* * * Summer camp registration starts February 14! Stay tuned for details * * *

EcoTravel Day Trips

Holiday Gift Certificates Available for Eagle and Swallow Cruises 2017!

Swallows - Diana Atwood Johnson
Swallow Spectacular Boat Cruises

Holiday Gift Certificates available.
Please call 860-767-0660.

Reservations available online now for 2017. Reserve early!
September 10, 17, and 24, 2017. Departs at 4:30 p.m. 

For reservations
 Or call 860-767-0660, Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

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: $45. Eight years and over, please. 
All of last season’s boats sold out, so make your reservations early for 2017. 
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!
For Reservations CLICK HERE!
Or call 860-767-0660 Monday through Friday. 

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.

Click here for our Full Newsletter.

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

Join Connecticut Audubon Society

Standard Membership Only $50!

bird on a sign

Day Trip Listings

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. Did you know that the North Fork of Long Island has over 30 vineyards? Stop at two or three of these vineyards and enjoy a wine tasting. Leader: Andy Griswold. Members $95/Nonmembers $105.

You can conveniently sign-up for the North Fork online by clicking HERE.

Harlequins of Newport
Thursday, January 26   9 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Harlequin Ducks, the fashion plats of the winter seas, are a rare sight in Connecticut, but travelers are nearly guaranteed to see them at Sachuest Point in Rhode Island where a large percentage of the dwindling North American population spends the winter. Tour includes additional spots around Newport. The group stops for dinner at a local favorite eatery before heading home. Leader: Priscilla Wood. Members $85/Nonmembers $95.

You can conveniently sign-up for Harlequins online by clicking HERE.

February Scavenger Hunt
Thursday, February 2   9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
The chill of February is no reason to stay indoors. Winter provides a lot of opportunity for bird and nature exploration. Trails are quiet and most critters are easy to spot when there is little foliage. The group works off a scavenger list with a variety of bird, mammal, and tree species to discover. Leader: Priscilla Wood. Members $65/Nonmembers $75. This trip departs from Essex.

Connecticut’s Northwest Corner
Wednesday, February 15     8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Head to Litchfield County in search of winter irruptive passerines with the possibility of seeing the rare and unusual. Not much on-foot birding is expected; most of it roaming by vehicle. Target birds include Common Redpoll, Evening Grosbeak, Pine Siskin, and Purple Finch. Hoary Redpoll and Bohemian Waxwing are possible. This trip takes place only if an irruption has occurred. Leader: TBD. Members $85/Nonmembers $95.

Birding Rhode Island Coast
Thursday, February 23   7 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Spend the day cruising the coast visiting Charlestown Breachway and Napatree Point in Rhode Island. Take the opportunity to see this summertime destination without the tourists. These two locations are always full of birdlife. Leader: Andrew Griswold. Members $85/Nonmembers $95.

Milford Point Winter Shore Birds
Saturday, February 25     8 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Milford Point in the winter supports an amazing diversity of winter ducks. From different parts of the point you’ll see ducks and other waterfowl, have a chance to learn your gulls, and might even spot Snow Bunting or a Harbor Seal. A stop at other birding sites can be expected. Always be on the lookout for the unexpected. Leader: Jim Sherwonit. Members $75/Nonmembers $85.

Eagles and Other Winter Raptors
Wednesday, March 1   10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Winter is the time of year when Bald Eagles head south and can be found on the open waters of the lower Connecticut River. Visit the eagle hotspots, learn about the history and biology of these majestic creatures, and search for other winter species like Common Goldeneye, Great Cormorant, and more. Leader: Priscilla Wood. Members $65/Nonmembers $75.

End-of-Winter Hike
Thursday, March 16     9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
The group will hike a couple of different trails on a crisp winter day, in the forest and by the water. Explore the east side of the Connecticut River in Old Lyme and East Lyme in search of birds and other wildlife of winter. We’ll find a cozy location for lunch in between hikes. Leader: Priscilla Wood. Members $65/Nonmembers $75.

Winter Shorebirds and Ducks
Thursday, March 30,   10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Winter weakens and signs of spring migration begin to appear. Many species stage along the Lower Connecticut River before migrating back to breeding grounds, offering birders prime viewing. The trip focuses on water habitats and coastal areas in search of species such as Red-throated Loon, Red-necked Grebe, Bonaparte’s Gull, and perhaps a vagrant Black-headed Gull. Leader: Andy Griswold. Members $75/Nonmembers $85.

Early Spring Migrants
Thursday, April 20    6 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Late April is the beginning of the migration madness when birds head north to summer haunts. With favorable weather and winds, some species get a head start and we plan to greet them. Visit places known for their great diversity of spring migrants to see the birds in nuptial plumage and listen to their spring songs. Leader: Andy Griswold. Members $75/Nonmembers $85. Departs from Essex.

Exploring Litchfield County
Thursday, April 27     8 a.m. -5 p.m.
Spring is a perfect time to visit White Memorial Conservation Center, Connecticut’s largest nature center and wildlife sanctuary, boasting 4,000 acres with 35 miles of trails to explore while we look for migrant birds and emerging flora. Visit the center’s museum and Kent Falls State Park to see its lovely waterfalls. Leader: Jim Sherwonit. Members $85/Nonmembers $95.

Annual Lyme Loop
Wednesday, May 10   6 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Travel through Lyme and Nehantic State Forest in search or neo-tropical migrants. The various habitats of the state forests include wetlands, streams, and ponds, all excellent places for the morning chorus of warblers, vireos, and other songsters. Leader: Andy Griswold. Members $75/Nonmembers $85.

Wood Warblers of Cockaponset State Forest
Thursday, May 18   6 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Cockaponset, named after a native American chief who’s buried in Haddam, is our second largest state forest, encompassing over 16,000 acres. The forest offers great habitat for migrating songbirds and should provide for a busy morning of warblers, vireos, thrushes, and more. Leader: Andy Griswold. Members $75/Nonmembers $85.

Nehantic State Park—Beginning Birders
Thursday, May 25    7 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Nehantic State Forest in Lyme is a fabulous place for beginners to get their feet wet. This forest is one of the most popular stopovers for migrating songbirds displaying colorful plumage and voicing their cheery songs. Leader: Priscilla Wood. Members $75/Nonmembers $85.

Exploring Barn Island and Bluff Point
Thursday, June 8     7 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Travel to Barn Island Wildlife Management Area in Stonington and to Bluff Point State Park in Groton for late spring exploration. Barn Island is the state’s largest coastal forest, providing a diversity of habitats, including uplands and tidal wetlands. Both locations are along the water and offer fabulous walking trails. Leader: Andy Griswold. Members $75/Nonmembers $85.

 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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Note: For GPS, please use 30 Plains Road (not our mailing address).

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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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