Connecticut Audbon Society


EcoTravel Day Trips

Annual Lighthouse Cruise

Eastern Long Island Sound Lighthouse Cruise
Sunday, October 13, 2024
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 13  

Or call us at 860-767-0660.

Eagle/Osprey Boats May 2024

Image Andy Morffew.

Saturday, May 4, 2024   
10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

PLEASE NOTE: The Becky Thatcher is undergoing its 5-year Coast Guard inspection. Date and/or departure times may change depending on circumstances out of our control.

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: $55 for members and nonmembers.

 For reservations, click here:

MAY 4 – 10 a.m.     

MAY 4 – 2 p.m.   


Swallow Boat Cruises for 2024

Swallow Cruises      
Sunday, September 1, 8, 15, 22, 2024

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 1        Click Here for Reservations

September 8         Click Here for Reservations

September 15        Click Here for Reservations

September 22     Call for availability. 


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.


April 2024

Ducks of Jamaica Bay      NEW DATE
Saturday, April 20  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.

Early Spring Migrants
Thursday, April 25  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.

May 2024

Annual Lyme Loop
Thursday, May 9  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: $90. Members: $75.

Wood-Warblers of Cockaponset State Forest
Thursday, May 16  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      WAIT LIST
Saturday, May 18  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 the boreal breeding grounds. Times may change depending on the spring ferry schedule.
Leader: Matt Bell.
Fee: $130. Members: $115.

Connecticut Audubon’s Croft Preserve
Sunday, May 26  6 a.m. – 2 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 American 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: $100. Members: $85.

June 2024

Connecticut Audubon’s Bafflin Sanctuary
Saturday, June 1  6 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Experience the rural beauty of Connecticut’s “Quiet Corner” as we visit the Center at Pomfret, which serves as the gateway to the adjoining 700-acre Bafflin Sanctuary with its vast rolling meadows, forest, stream, and fertile grassland habitats. Bring a picnic lunch and binoculars, and dress for the walk. This special preserve is home to breeding Bobolink, a species of Special Concern in the state.
Leader: Matt Bell.
Fee: $100. Members: $85.

Rhode Island’s Woodlands
Wednesday, June 12  6 a.m. – 2 p.m.
With over 14,000 acres of mostly forested land, Arcadia Management Area is Rhode Island’s largest recreational area. With miles of trails to explore, this little-birded corner of the state is ripe for discovery! Search for breeding warblers, thrushes, and other neotropical migrants as they defend their territory and begin to lay eggs. Other destinations may include George B. Parker Woodland Wildlife Refuge and Maxwell Mays Wildlife Refuge, properties owned and managed by the Audubon Society of Rhode Island.
Leader: Matt Bell.
Fee: $110. Members: $95.

August 2024

Late Summer Whale Watch
Saturday, August 31  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 boat ticket.

September 2024

Paddling Great Island
Thursday, September 5  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. 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. Kayaks may be available to rent for an additional fee.

Long Island Shorebirds
Saturday, September 7  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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