 5     10AM– 8PM
Newport, Rhode Island, is a diverse and dichotomous town with stately mansions on one end of town, and quiet, solitary walking paths on the other. Enjoy both of these extremes as we spend a full day in Newport enjoying the Cliff Walk that takes you along the surfside mansions of Newport. The group will take time to visit Sachuest Point and Brenton Point for additional scenic views and hiking trails, and will stop for dinner in Newport on the way home. Leader: Priscilla Wood. Fee: Members $75/Nonmembers $85.


Plymouth Plantation & Mayflower II
Wednesday, November 12     8AM-6PM
Enjoy a full day of exploring Plymouth Plantation in Massachusetts, offering a fascinating and personal look at the lives of the native Wampanoag people and the English Pilgrims who lived in the early Plymouth Colony. The tour includes a visit to the ship Mayflower II. Although the original Mayflower that sailed to Plymouth in 1620 no longer exists, Plymouth Plantation’s full-scale reproduction was built in Devon, England, and crossed the Atlantic in 1957. A great way to prepare for Thanksgiving, by touring the area where it all began! Leader: Bob Kuchta: Members $90/Nonmembers $100.


Exploring Napatree Point
Thursday, November 20     8AM– 4PM
Napatree Point in Watch Hill, Rhode Island, is a great place to see all kinds of shorebirds and other migrants in the fall—a consistently good birding spot where we are likely to find something out of the ordinary. Enjoy exploring this area and searching for any rarities in the neighborhood. Leader: Andy Griswold. Members $75, Nonmembers $85.

Holidays at the Mansions
Wednesday, December3     8AM-5PM
Tour three of the most famous mansions of Newport, Rhode Island, in all of their holiday splendor! The Breakers, the estate of Cornelius Vanderbilt II; Marble House, modeled after the Petit Trianon at Versailles; and the elegant French chateau, The Elms—all will be filled with spectacular evergreens, thousands of poinsettias, and 19th-century-style ornaments. Built by America’s greatest architects during the Gilded Age, these estates allow the visitor a glimpse at the wealth, power, and influence of the men and women who made Newport the center of grand society. Leader: Bob Kuchta.Fee:Members $85/Nonmembers $95.


New York Botanical Garden Holiday Show
Saturday, December 6     2PM-9 PM
Another Annual Favorite! See the Botanical Garden in Bronx, New York, 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 in the holiday spirit! Leader : Bob Kuchta. Members $85/Nonmembers $95.


Coastal Birding Holiday
Wednesday, December 10     Noon-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 holiday season!


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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