Connecticut Audbon Society
EcoTravel

EcoTravel

EcoTravel Day Trips

Eagle/Osprey Boats April 2021


Image Andy Morffew.

Saturday, April 24, 2021
10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
Sunday, April 25, 2021
10 a.m.
Connecticut Audubon Society EcoTravel will again offer boat cruises to search for Bald Eagle, Osprey, and other bird species migrating 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 share information about the Connecticut River, the birdlife, and natural history. The vessel has a heated cabin, restrooms, and three decks for optimal viewing. Tours are approximately three hours in length and depart at 10am and 2pm from Eagle Landing State Park in Haddam. Appropriate for children eight years old and over. Food and drink available on board. Enjoy the beauty of the Connecticut River in spring!
Fee: $45 for members and nonmembers.

April 25, 2021 10 a.m.

Call us for reservations at 860-767-0660.
RESERVATIONS ARE NOT REFUNDABLE. 

Self-Drive Day Trips

Our new trips in the COVID era, these Self-Drive offerings are early morning hikes to under-visited locations throughout eastern Connecticut. Hikes range from 3-5 miles, and aim to end before 12 p.m. Locations include properties owned by Connecticut Audubon, local land trusts, The Nature Conservancy, and more. A perfect chance to see what EcoTravel is all about!

March

East Haven/Branford Parks and Preserves
Wednesday, March 31     7 a.m. – 12 p.m.
While heavily populated areas, the towns of East Haven and Branford hold a collection of properties that allow everyone to escape the hustle and bustle of city life and reconnect with nature. Additionally, the Shoreline Greenway Trail, a 25-mile continuous path runs from Lighthouse Point in New Haven all the way to Hammonasset Beach State Park. In late March, migration is underway with blackbirds and ducks heading back north.
Estimated Hiking Distance: 5 miles.
Fee: Members $85/Nonmembers $95.

April

Pigeon Swamp Preserve, Lebanon
Wednesday, April 7     7 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Pigeon Swamp Preserve is a 135-acre property owned by Joshua’s Trust. Three miles of trails traverse this second-growth forest, which also contains a 40-acre marsh. The preserve is named for the now-extinct Passenger Pigeon, which once flocked to this area to feed on beech nuts. Check the pond for migrating ducks, and keep an eye out for any early migrants!
Estimated Hiking Distance: 3 miles.
Fee: Members $85/Nonmembers $95.

The Preserve, Essex
Wednesday, April 14     7 a.m. – 12 p.m.
This 968-acre hardwood preserve straddles the towns of Essex, Westbrook, and Old Saybrook. Sold by the Pequots in the 1600s, it was actively logged and farmed for nearly 300 years. Now, it plays an important roll as a stopover destination for neotropical migrants, along with being home to over fifty different species of breeding birds.
Estimated Hiking Distance: 5 miles.
Fee: Members $85/Nonmembers $95.

Westwoods Preserve, Guilford
Wednesday, April 21     7 a.m. – 12 p.m.
The largest recreational trail system in Guilford, Westwoods contains nearly 40 miles of trails spread across 1,200 acres. The diverse habitat includes marshes, an inland tidal lake, old growth forests, and multiple rock formations. With diverse habitant and winding trails, this under-birded area is ripe for discovery!
Estimated Hiking Distance: 5 miles.
Fee: Members $85/Nonmembers $95.

Oswegatchie Hills Nature Preserve, Niantic
Wednesday, April 28     7 a.m. – 12 p.m.
An important part of the Niantic River watershed, Oswegatchie Hills contains seven miles of trails spread throughout the property. Initially acquired in 2007, the preserve protects over 450 acres, including pitch pine and scrub oak, from continual housing development attempts. Glacial striations can be found on the property, remaining signs of the large ice sheets that once covered Connecticut.
Estimated Hiking Distance: 5 miles.
Fee: Members $85/Nonmembers $95.

May 

Palmer Taylor Preserve, Portland
Wednesday, May 5     7 a.m. – 12 p.m.
One of Middlesex Land Trust’s primary preserves, Palmer Taylor Preserves covers 90-acres and includes a historic barn. Consisting of large hay fields and open woodlands, the diverse habitat is ripe for discovering a wide variety of arriving migrant species. Who knows what spring will bring!
Estimated Distance: 3 miles.
Fee: Members $85/Nonmembers $95.

Old Lyme Parks and Preserves
Wednesday, May 19     7 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Join Jim Sherwonit as you explore some of his favorite birding spots just over the river from EcoTravel in Old Lyme. Champlain North and South Open Spaces are owned by the town and traverse reclaimed farm land. Champlain North is home to a 300-year-old white oak which is over sixteen feet in circumference! Other destinations may include Watch Rock Preserve, a 25- acre estuary owned by the Old Lyme Land trust located near the mouth of the Duck River.
Estimated Distance: 3 miles.
Fee: Members $85/Nonmembers $95.

