Connecticut Audbon Society
EcoTravel

EcoTravel

EcoTravel Day Trips

Swallow Boat Cruises for 2020


Swallow Cruises       
Sunday, September 20, 2020     Evening departure time approximately 3:30pm

Please Note: Due to COVID we have temporarily decreased our trip schedule to a single date
Witness the most spectacular avian event when during fall migration thousands of Tree Swallows congregate on the lower Connecticut River at sunset to settle in on a giant communal roost. Birds come from miles away, creating a ballet of synchronized flight before settling down to roost. 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 spectacular, 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 depart from Essex. Fee: $45. Eight years of age and over.

September 20th

RESERVATIONS ARE NOT REFUNDABLE. 

To Register for Day Trips other than the boat trips, call us at
860-767-0660 or email us at ecotravel@ctaudubon.org with the name of the trips you are interested in joining. 

Click Here for our Full Newsletter.

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Self-Drive Day Trips
Classic Day Trips
Boat Trips

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Self-Drive Day Trips

Helen Carlson Wildlife Sanctuary
Wednesday, August 12 7 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Once a bog where cranberries grew for over 3,000 years, this 19-acre sanctuary in Portland is owned by the Mattabeseck Audubon Society. An approximately 3-mile trail leads along the outer edge of the pond, and a recently built observation platform allows for a peaceful meditation while hoping to catch a glimpse of the resident beavers. Migration has begun, so we’ll keep our eyes pealed for species that may have recently arrived. If time allows, we may also spend some time exploring Mesomasic State Forest, which borders the property.
Estimated Distance: 3 miles
Fee: Members $85/Nonmembers $95

Sheepskin Hollow/Golet Farm Preserves
Wednesday, August 19 7 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Owned by the East Haddam Land Trust, both preserves encompass a wide variety of different habitats. Starting at Sheepskin Hollow, the trails meander through hardwood forest before boarding the edge of the shallow swamp which marks the headwaters of Roaring Brook. Golet Farm, as the name suggests, is home to former farmlands that over the years have turned into meadows, new growth forest, and wetlands. These two preserves are both underbirded, so take this chance to join us in contributing to citizen science!
Estimated Distance: 4 miles
Fee: Members $85/Nonmembers $95

Rock Spring Preserve
Wednesday, September 9 7 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Another underbirded preserve, Rock Spring is located in Scotland and owned by The Nature Conservancy. The trail leads past kettle ponds, geologic remnants of the once expansive glaciers that covered the state during the last Ice Age. A wide variety of trees can also be found in this mixed forest habitat. If time allows, a visit to James L. Goodwin State Forest, north of the preserve, will be included.
Estimated Distance: 3 miles
Fee: Members $85/Nonmembers $95

Babcock Pond Wildlife Management Area
Wednesday, September 23 7 a.m. – 12 p.m.
A State-owned Wildlife Management Area, Babcock Pond encompasses 1,524 acres of land along the East Haddam/Colchester border. With miles of trails to explore, there are unquestionably hidden wonders just waiting to be discovered by an intrepid nature lover. We’ll keep our eyes and ears open, and wander the trails to find birds and other wildlife that call this area home.
Estimated Distance: 5 miles
Fee: Members $85/Nonmembers $95

Classic Day Trips

(Day Trips include transportation from a central meeting spot)

 
Paddling Lord Cove
Thursday, July 30     10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Join Connecticut Audubon Society staff and Scott McRae of Soulful Sojourns as they lead a paddle around The Nature Conservancy’s Lord Cove Preserve. This sanctuary is accessible only by boat and from time to time hosts species uncommon in Connecticut, including King Rail and Least Bittern. Participants can bring their own kayak or canoe and PFD, or rent one for an additional cost. Swimmers only for this event.
Fee: Bring your own: $75. With rental: $95.

Historic Hudson Valley
Saturday, August 8     8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Enjoy exploring the Hudson Valley in search of recently fledged birds and more. Visit locations including Constitution Marsh Audubon Sanctuary, Shawangunk National Wildife Refuge, and other hidden gems of the Hudson Highlands. We’ll search for uncommon species such as Least Bittern, Cerulean Warbler, and Bobolink. If we’re lucky, we may even find a Golden-winged Warbler. Enjoy the final days of summer surrounded with beautiful scenery and great camaraderie!
Leader: Jim Sherwonit.
Fee: Members $95/Nonmembers $105.

