Connecticut Audbon Society
Center at Fairfield

Coastal Center at Milford Point

Coastal Center Programs & Events

Due to Covid-19, participants of outdoor programs are to practice physical distancing and may be required to wear masks (subject to change); for indoor programs, participants are to practice physical distancing and wear masks.
The Center building is open (masks are required while inside the building).

 

Ongoing Programs:

  • Distance Learning: Science in Nature: Bring the excitement and learning of our Science in Nature programs to your classroom with these live, virtual programs. Click HERE for program brochure.
  • Field Trips for Home Learning Groups: Enrich your home learning group by taking a field trip to the Center at Fairfield for hands-on, outdoor, environmental programs. Click HERE for program brochure. 
  • In-person Programs at the Coastal Center, your school or local park. Click HERE for program brochure
  • For more school program information click HERE
  • Birthday Parties: Look no further! The Coastal Center at Milford Point is the perfect place to celebrate your child’s birthday with an outdoor nature exploration program. Currently all birthday parties are held outdoors. For details click here.  To schedule a birthday party please contact Louise Crocco at 203-878-7440 ext. 502 or via email:  lcrocco@ctaudubon.org
  • Girl Scout Programs: Our programs are designed to help scouts earn their badges and learn about the natural world around them. For details click here. 
  • Cub Scout Programs: Our  programs are designed to help scouts earn their badges and learn about the natural world around them. For details click here.
  • Birding 101 Programs
    •  Our bird focused virtual learning programs (via Zoom) are ideal for libraries, senior centers, scout troops and more, they can also be tailored to meet your specific audience needs.  Choose one program or select a few to create a series. Program topics: What Makes a Bird a Bird?, Woodpeckers in Your Backyard, Backyard Birds, Birdfeeding & Nuisance Animals, Nesting Boxes for Birds.  For more information click here. To schedule a program please contact Louise Crocco at 203-878-7440 ext. 502 or via email:  lcrocco@ctaudubon.org

 

Coastal Center at Milford Point – Big Sit! Update

The final bird count is in!  

Our birding team, B.W. Surf Scopers, participated in yet another The Big Sit! competition on Sunday, October 10, 2021. The core members Frank Gallo, Jim Dugan, Patrick Dugan, and Frank Mantlik were grateful for the participation by birders Tom Murray and Stefan Martin. We started at 4:37 a.m., birded over 14 hours straight, then quit at 7 p.m. We tallied 82 species.

Unfortunately, the weather was less than ideal. While the temperatures were seasonable 58-64F, it was mostly cloudy and humid, the winds were strong from the ENE (10-23 mph) all day, and it rained 11:45 a.m. -1:30 p.m. The tide was exceptionally high (3 p.m.), flooding the salt marsh and washing over the road and the sandbar. To read more including ebird list and photos click here 

If you’ve already supported our wonderful Big Sit team, we thank you. And if you haven’t yet donated to this fundraiser, please consider doing so and help us reach our goal!

So far we’ve raised $6484 and are closing in on our goal of $7000!

We cannot do this without you, and we thank you in advance for your generosity!

Your generous support helps us sustain our important, far-reaching, education and conservation efforts

Click here to help the Coastal Center by making a Big Sit donation.

The Big Sit Platform, October 10, 2021

The Big Sit 2021 birders: Patrick Dugan, Frank Mantlik, Jim Duggan and Frank Gallo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NEW! SCHOOL DAY OFF FUN – Election Day

Tuesday, November 2, 2021    
9:30 a.m.  –  1 p.m.
For children in grades 1-4

Join us for a morning of fun and adventure at the Coastal Center.  We’ll explore the beach, marsh, and woodland habitats of Milford Point.  Meet our education animals and vote for your favorite. Create a unique work of art and make a treat for our animal friends while learning what we can do to help wildlife.

Most of this program time will be spent outdoors, however some time may be spent inside.  Participants are required to wear masks indoors. Masks are optional but suggested for outdoor activities when physical distancing is not possible.

For children in grades 1-4.
Group is limited to 12 participants. Minimum of 6 participants for program to run.
This is a drop-off program. Pre-registration required.

Members $55, Non-members $65.
REGISTER HERE

A waiver must be completed and returned to our office manager before the program date.

Food & Water:Please bring refillable water bottle & nut-free snack & lunch.No food will be provided.
Clothing:
Please dress for the weather and wear clothes that can get dirty/muddy. We suggest play clothes, jackets, sneakers & boots for watery explorations. Rain jackets – if it rains, we will still go outdoors.
Sunblock & bug spray:apply before arriving at the building.
This program is at the Coastal Center, 1 Milford Point Road, Milford, CT. 