Woodland Warbler Preserve, Salem
Wednesday, May 26     7 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Salem Land Trust’s newest property, the Woodland Warbler Preserve is just begging to be explored! With ridges and gorges containing diverse habitats, including vernal pools and wet woodlands, the chance to find dozens of species resting on their way north is reason alone to explore here. Come check out this little known, and rarely explored, hidden gem!
Estimated Distance: 4 miles.
Fee: Members $85/Nonmembers $95.

June

River to Ridgetop Preserves, Lyme
Wednesday, June 2     7 a.m. – 12 p.m.
These five contiguous preserves are jointly managed by The Nature Conservancy and Lyme Land Conservation Trust. With over 1200 acres to explore, the preserves are examples of nature’s resilience as these now forested lands were once farmlands used for grazing from the early 1700s to the 1800s. The land itself was shaped by the glacial ice sheets that covered Connecticut during the last Ice Age, melting only 15,500 years ago.
Estimated Distance: 5 miles.
Fee: Members $85/Nonmembers $95.

Bluff Head and Northwoods Preserve, Guilford
Wednesday, June 9     7 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Recently voted one of the most beautiful places in Guilford, Bluff Head is a remnant of molten rock that was lifted along fault lines over 200 million years ago. The trails that traverse this property highlight the difference in geology found to the west and east of the main fault line. To the west the primary rock is basalt and the trap rocks, while to the east is mostly gray schist that was deposited when Connecticut was covered by a tropical sea during the Jurassic.
Estimated Distance: 5 miles.
Fee: Members $85/Nonmembers $95.

Classic Day Trips

Our tried-and-true experience, if you’ve always wanted to travel with EcoTravel this is the great way to test the waters. These full-day trips visit locations across Southern New England, Eastern New York State, and Long Island, searching for birds and other natural phenomena. There’s no better way to meet the staff and guides!

Classic Day Trips include transportation from a central meeting spot.

January

Block Island Day Trip
Saturday, January 23     8 a.m. – 5 p.m.    CALL FOR NEW DATES!
Enjoy Block Island, Rhode Island, and the birds that inhabit it at a time of year when you have the place to yourself and the island spirit is easygoing. The tourists may have left, but the seasonal birds remain. Focus on winter specialties and the occasional pelagic bird. Travel by ferry from Point Judith and spend the day taking in the island’s birding hot spots, varied habitats, and stupendous ocean vistas.
Leader: Andy Griswold.
Fee: Members $155/Nonmembers $165.
All ferry fees included.

April

Woodcocks at Dusk
Thursday, April 15     2 p.m. – 9 p.m.
As spring approaches, a magnificent display begins. The American Woodcock is a shorebird that breeds in thickets and nearby clearings. Around sunset the males begin a unique display, launching nearly 200 feet into the air with calls and flight displays. Search for arriving migrants while waiting for sunset and the show to begin!
Leader: Andy Griswold.
Fee: Members $75/Nonmembers $85.

Early Spring Migrants
Thursday, April 22     6 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Late April is the beginning of the intense migration period 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 migrants to see them in nuptial plumage and listen to their spring songs. Trip departs from Essex.
Leader: Matt Bell.
Fee: Members $75/Nonmembers $85.

May

New York’s High Line
Saturday, May 1     8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
The High Line is a public park built on a historic freight rail line elevated above the streets of Manhattan’s West Side. The line was built in the 1930s as part of a massive public-private project that lifted freight 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 starting to sprout their colors.
Leader: Jim Sherwonit.
Fee: Members $95/Nonmembers $105.

Fishers Island: Spring Migration
Thursday, May 6     9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Spring is an excellent time of year to witness arriving migrants on this secluded New York island. Lying at the eastern entrance of Long Island Sound, Fishers Island is a connecting link between Rhode Island and Long Island that offers stopping places for a variety of songbirds on their journey north towards the boreal breeding grounds. Meeting place is Westbrook or New London.
Leader: Matt Bell.
Fee: Members $95/Nonmembers $105. 
Times may change depending on the spring ferry schedule.

Annual Lyme Loop
Friday, May 7     6 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Travel through Lyme and Nehantic State Forest in search of neotropical migrants. The habitats of the state forest includes wetlands, streams, and ponds—all excellent places for the morning chorus of warblers, vireos, and other songbirds. Focus will be on learning bird songs.
Leader: Andy Griswold.
Fee: Members $75/Nonmembers $85.

