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.

Eagle/Osprey Boats May 2023 – DATE AND TIME CHANGE!

Image Andy Morffew.

Saturday, May 6, 2023    DATE AND TIME CHANGE!
9 a.m. and 12 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 at 10am and 2pm from Eagle Landing State Park in Haddam. Appropriate for children eight years old and over. Enjoy the beauty of the Connecticut River in spring!
Fee: $45 for members and nonmembers.

 For reservations, click here:

MAY 6 – 9 a.m.      SOLD OUT! CALL 860-767-0660 to CHECK AVAILABILITY. 

MAY 6 – 12 p.m.    SOLD OUT! CALL 860-767-0660 to CHECK AVAILABILITY. 


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 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.
Fee: $55 Members/Nonmembers

Click on the date below to make your reservation!

September 8

September 10

September 17

September 24


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.


Early Spring Migrants
Thursday, April 27     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: $90. Members: $75.


Central Park in Spring
Saturday, May 6     6:30 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Located in the heart of New York City, Central Park is also a well-known birding destination. With little green space in the surrounding area, migrants drop into the park after a night of exhausted flying. Visit the city by train, and then enjoy a mile-long walk to the park down 5th Avenue. Search for recently arrived warblers and other species welcoming spring back. Departure will be from New Haven.
Leader: Jim Sherwonit.
Fee: $100. Members: $85. Train tickets are not included in the cost of the trip.

Annual Lyme Loop
Thursday, May 11     6 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Travel through Lyme and Nehantic State Forest in search of neotropical migrants. The habitats of the state forest include 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: $90. Members: $75.

Wood-Warblers of Cockaponset State Forest
Thursday, May 18     6 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Cockaponset State Forest, named after a Native American chief 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: $90. Members: $75.

Fishers Island: Spring Migration
Monday, May 22     6 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 boreal breeding grounds. Meeting place is Westbrook or New London. Times may change depending on the spring ferry schedule.
Leader: Matt Bell.
Fee: $130. Members: $115.

Hunt for the Golden-winged Warbler
Saturday, May 27     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 all 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: $110. Members: $95.

Connecticut Audubon’s Croft Preserve
Monday, May 29     6 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Located in Goshen, Connecticut Audubon’s Croft Preserve is within one of the largest continual forest blocks in the state. The fantastic mix of habitats found throughout the preserve is home to uncommon and rare breeding species, including Ruffed Grouse and Northern Goshawk. Since the property is managed primarily for wildlife, the trails are steep and challenging to navigate.
Leader: Matt Bell.
Fee: $100. Members: $85.


Selden Island Boat Cruise and Hike
Tuesday, June 20     8:30am – 2:30pm
With EcoTravel’s naturalists, take a boat cruise on the Connecticut River to Selden Island for a morning hike and midday picnic. Selden Island is the largest island in Connecticut at 607 acres, both it and the river rich in history. The trip provides the opportunity to learn about local botany, geology, and ornithology, and perhaps you’ll be lucky enough to see some of the river’s resident Bald Eagles en route.
Fee: $110. Members: $95.

Audubon’s Chaney Sanctuary
Friday, June 23     7 a.m. – 3 p.m.
New and old members alike, come visit some of our lesser-known statewide properties. The beautiful Chaney sanctuary is 233 acres of varied habitat nestled in the hills of Montville. Participants will look at its geologic and farmland history, then travel on to the 65-acre Haagenson Preserve in East Haddam featuring views of the Connecticut River and Salmon River tributary.
Leader: Matt Bell.
Fee: $100. Members: $85.


Ripley Waterfowl Conservancy
Saturday, July 16     7 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Located in Litchfield, the Ripley Waterfowl Conservancy is one of the largest collections of birds in North America. With over 80 species, the center specializes in breeding rare and endangered species to help encourage genetic diversity. Join us for a guided tour of the Conservancy, learning more about the birds and the history. Enjoy rare and exciting birds up close, including Nene and Baer’s Pochard!
Leader: Matt Bell.
Fee: $110. Members: $95.

Summer Whale Watch
Saturday, July 29     8 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Head to Plymouth, Massachusetts, to catch a Whale Watch, looking for Humpback, Fin, and Minke whales. Sightings last year were excellent and we hope for similar results this year. There’s also the chance of seeing various other sea animals including Basking Sharks and Atlantic White-sided Dolphins. We’ll be looking for some of the not-so-easily-seen pelagic bird species, including Great and Sooty shearwaters, and Wilson’s Storm-Petrel. A few Cory’s and Manx shearwaters are also possible, as well as jaegers, Northern Gannets, and various terns.
Leader: Matt Bell.
Fee: $170. Members: $155.Includes transportation and a Whale Watch ticket.


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: 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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