EcoTravel Day Trips

Swallow Cruises

Swallows

On the Connecticut River, witness one of the most spectacular avian happenings with the Tree Swallow concentrations that can be found each year. September 13 and 20 (rain date September 27), departures are at 4:30 p.m.

During fall migration, thousands of swallows congregate on the lower Connecticut River and at sunset settle in on a giant communal roost. Birds come from as far away as 25 miles and converge at dusk, often creating a ballet of synchronized flight before settling down to roost. Renowned ornithologist and artist Roger Tory Peterson wrote, “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.” Join CAS staff naturalists aboard Essex Steam Train and Riverboat 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, Becky Thatcher. Food and a full bar are available onboard including ample seating, three decks, and restrooms. If you take only one trip this fall, make sure it’s this one! Tours are approximately three and a half hours in length. Fee: $40. Eight years of age and over, please.

To make a reservation on line, CLICK HERE!

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

To see more about the train and Becky Thatcher, visit this LINK.

Boat

 

 

 

 

Train


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Day Trip Listing

South Beach in Chatham, Massachusetts
Wednesday, August 5   7am – 6pm
Take in a full day of shorebirding on one of the barrier beaches off the coast of Chatham, Massachusetts. Your group will be ferried to this beautiful and vast island habitat populated by Ruddy Turnstone, Sanderling, Semipalmated Sandpiper, Least Sandpiper, Marbled Godwit, and Piping Plover. In the past we’ve found Arctic Tern! A beautiful way to spend a warm summer’s day. Leader: Andy Griswold. Members $95/Nonmembers $105.

Wave Hill
Saturday, August 8     8am – 5pm
Plantsmanship, aesthetic sensibility, and the human experience of the natural environment are the horticultural emphasis of Wave Hill’s 28 acres of gardens and woodland in Bronx, New York. The group will tour through this estate that was once leased by Theodore Roosevelt’s family and Mark Twain. Of winter at Wave Hill, Twain wrote, “I believe we have the noblest roaring blasts here I have ever known on land; they sing their hoarse song through the big tree-tops with a splendid energy that thrills me and stirs me and uplifts me and makes me want to live always.” Leader: Bob Kuchta: Members $85/Nonmembers $95.

Milford Point Shore Birds
Saturday, August 22     8am – 4pm
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 including Mondo Pond and the Connecticut Audubon Society Milford Point Coastal Center are on the agenda. Enjoy the warm summer day by the water in hopes of a cool breeze. Leader: Jim Sherwonit. Members $75/Nonmembers $85.

Exploring Fisher’s Island
Saturday, September 12     8am – 5pm
Don’t miss this very popular day trip to Fisher’s Island, New York, the small island that sits between the eastern coast of Connecticut and the tip of Long Island. The island, which is part of Suffolk Country, New York, is accessible by plane or ferry and serves mostly as a remote destination for summer vacationers in their exclusive island estates. Our group will visit the Henry L. Ferguson Museum and a local oyster farm, and will take a tour of the gated East End, which is off limits to the public. Please bring your binoculars, field guides, a bag lunch, and money for dinner. Leader: Bob Kuchta. Members $95/Nonmembers $105.

September 13 and 20 (Rain date is September 27)
Departures are at 4:30pm
On the Connecticut River, witness one of the most spectacular avian happenings with the Tree Swallow concentrations that can be found each year. During fall migration, thousands of swallows congregate on the lower Connecticut River and at sunset settle in on a giant communal roost. Birds come from as far away as 25 miles and converge at dusk, often creating a ballet of synchronized flight before settling down to roost. Renowned ornithologist and artist Roger Tory Peterson wrote, “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.” Join CAS naturalists aboard Essex Steam Train and Riverboat 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, Becky Thatcher. Food and a full bar are available onboard including ample seating, three decks, and restrooms. If you take only one trip this fall, make sure it’s this one! Tours are approximately three and a half hours in length. Fee: $40. Eight years of age and over, please.