Wood-Warblers of Cockaponset State Forest
Wednesday, May 12     6 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Cockaponset State Forest, named after an Indian chief who’s buried in the Ponset section of Haddam, is the second largest forest in the state forest system, encompassing over 16,000 acres. It offers great habitat for migrating songbirds and provides for a busy morning of warblers, vireos, thrushes, and more.
Leader: Andy Griswold.
Fee: Members $75/Nonmembers $85.

Beginner Birding at Nehantic State Forest
Saturday, May 29     7 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Nehantic State Forest in Lyme is a fabulous place for beginners to be introduced to spring birding. This forest is a well-used stopover for migrating songbirds who will be showing off their colorful plumage and cheery songs. Learn skills needed for identifying birds by both eye and ear!
Leader: Matt Bell.
Fee: Members $75/Nonmembers $85.

June

Breeding Birds of Boston Hollow
Saturday, June 5     6 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Boston Hollow is both a geologically and biologically significant location within Connecticut. Located near Ashford, this ancient fault provides habitat for many migrants that typically breed farther north, including up to 17 species of warblers! Come explore the northeastern portion of the state as we search for migrant breeders and learn more about the geologic history of Connecticut.
Leader: Matt Bell.
Fee: Members $85/Nonmembers $95.

Hunt for the Golden-winged Warbler
Sunday, June 6     5:30 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Although just across the border in New York, Sterling Forest State Park is home to a wealth of species that are uncommon in Connecticut. Hooded, Cerulean, and Golden-winged warblers are fairly common breeding species at the site and should all be seen on this adventure. The expansive forest has a wealth of different habitats, making it a paradise for birders. Leader: Matt Bell.
Fee: Members $95/Nonmembers $110.
Connecticut Audubon’s Chaney Sanctuary
Friday, June 11     7 a.m. – 3 p.m.
New and old members alike, come visit some of our less-known statewide properties! The Chaney Sanctuary is 233 acres of varied habitat nestled in the hills of Montville. Participants will look at its geologic and farm land history, then travel on to the 65-acre Haagenson Preserve in East Haddam featuring views of the Connecticut River and Salmon River tributary. Many songbirds are on territory and beginning to nest.
Leader: Matt Bell.
Fee: Members $85/Nonmembers $100.
Connecticut Audubon’s Trail Wood
Saturday, June 12     7 a.m. – 3 p.m.
The former homestead of influential writer Edwin Way Teale and his wife Nellie, Trail Wood was entrusted to our care in 1993. It is here that Edwin wrote ten of his 27 books, including the 1966 Pulitzer Prize- winning Wandering Through Nature. The meandering trails and landmarks still hold the same names the Teales gave them. We’ll explore this hidden gem of Connecticut Audubon and search for breeding migrants.
Leader: Matt Bell.
Fee: Members $85/Nonmembers $100.
Berkshire Breeders
Saturday, June 19     6 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Spend the day in habitat that is home to the southernmost breeding range of some neotropical migrants, including warblers and vireos. Visit Skinner Park, which sits on a 200-million-year-old mountaintop surrounded by breathtaking views of four states and the winding Connecticut River below. Summit Mount Greylock for additional spectacular views. This area is one of the most picturesque sections of the river valley!
Leader: Matt Bell.
Fee: Members $95/Nonmembers $110.

July

Connecticut Audubon’s Croft Preserve
Friday, July 2     7 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Located in Goshen, Connecticut Audubon Society’s Richard G. Croft Memorial Preserve is within one of the largest continual forest blocks in the state. The fantastic mix of habitats found throughout is home to uncommon and rare breeding species, including Ruffed Grouse and Northern Goshawk. This property is managed primarily for wildlife, and as such the trails can be steep and challenging to navigate with no infrastructure in place.
Leader: Matt Bell.
Fee: Members $85/Nonmembers $100.

Hartford Audubon Sanctuaries
Wednesday, July 7     7 a.m. – 3 p.m.
North of Hartford, four sanctuaries are actively managed for bird habitat by Hartford Audubon Society. Ranging from cattail marshes and ponds to young forests on reclaimed farmland, the diversity of these little-known sanctuaries is just begging to be explored. Many birds will have young, so keep your eyes open!
Leader: Matt Bell.
Fee: Members $85/Nonmembers $100.

North Fork Wineries
Wednesday, July 14     8 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.
Back by popular demand! Join us on a trip to Long Island’s beautiful North Fork. Did you know that this area has over 30 vineyards? Visit two of our favorites, Duckwalk Vineyards and Osprey’s Dominion (of course). Take a tour of one or more of these vineyards and enjoy wine tastings as well as an introduction to the world of enology (the study of wines and wine-making). Other vineyards we hope to have time to visit include Lenz, Croteaux, and Paumanok.
Leader: Andy Griswold.
Fee: Members $155/ Nonmembers $170.
Times may change depending on ferry schedule.

