EcoTravel Day Trips

Eagles, Osprey, and Swallows 2016!

Golden Eagle - Shravans14Eagle and Osprey Boat Cruises
April/May 2016     Call for available dates!
Connecticut Audubon Society EcoTravel will again conduct numerous boat cruises aboard the motor vessel Becky Thatcher to search for Bald Eagle and the occasional Golden Eagle, Osprey, and other bird species wintering and nesting along the Connecticut River.

Bald Eagle can be found along the lower river, a habitat that hosts a transient winter population as well as nesting residents. 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 a heated cabin, restrooms, and three open decks for optimal viewing. Tours are approximately three hours in length and depart on Saturdays 9:30am and 1pm. Cruises depart from Essex Steam Train in Essex. Appropriate for children eight years old and over. Food and drink available on board. Enjoy the beauty of the Connecticut River in spring! Fee: $40 for members and nonmembers.

To make a reservation , call us at 860-767-0660.

swallow storm - Deb Dombek

Swallow Spectacular
September 11, 18, and 25, 2016

Other dates may become available. Call.
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 for the holidays! Call.

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!

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bird on a sign

Day Trip Listings

New York Botanical Garden – Holiday Show
Saturday, December 5     1pm – 9pm    Few Spots Remain! Call now!
An Annual Favorite! See NYBG in its holiday glory. 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 launch you into the holiday season. Leader: Jim Sherwonit. Members $85/Nonmembers $95.

Coastal Birding Holiday
Thursday, December 17   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 area’s fine eateries. Leader: Andy Griswold. Members $75/Nonmembers $85. Bring your friends to help kick off the holiday season.

Block Island Day Trip
Saturday, January 9     8am – 5pm
Enjoy the island and the birds 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. Travel by ferry to the island to visit its birding hot spots and various habitats. Leader: Andy Griswold. Members $90/Nonmembers $100.

Art & Nature
Thursday, January 14     10am – 4pm
Visit The New Britain Museum of American Art, designated the first museum of strictly American art in the country. The singular focus and broad view of American artistic achievement make the museum a significant teaching resource. The group will take a short winter walk at Wadsworth State Park. Leader: Priscilla Wood. Members $75/Nonmembers $85.

Harlequins of Newport
Wednesday, January 20     9am – 7pm
Harlequin Ducks, the fashion plate of the winter seas, are a rare sight in Connecticut, but travelers are nearly guaranteed to see them in Rhode Island where a large percentage of the dwindling North American population spends the winter. View the harlequins and other winter ducks around Newport. Stop for diner at a local favorite eatery before heading home. Leader: Priscilla Wood. Members $85/Nonmembers $95.

Milford Point Winter Shore Birds
Saturday, February 6     8am – 4pm
In winter, this area supports an amazing diversity of ducks and other waterfowl. You’ll have the chance to learn and study gulls and might even spot Snow Buntings or a Harbor Seal. Stops at other winter birding sites can be expected. Leader: Jim Sherwonit. Members $75/Nonmembers $85.

Connecticut’s Northwest Corner
Saturday, February 13     8am – 5pm
Head to Litchfield County in search of the rarer winter irruptive passerines. Not much on-foot birding, since most of it will be done by vehicle. Target birds include Common Redpoll, Pine and Evening Grosbeaks, Pine Siskin, Purple Finch, and Bohemian Waxwing. Even a Hoary Redpoll has been seen in the past. Leader: Nick Bonomo. Members $85/Nonmembers $95.

Birding the Rhode Island Coast
Wednesday, February 17     7am – 5pm
Explore the coast from the Charlestown Breach Way to Napatree Point. Take the opportunity to see this summertime destination in a new light. This open-ocean coastline often hosts species not so commonly found in Connecticut. Leader: Andy Griswold. Members $75/Nonmembers $85.

UConn Greenhouses & Tree Identification
Thursday, February 18     9am – 3pm
With one of the most diverse plant collections in the northeast, the UConn greenhouses in Storrs are an exciting destination. After exploring the greenhouses, your leader will guide the group around the campus and outline the finer points of how to identify the large variety of tree species found on the property. Leader: TBD. Fee: Members $55/Nonmembers $65.

