Connecticut Audbon Society


EcoTravel Day Trips

Swallow Boat Cruises for 2022

Swallow Cruises       
Sunday, September 4, 11, 18, 25, 2022 

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. Also enjoy round trip transportation to the boat from a historic steam train. 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). Returns to the dock at approximately 8:30pm.

September 4    SOLD OUT!

September 11   SOLD OUT! 

September 18   SOLD OUT!

September 25  SOLD OUT!

Call to be put on the Wait List and for early notification for next year. 860-767-0660.

Click here for a printable version of our Full Newsletter.

Classic Day Trips

A tried-and-true experience! If you’ve always wanted to travel with EcoTravel, this is a 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. Some trips can be followed in your personal vehicle as a Self-Drive Trip.

To sign up for a trip, please call the office at (860) 767-0660.


Migrant Sparrow Search
Wednesday, October 12     8 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Each fall, bird diversity in Connecticut increases. As migration gets underway, our summer sparrow breeders are joined by species such as White-throated, White-crowned, Nelson’s, and more. Join us as we scour the coastline, in search of lingering warblers, large flocks of sparrows, and other species. Open meadows will be our destinations of choice, as the grasses provide ample food for a multitude of seed eating species. If we’re lucky, a rare Clay-colored or Lark sparrow may appear! Welcome in fall with this adventure.
Leader: Matt Bell.
Fee: $110. Members: $95.

Concord and Walden Pond
Friday, October 28     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. He believed in living deliberately, practicing simplicity, and exploring new ideas for positive change. 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: $100. Members: $85.


Autumn in Litchfield Hills
Thursday, November 3     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: $100. Members: $85.


Coastal Birding Holiday
Wednesday, December 7     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! Meal is not included in price.
Fee: $90. Members: $75.


Block Island Day Trip
Friday, January 6     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: $170. Members: $155. Ferry fees included.

Shawangunk Owls
Saturday, January 14     12 p.m. – 8 p.m.
When the winter months get long and tiring, join us on an adventure to Shawangunk National Wildlife Refuge in New York as we search for Short-eared Owls, Northern Harriers, and other winter specialities. 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: Matt Bell.
Fee: $100. Members: $85.

Harlequins of Newport
Thursday, January 19     9 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Harlequin Duck, the fashion plate of the winter seas, is a rare sight in Connecticut. However, travelers are nearly guaranteed to see some at Sachuest Point in Rhode Island, where a large percentage of the dwindling North 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. Meal not included.
Leader: Jim Sherwonit.
Fee: $100. Members: $85.


Birding the Rhode Island Coast
Wednesday, February 8     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: $100. Members: $85.



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

Click here for a printable version of our Full Newsletter.




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