Late Summer on the Cape
Tuesday, July 20     6 a.m. – 6 p.m.
In late summer, the young birds are out and about and adults are prepping to migrate. Spend a day exploring the southern shore of Cape Cod, from salt marsh to grasslands to hardwood forests. Birds will be plentiful as we adventure through the unique habitats that make up this highly popular destination.
Leader: Matt Bell.
Fee: Members $95/Nonmembers $110.

August

Coastal Connecticut
Saturday, August 7     7 a.m. – 4 p.m.
The birds that gather along the Connecticut shoreline each August are a sign that migration is underway and the winter months are close at hand. Shorebird numbers are rapidly increasing, and large flocks of terns are beginning to congregate off the coast. Adventure along the coastline in search of migrants fattening up before their continued southward push.
Leader: Matt Bell.
Fee: Members $95/Nonmembers $110.

September

Jamaica Bay Shorebirds
Saturday, September 11     7 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Jamaica Bay, located on western Long Island within Brooklyn and Queens, is one of the most important urban wildlife refuges, hosting a variety of habitats, including salt marsh, several fresh and brackish pools, and an open expanse of bay and islands, making this destination a fabulous location for shorebirds.
Leader: Matt Bell.
Fee: Members $95/Nonmembers $110.

Concord and Walden Pond
Saturday, September 25     8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Enjoy exploring Concord, Massachusetts, the village in which Henry David Thoreau grew up. Learn about Thoreau’s extraordinary insights into life, nature, and social responsibility. Thoreau’s writings inspired respect for nature and even, some consider, the birth of the conservation movement. After a guided tour of the Thoreau Farm (his birthplace), the group will have a picnic lunch at Walden Pond and enjoy a trail walk of the surrounding Walden Woods.
Leader: Jim Sherwonit.
Fee: Members $85/Nonmembers $100.

Boat Trips

Eagle and Osprey Cruise
Saturday, April 24, 2021     10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
Sunday, April 25, 2021     10 a.m.
Connecticut Audubon Society EcoTravel will again offer boat cruises to search for Bald Eagle, Osprey, and other bird species migrating 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 share information about the Connecticut River, the birdlife, and natural history. The vessel has a heated cabin, restrooms, and three decks for optimal viewing. Tours are approximately three hours in length and depart from Eagle Landing State Park in Haddam. Appropriate for children eight years old and over. Food and drinks available on board. Enjoy the beauty of the Connecticut River in spring!
Fee: $45 for members and nonmembers.
Reserve online or call us at  860-767-0660.
A MEMORABLE HOLIDAY GIFT!

Swallow Cruise
Sunday, September 5, 12, 19, 26
Witness one of the most spectacular avian events when thousands of Tree Swallows congregate on the lower Connecticut River at sunset to settle in on a giant communal roost during their fall migration. Birds come from miles away, creating a ballet of synchronized flight before settling down. Renowned ornithologist and artist Roger Tory Peterson wrote that “the tornadoes of Tree Swallows eclipsed any other avian spectacle I have ever seen.” Join naturalists as we journey first by steam train and then by boat to see the awe-inspiring display. Enjoy picturesque scenery from a 70-foot Mississippi-style river boat’s three decks. Food, a full bar, and restrooms are on board. If you take only one trip this fall, make sure it’s this one! Tours are about three and a half hours in length and range in departure from 3:30-5:00 p.m. (The later in the month, the earlier the departure time).
Fee: $45 for members and nonmembers. Eight years of age and over.
Reserve now! Trips sell out quickly. Call 860-767-0660.
A GREAT GIFT IDEA!

Rarity Expeditions

Have you ever wanted to search for a rare bird in a nearby state, but couldn’t find directions or were concerned about going alone? Here’s your chance to join EcoTravel’s Rarity Expeditions! We’ll provide the transportation, driver, pleasant company, experienced leadership, and logistical arrangements. Expeditions range from a full day of chasing to the possibility of a one night stay near the target bird. While there’s no guarantee the bird will be seen, the thrill of the chase and the camaraderie that comes with it make every trip an exciting experience!

Here’s how it works: first, use this form to sign on. Then, when a “bird of significance” is in the area, EcoTravel will contact you through text and email with the chance to join the adventure. You’ll have the option of coming along or waiting for the next big rarity. The fee will be determined by how far we’ll have to drive for each bird, and the number of people participating.

Wondering what a “bird of significance” is? The main targets will be species rare to North American, such as European Vagrants. Other species may include otherwise hard-to-see birds, including rare owls and regional species that are highly localized. For a list of species seen recently that fit the criteria, click here.

For Gift Certificates: 860-767-0660

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