 

 

FALL BIRD WALKS AT THE COASTAL CENTER    

Thursday, November 4
Friday, November 12

8 – 10 a.m.                                                                                

Bird walks at the Coastal Center feature a stop on the beach over-looking the marsh-lined lagoon.

 Search for migrating shorebirds, waterfowl, and other species, as we visit the saltmarsh, the shoreline, our gardens, and wooded areas during this bird walk through the habitats of the Coastal Center at Milford Point with Stefan Martin, Connecticut Audubon’s habitat steward. Situated on Long Island Sound at the mouth of the Housatonic River, Milford Point is an enormously important IBA site (Important Bird Area) that provides essential habitat and includes sites for breeding, wintering and migrating birds. 
The program is 100% outdoors. Please wear appropriate outdoor gear, sturdy, closed-toe footwear, and bring water, apply sunblock and bug spray before arriving. Participants are required to practice physical distancing, masks are required when distancing is not possible. 

All levels of birders are welcome. This program is for adults only. Group is limited to 10 participants. Please bring binoculars and spotting scopes if you have them. These walks may be cancelled or postponed due to adverse weather.  Participants will be notified via email.

Members $20, Non-members $25. Pre-registration required. 

A waiver must be completed and emailed to our office manager before the program date.
Registration closes at
8 p.m. the night before the program.

Thursday, November 4, click here to register
Friday, November 12,  click here to register

 

 

Nature Through the Seasons Guided Walks

New to nature? Seasonal changes abound at the Coastal Center.  Join our teacher-naturalists for small group guided walks exploring what’s  happening at Milford Point through the fall. Take your pick of walks with a specific theme or a once a month seasonal nature walk. While these programs are designed for those new to nature, all levels are welcome.  

These programs are outdoors. Participants are required to practice physical distancing, masks are suggested when distancing is not possible. Please wear appropriate outdoor gear (jackets/sweaters), sturdy footwear, and bring water; apply sunblock, and bug spray, if desired, before arrival.  We will be walking or standing, often over uneven surfaces. Benches are available for seating at the garden and the observation platforms. 
A walk may be cancelled or postponed due to adverse weather.  Participants will be notified via email. 

Group is limited to 10 participants. Please bring binoculars if you have them. 

A waiver must be completed and returned to our office manager before the program date.
These programs are at the Coastal Center, 1 Milford Point Road, Milford, CT.  

October Nature Walk
Saturday, October 30
9:30 – 11 a.m. 
For our monthly seasonal walk, we’ll visit the marsh and meander our way through the woodland before heading to the shoreline of Long Island Sound. Along the way we’ll talk about the plants, birds, and wildlife of the area, including the many ways plants and animals are connected and discover the changes that occur throughout the seasons.
Members $15, Non-members $20. Pre-registration required. 
Click here to register 

November Nature Walk
Saturday, November 13
9:30 – 11 a.m. 
For our monthly seasonal walk, we’ll visit the marsh and meander our way through the woodland before heading to the shoreline of Long Island Sound. Along the way we’ll talk about the plants, birds, and wildlife of the area, including the many ways plants and animals are connected and discover the changes that occur throughout the seasons.
Members $15, Non-members $20. Pre-registration required. 
Click here to register 

The Salt Marsh from Fall into Winter  
Saturday, November 20 
9:30 – 11 a.m. 
Explore the two salt marsh ecosystems at Milford Point with our teacher-naturalist. Discover why Fiddler Crabs, Osprey, Ribbed Mussels, egrets, ducks, and more call the salt marsh home. Learn about the variety of ecosystem services a salt marsh provides and the importance of salt marshes to coastal communities. 
Members $15, Non-members $20. Pre-registration required. 
Click here to register 

Backyard Birding Walk
Saturday, December 4 
9:30 – 11 a.m. 
There’s a diverse community of birds to be found in our backyards even in the winter.  Spend some time with our teacher-naturalist learning the field marks that will help you identify the birds most likely to in your backyard as well as foods they like to eat and their unique behaviors. We will cover the ins and outs of bird feeding. 
Members $15, Non-members $20. Pre-registration required. 
Click here to register 

December Nature Walk
Saturday, December 11 
9:30 – 11 a.m. 
For our monthly seasonal walk, we’ll visit the marsh and meander our way through the woodland before heading to the shoreline of Long Island Sound. Along the way we’ll talk about the plants, birds, and wildlife of the area, including the many ways plants and animals are connected and discover the changes that occur throughout the seasons.
Members $15, Non-members $20. Pre-registration required.  
Click here to register 

 

BEGINNER WATERCOLOR CLASS SERIES AT THE COASTAL CENTER

THIS PROGRAM IS SOLD OUT

Sundays:   
October 24, 31, November 7, 14, 21, December 5 (No class Sunday, November 28)
1:30 – 3:00 p.m.

