Connecticut Audbon Society


EcoTravel Day Trips

EcoTravel 125th Anniversary Celebration

Eastern Long Island Sound Lighthouse Cruise
Saturday, October 21, 2023
3-6:30 p.m.

Board the Celia Ann, a 143-foot catamaran, in New London for a tour of the Sound’s eastern lighthouses, including lights at Old Saybrook, Little Gull Island, Race Rock, Plum Island, and the famous Bug Light near Greenport, New York. The vessel has two comfortably appointed interior passenger areas in addition to an full outdoor sundeck. Interior areas include panoramic windows to enhance viewing. The vessel has lots of space and cruises very smoothly on its double hull. The addition of a computer-controlled ride control system enhances passenger comfort. Included in the celebration are catered hors d’oeuvres, interesting narration, complimentary parking, and a cash bar. Call or book your reservation on our website.
Fee: $75. Reserve early!

For reservations, click here:

October 21  

Or call us at 860-767-0660.

Swallow Boat Cruises for 2023

Swallow Cruises       
Friday, September 8, 2023
Sunday, September 10, 17, 24, 2023

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 Connecticut Audubon naturalists and journey from Essex, CT first by train and then by boat to see the awe-inspiring display. Enjoy picturesque scenery from the 70-foot Mississippi-style river boat’s three decks. Food, a full bar, and restrooms are available 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 vary in departure times from 3:30-5:00 p.m depending upon the date chosen (the later in the month, the earlier the departure time). The September 8 boat returns to the dock at approximately 8:30pm.
Fee: $55 Members/Nonmembers.

CLICK ON THE DATE below to make your reservation!

September 8        WAIT LIST ONLY! Call (860) 767-0660 to be put on the Wait List. 

September 10      WAIT LIST ONLY! Call (860) 767-0660 to be put on the Wait List. 

September 17       WAIT LIST ONLY! Call (860) 767-0660 to be put on the Wait List.

September 24      WAIT LIST ONLY! Call (860) 767-0660 to be put on the Wait List. 


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.


Paddling Great Island
Thursday, September 7     10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Join CAS staff 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. Wind through 10-foot-tall marsh reeds enjoying late summer serenity. Must be a swimmer to attend this event and bring your own kayak.
Fee: $110. Members: $95.

Long Island Shorebirds
Saturday, September 9     7 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Each fall, shorebirds flock to Long Island on their journey south. Large flocks gather both at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge and Jones Beach State Park, depending on the water levels. 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. Jones Beach is home to staging areas for hundreds of American Oystercatchers, ducks, and more! Join us as we enjoy the signs of fall.
Leader: Jim Sherwonit.
Fee: $110. Members: $95.


Sparrow Migration
Wednesday, October 18     8 a.m. – 2 p.m.
In October, sparrows begin to congregate in large numbers in grassy fields accross the state. One can expect to see nearly a dozen species of sparrows in mixed flocks together, feeding on seeds. We’ll explore areas throughout southeast Connecticut, searching for any rare migrants and seeing just how many sparrow species we can find. Time may be spent on the shoreline, looking for Nelson’s Sparrow and other coastal fall migrants.
Leader: Matt Bell.
Fee: $100. Members: $85.

Concord and Walden Pond
Friday, October 20     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: $110. Members: $95.


Autumn in Litchfield Hills
Thursday, November 2    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: $110. Members: $95.


Coastal Birding Holiday
Wednesday, December 6    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: $100. Members: $85.

January 2024

Shawangunk Owls
Saturday, January 13   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 Shore–eared Owls, Northern Harriers, 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: Matt Bell.
Fee: $110. Members: $95.

Harlequins of Newport
Thursday, January 18   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.
Leader: Jim Sherwonit.
Fee: $110. Members: $95.

February 2024

Birding the Rhode Island Coast
Wednesday, February 7   9 a.m. – 5 p.m
Spend the day cruising the Rhode Island coast, visiting Point Judith, 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: $110. Members: $95.

Hunt for Snowy Owls
Saturday, February 17   7 a.m. – 6 p.m
Snowy Owls are one of the most sought–after birds in New England during the winter months. During irruption years, it’s not uncommon for multiple birds to be found on coastlines throughout the region. Join us on an adventure to locate some of these tundra masters (observed from a safe and ethical distance). Locations may include Plum Island, Massachusetts or the south shore of Long Island.
Leader: Matt Bell.
Fee: $170. Members: $155.

March 2024

Birding the North Fork
Wednesday, March 9   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: $170. Members: $155All ferry fees are included in the cost.

Ducks of Jamaica Bay
Saturday, March 23  7 a.m. – 5 p.m
A popular spot for shorebirds in fall, Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge is great birding year round. In early April, waterfowl migration is underway and late stragglers and new arrivals of multiple species use the pools as a stopover on their way north. Join us as we scour the flocks for the rare and unusual, welcoming migration back with open arms.
Leader: Matt Bell.
Fee: $110. Members: $95.

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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