Eagle Viewing by Land
Wednesday, March 2     9am – 3pm
Winter is the time of year when Bald Eagles head south to the open waters of the lower Connecticut River and other water sources. Spend the day visiting the state’s eagle hotspots and learn about the history and biology of these majestic creatures. Leader: Priscilla Wood. Members $75/Nonmembers $85.

Seal & Nature Cruise in Rhode Island
Saturday, March 12     9am – 4pm
Enjoy a 75-minute scenic boat ride down the Taunton River into Mt. Hope Bay to see Harbor Seals and other wildlife. Expert guides help spot seals and discuss the rich culture and natural history of the region. The group will take time to stop at other natural spots for a quick hike before heading home. Leader: Jim Sherwonit. Members: $85/Nonmembers $95.

Birding the North Fork of Long Island
Wednesday, March 16     7am – 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 $85/Nonmembers $95.

St. Paddy’s Day Hike
Thursday, March 17     9am – 2pm
Hike trails in the forest and by the water. Explore the east side of the Connecticut River in Old Lyme and East Lyme at Watch Rock and Oswegatchie Hills Nature Preserve in search of the birds and critters of late winter. We will find a warm location for lunch in between hikes. Leader: Priscilla Wood. Fee: Members $65/Nonmembers $75.

New York Botanical Gardens – Orchid Show
Saturday, March 19     8am – 5pm
Our annual trek to the world famous botanical gardens! Lift your winter-weary spirits at the orchid show, the only place in the northeast to see thousands of orchids. Elaborate kaleidoscopic displays throughout the galleries explode in an amazing array of colors, shapes, sizes, and textures. Members $85/Nonmembers $95. Leader: Priscilla Wood.

Exploring Litchfield and Kent
Saturday, April 16     8am – 5pm
Spring is a beautiful time to visit White Memorial Conservation Center in Litchfield, Connecticut’s largest nature center and wildlife sanctuary. With 4,000 acres and 35 miles of trails, great habitat for spring migrants and budding flowers abounds. Visit Kent Falls State Park to see the cascading waterfalls. Leader: Jim Sherwonit. Members $75/Nonmembers $85.

Early Spring Migrants
Thursday, April 21     7am – 4pm
Now is the beginning of migration madness when birds head north to nest. With the right weather and winds, some species get a head start and we will greet them. Visit local spots that are known for their great diversity. See the birds in their brilliant nuptial plumage and listen to their musical spring songs. Leader: Andy Griswold. Members $75/Nonmembers $85.

High Line Park, New York City
Saturday, April 23      8am – 5pm
High Line, now maintained as park, is on a historic freight rail elevated above the streets of Manhattan. Built in the 1930s, it was part of a massive project to lift traffic 30 feet in the air, removing dangerous trains from the streets. The gardens of the park are a sight to behold and should be sprouting full color. Leader: Priscilla Wood. Fee: Members $85/Nonmembers $95.

Get Started Birding
Saturday, May 7     8am – 2pm
Are you wanting to get into birding and just not sure where to start? Join our morning outdoor workshop to learn the basics of binoculars, field guides, and identification. This is a fine kick-off to building confidence and gets you ready for our Beginner Birding day trip at the end of the month. Leader: Priscilla Wood. Members: 75/Nonmembers 85.

Annual Lyme Loop
Wednesday, May 11 & Friday, May 13     6am – 3pm
Travel to Lyme in search for migrants. The various habitats of Nehantic State Forest include wetlands, streams, ponds—all excellent places for the morning chorus of warblers, vireos, and other songbirds. Leader: Andy Griswold. Members $75/Nonmembers $85.

The Mount in Lenox, Massachusetts
Saturday,  May 14    8am – 5pm
The Mount is the home that Edith Wharton designed based on precepts from her 1897 book The Decoration of Houses. Wharton was also an authority on European landscape design as well as a passionate gardener. She envisioned her gardens as an series of outdoor rooms planned in concert with the house and surrounding natural landscape. A gardener’s delight! Leader: Bob Kuchta. Fee: Members $85/Nonmembers $95.

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.

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:
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MyTV 9: Swallows at Sunset
CBS: Eagles - Species Status
FOX: Selden Island "Daytrippers"
ABC: Eagles in Essex

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