With fall upon us and winter soon to come, it is a wonderful time to be at the Coastal Center surrounded by the beauty of nature.  Jeanne Board Fayumi, your instructor, has designed this 6-session watercolor class for beginners, but others are welcome to attend. 

The series will focus on learning how to draw and paint birds easily, as well as create a background appropriate to that bird species. Students will learn about natural history illustration, specifically birds, as well as learning about many different watercolor products, tools and techniques, and some easy fundamentals of drawing and painting nature.  Appropriate for ages 18 and older. 
The class fee includes all drawing and watercolor materials. Participants should bring a smock or an old shirt.
This program may be held both indoors and outdoors (weather permitting). Masks are mandatory while inside the building.
Class size limited to 12 adults.  Minimum enrollment of 6 participants for program to run. 

Members $100; Non-members $140

A waiver must be completed and returned to lcrocco@ctaudubon.org before the program date.
This program is at the Coastal Center, 1 Milford Point Road, Milford, CT. 

 

PURPLE MARTIN COLONY – 2021 SUMMARY

Martins perching on June 26, 2020. Photo © Frank Mantlik

PURPLE MARTIN COLONY – 2021 SUMMARY
Connecticut Audubon Society
Coastal Center at Milford Point
September 3, 2021

The Purple Martin colony at the Coastal Center had a very successful nesting season. The nest gourds were installed April 2, and the first returning “scout”,
a male, was seen April 15. By the end of April, 25 Martins were counted. The first nests were started mid-May, and the first eggs were laid around June 1. The number of active nests grew to 44 by June 25. A total of 191 eggs were laid, the first chicks hatched about
June 15, and the first few chicks fledged about July 8.

On July 16, our team (augmented by Milan Bull, Deidra Wallin, and Chris Cerillo) assisted CT DEEP biologists in banding 86 chicks – with federal numbered aluminum and orange-colored leg bands – which were then returned to their respective nests. This is one of the largest Purple Martin colonies in Connecticut.

Overall, an estimated 120 chicks fledged (the last one fledged on or about August 1). The adult and young Purple Martins are well on their way to their wintering territory in the Amazon River basin of South America. Have a safe journey, and we will see many of you back in Milford next spring!

Thanks to all the staff and volunteers who helped with this project, including conducting weekly nest checks, and maintaining and cleaning the 71 gourds: Stefan Martin, Milan Bull, Kat Gillis, John Mager, Lori Romick, George Amato, Gilles Carter, and Pam Landry.
Thanks also to all the people who made a donation by adopting one or more gourds. Your support makes this important project possible. 

Frank Mantlik
Coastal Center Advisory Board Member
Milford Purple Martin Team Leader

Purple Martin Nest Check © Frank Mantlik

Purple Martin parents waiting 7/16/2021. © Frank Mantlik

CT DEEP Purple Martin banding tent at the Coastal Center @Frank Mantlik

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nesting season is finished for this year but please watch for updates next spring about how you can play a direct role in conservation by adopting a Purple Martin gourd.

Your adoption will help maintain the structures and support the staff effort to monitor and check the nests each week — essential tasks for protecting Purple Martins.

Purple Martins are completely dependent on human-made structures, either boxes or gourds, for their survival.

This species was listed as “threatened” in Connecticut until about six years ago. Because of its increasing population, largely the result of the careful management of colonies, its status was changed to “special concern.” 

The team at work checking, cleaning and keeping records at the colony. Photo © Frank Mantlik

Purple Martins have declined in many areas nationwide, including Connecticut and New England. According to the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, competition with invasive House Sparrows and Starlings for nesting space, and pesticides poisoning their food supply are contributors to their decline.

Purple Martins are beautiful, much-admired songbirds, and these popular swallows are sought after as backyard birds all across the U.S., particularly in the south and east. They feed only on flying insects. They are often mistakenly thought to control mosquitoes. That’s not quite true. They feed on a much wider variety of insects including dragonflies, which themselves feed on mosquitoes.

Purple Martins are not easy to attract, requiring certain habitat and landscape conditions, usually open areas near water, but once a colony is established, they will return every year to breed and raise their young. 

 

Naturalist Training Program

Photo by Nancy Moon

THIS PROGRAM IS SOLD OUT

Thursdays: September 9 through October 28
10 a.m. – 2 p.m.*
*The Birdcraft class will be from 8 – 11 a.m.