Paddling Great Island Wildlife Management Area
Saturday, August 22     10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Join Connecticut Audubon Society staff and Scott McRae of Soulful Sojourns as they lead a paddle around Great Island Wildlife Management Area in Old Lyme to view Osprey and other birds of the marsh. Great Island provides paddling in secluded back channels, side rivers, and coves that parallel the lower Connecticut River near its mouth. Wind through 10-foot-tall marsh reeds enjoying late summer serenity. Participants can bring their own kayak or canoe and PFD, or rent one for an additional cost. Must be a swimmer to attend this event.
Fee: Bring your own: $75/with rental: $95.

Jamaica Bay Shorebirds
Saturday, September 12     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 $105.

Sparrows of Smith Richardson
Wednesday, October 7     8 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Connecticut Audubon’s Smith Richardson Preserve is one of the best places in the state to see multiple species of sparrows as they head south towards their wintering grounds. Species we can see include White-crowned, White-throated, Lincoln’s, Song, Swamp, and Chipping, along with potential rarities such as Clay-colored and Lark sparrows. Other migrants can be expected. It’s a great way to welcome fall!
Leader: Matt Bell.
Fee: Members $95/ Nonmembers $105.

Fishers Island: Hawks and More
Friday, October 23     9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
October is an excellent time of year to witness hawks migrating over 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 hawks and songbirds of all kinds on their southerly migration.
Leader: Matt Bell.
Fee: Members $95/ Nonmembers $105.

Autumn in Litchfield Hills
Thursday, November 5      8 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Enjoy some of New England’s most charming towns and natural preserves. We’ll cross a covered bridge, enjoy a nature walk along the Appalachian Trail and Housatonic River, picnic at Kent Falls, and meander along the Connecticut Wine Trail past pristine farms, lakes, and forests.
Leader: Matt Bell.
Fee: Members $85/Nonmembers $95.

Coastal Birding Holiday
Wednesday, December 9     11 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Join Andy Griswold, EcoTravel Director and expert birder, for an annual favorite as your birding group searches for early winter migrants and coastal birds from Madison to Groton. After this pre- holiday adventure, your group will stop for dinner at one of the fine eateries in the area. Bring a friend to help kick off the holiday season!  
Fee: Members $75/Nonmembers $85.
Meal is not included in price.

Block Island Day Trip
Saturday, January 23     8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
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.

Harlequins of Newport
Thursday, January 28     9 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Harlequin Duck, the fashion plate of the winter seas, is a rare sight in Connecticut, but travelers are nearly guaranteed to see some at Sachuest Point in Rhode Island, where a large percentage of the American population spends the winter. Look for Harlequins and other winter ducks at the point, and take a tour of additional spots around Newport. Stop for dinner at a favorite local eatery before heading home.
Leader: Jim Sherwonit.
Fee: Members $85/Nonmembers $95.
Meal is not included in price.

Birding the Rhode Island Coast
Wednesday, February 3     9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Spend the day cruising the Rhode Island coast, visiting Charlestown Breachway and Napatree Point. Take the opportunity to see this summertime destination without the tourists. These two locations are always full of birdlife.
Leader: Andy Griswold.
Fee: Members $85/Nonmembers $95.

Milford Point Shorebirds
Saturday, February 6     8 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Milford Point 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 Buntings or a Harbor Seal! Stops at other winter birding sites can be expected. Make sure to be on the lookout for the out-of-the-ordinary!
Leader: Jim Sherwonit.
Fee: Members $75/Nonmembers $85.

Shawangunk Owls
Saturday, February 27     12 p.m. – 8 p.m.
When the winter months get long, join us on an adventure to Shawangunk National Wildlife Refuge in New York as we search for Short-eared Owl, Northern Harrier, and other winter specialties. If we’re lucky, we may even find a rare Gyrfalcon! Sundown is the best time to view these beautiful birds as they bounce over the open grassland.
Leader: Andy Griswold.
Fee: Members $85/Nonmembers $95.

Birding the North Fork
Wednesday, March 10     7 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Enjoy a trip to the North Fork of Long Island, New York, to enjoy the spectacle of large numbers of wintering waterfowl as they begin to move north with the coming spring. On the ferry ride across, look for alcids, gulls, and more. Take in the north tip of Long Island before tourist beach season begins. If you’ve always wanted to explore Eastern Long Island, you don’t want to miss this opportunity! There might even be a stop at one of the local vineyards.
Leader: Andy Griswold.
Fee: Members $155/Nonmembers $165.
All ferry fees included.

Boat Trips

Swallow Cruise
Sunday, September 20     3:30 p.m. departure.
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. Eight years of age and over.
Reserve now! Trips sell out quickly. Call 860-767-0660.
Or reserve online at www.ctaudubon.org/ecotravel and then click on Day Trips.
A GREAT GIFT IDEA!

Eagle and Osprey Cruise
Saturday, April 24, 2021     10 a.m. and 2 p.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!

For Gift Certificates: 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!

 

 

 

 

 

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