Wine Trail of Litchfield County
Wednesday September 23     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 style and stunning scenery are to be enjoyed as we meander through this beautiful part of our state. This cool-climate growing region allows for refined flavor development of wines and is also a great place to look for early fall migrants. Trip will also include a short hike at White Memorial Conservation Center. Leader: Priscilla Wood. Members $85/Nonmembers $95.

Central Park Colors
Saturday, October 3     8am – 5pm
Escape with 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. Enjoy all of the park’s arches, bridges, statues, and memorials surrounded by the beautiful autumn colors. Leader: Bob Kuchta. Fee: Members $75/Nonmembers $85.

Harkness Memorial Park
Wednesday, October 14     8am – 4pm
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 mid-migration season, then stop for dinner at a local eatery. Leader: Andy Griswold. Members $75/Nonmembers $85.

Saw-Whet Owl Banding
Saturday, October 24     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! The trip departs Essex and will begin with a hike of the trails at our Pomfet Center Grasslands and 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, October 29     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. Stops will include New London, where there is a Black Vulture roost site along with a few other hidden locations. Get out for late season migration before winter sets in. Leader: Andy Griswold. Members: $75/Nonmembers $85.

Tree ID of Litchfield County
Saturday, November 7     8am – 5pm
Not only are trees home to birds and small animals and a place for small children to climb, but they play a crucial role in the success of our environment. Spend the day with EcoTravel’s Master Botanist as you visit three State Parks in Litchfield County: Dennis Hill, Haystack Mountain, and Mohawk Mountain. Learn to identify trees not just by their leaves but by all their different parts and characteristics. Enjoy the trails of the State Parks and take in what is left of the autumn season. This is a great trip for birders as well. Learning to ID trees helps to locate birds more easily. Leader: Bob Kuchta. Fee: Members $85/Nonmembers $95.

New York Botanical Garden – Holiday Show
Saturday, December 5     1pm – 9pm
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: Bob Kuchta. 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 Block Island, Rhode Island, and the birds that inhabit the island at a time of year when the landscape is devoid of tourists and the island spirit easygoing. 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. Fee: Members $90/Nonmembers $100.

Harlequins at Newport
Thursday, January 29     9am – 7pm
Harlequin Ducks, the fashion plates of the winter seas, are a rare sight in Connecticut, but participants are nearly guaranteed to see them at Sachuest Point in Newport, Rhode Island, where a large percentage of the dwindling North American population spends the winter. Join us for a look at the harlequins and other winter ducks at the point, plus a tour of additional birding spots around Newport. A Snowy Owl is always a possibility, since they are almost always an annual winter event at Sachuest. The group will go to dinner at a local favorite eatery before heading home. Leader: Priscilla Wood. Members $85/Nonmembers $95.

Eagle and Osprey Boat Cruises
Saturdays and Sundays April 2016
Connecticut Audubon Society EcoTravel will again conduct numerous boat cruises to search for bird species wintering along the lower Connecticut River. Bald Eagle can be found along the lower river, a habitat that hosts a wintering population as well as nesting residents. Connecticut Audubon Society naturalists are on board the boat to assist in bird identification and share information about the Connecticut River and its natural history. The vessel has a heated cabin, restroom, and an open deck for optimal viewing. Tours last approximately three hours and depart Saturdays and Sundays in April. Call for dates and to reserve your spot. Children eight years old and over please. Enjoy the unique beauty of the Connecticut River! Makes a great holiday gift!   Call us at 860-767-0660.

 

Click Full Newsletter  for a printable version of our listings!

 

 

SEARCH FOR RARITIES

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.

 

 

 

 

Address

Connecticut Audubon Society EcoTravel
30 Plains Road
PO Box 903
Essex, CT 06426
800-996-8747
860-767-0660

Andrew Griswold, Director
agriswold@ctaudubon.org

Priscilla Wood,
EcoTravel Assistant
pwood@ctaudubon.org

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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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