The Naturalist Training Program provides classroom and field training over the span of eight weeks. This training program prepares adults of all experience levels to become naturalists in their communities and to contribute to environmental education and conservation efforts through volunteer service.

Classes are taught by field experts, including Connecticut Audubon’s Executive Director, Patrick Comins, and Director of Conservation, Milan Bull. Some of the topics include:

  • Bird Banding Demonstration and Field Study
  • Geology of Connecticut
  • Habitats and Ecosystems
  • Herpetology
  • The History and Operations of Connecticut Audubon
  • Mammals of Southwestern Connecticut
  • Marine Ecosystems
  • Plant Identification

After completing the classes, you will be required to contribute 10 hours of volunteer time within the year following the training, and you will be included in our volunteer database. During the course of the program, you will learn about available volunteer opportunities and discuss with the coordinator what volunteer work best matches your interests. To complete the program, please expect to attend every class.

The cost is $260 for members and $315 for non-members (includes a one-year Connecticut Audubon membership). Note: This program has reached capacity.

Classes will take advantage of the diverse ecosystems of Connecticut Audubon’s Southwest Region Centers: Center at Fairfield and Birdcraft (located in Fairfield), and the Coastal Center at Milford Point. Participants will need to complete a waiver. Masks and social distancing will be required indoors; while outdoors, participants are to practice social distancing and may be required to wear masks (subject to change). Please bring water, a sun hat and apply sunblock and bug spray before arriving.

For more information, email Program Coordinator Colleen Noyes.

 

25th Anniversary Challenge

Join the 25thAnniversary Challenge! You can help us launch our next 25 years by donating any multiple of $25 in honor of our 25thAnniversary.

We also hope that you will post the link below to your social media pages.

Click here to make a Donation to the Coastal Center at Milford Point

As many of you know, the Coastal Center is a hidden gem located next to the Charles Wheeler Salt Marsh and Wildlife Management Area at the mouth of the Housatonic River.

For 25 years the Coastal Center at Milford Point has been a popular educational facility for children and adults, promoting awareness and fostering the preservation of Long Island Sounds ecosystem, birds and other wildlife inhabitants.

The Center now reaches thousands of school children annually with both on-site and outreach programs. Our summer camps, public programs and wildlife sanctuary serve as a resource for many statewide conservation efforts.

Thousands of visitors and birders come to the sanctuary year–round, with this year having record breaking numbers.

You made it possible for us to keep our grounds open when state parks were closed and we are committed to being here for you for years to come.

We need you now more than ever!

Your support has made amazing things happen at the Coastal Center over the past 25 years, and we have a lot more that we can do!

Click here to make a donation to the Coastal Center at Milford Point’s 25th Anniversary Challenge.

 

 

 

Birding 101 Programs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Enrich the offerings of your group or organization with our remote-learning programs (via Zoom). Ideal for libraries, scout troops, senior centers, and more. These programs can also be tailored to meet your specific audience needs.

What Makes a Bird a Bird? Discover the characteristics that make birds unique and different.
This program includes a PowerPoint presentation. Program fee: $165. Length: 60 minutes.

Woodpeckers in Your Backyard  Explore the woodpecker’s role in our back yard ecosystem, how to identify the species found in Connecticut and their physical characteristics and, if desired, how to attract these fascinating birds to your feeders. Our teacher/naturalist will share tips on dealing with nuisance woodpeckers.
This program includes a PowerPoint presentation. Program fee: $165. Length: 60 minutes.

Backyard Birds  Join our teacher-naturalist to learn the field marks that help you identify birds most likely to in your yard as well as fun facts about each one. Discover what they like to eat and their unique behaviors. Get tips on how to create a bird-friendly backyard. This program includes a PowerPoint presentation. Program fee: $165. Length: 60 minutes.

Bird Feeding & Nuisance Animals  Discover which birds are at our feeders and yours during different seasons, what they like to eat, and their unique behaviors. Learn what you can do to reduce nuisance animals at your feeders. This program includes a PowerPoint presentation. There will be samples of bird feeders and seed that can be used in your yard to attract birds.This program includes a PowerPoint presentation. Program fee: $165. Length: 60 minutes.

Nesting Bird Boxes  What do bluebirds, tree swallows, chickadees, and woodpeckers have in common? They’re cavity nesters. During this program, we’ll share information on how to select suitable nesting boxes for a variety of species, the proper placement of nesting boxes and how to attract birds and discourage predators to these new locations.This program includes a PowerPoint presentation. Program fee: $165. Length: 60 minutes.

For more information or to schedule a program please contact Carol Kratzman at ckratzman@ctaudubon.org

 

 

 

 

 

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