Connecticut Audbon Society
The Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center

The Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center

Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center Programs & Events

Winter Waterfowl Walk

Greater Scaup, male in foreground.

Saturday, January 19, 9 – 11 a.m.
White Sands Beach, Old Lyme

Many species of waterfowl travel south during the winter, from their breeding grounds in Northern Canada, to the eastern seaboard of the United States. Scaup, Eiders, Scoters, and more make the Connecticut coast their winter home, and can be seen feeding off shore. Join us at the mouth of the Connecticut River to search for these winter species. Dress warm, and bring binoculars. 

$5 for members, $10 for non-members, register here.



Helping Birds in Winter

Wednesday, January 23, 5 – 6 p.m.
Wild Birds Unlimited, Niantic
Joint program with Wild Birds Unlimited

Harsh winter conditions provide numerous challenges to birds. From extreme cold and wet weather, to decreased daylight, those birds that don’t migrate to warmer climates face a decreased chance of survival. Finding food and staying warm are crucial during winter, and there are many ways we can help our feathered friends when the weather gets worse here in Connecticut. Come learn the ways you can help, at Wild Birds Unlimited in Niantic. This program is free, but we ask that you register. 

To register, email, or call 860-739-7302


Winter Nature Walk

Saturday, January 26, 9 – 11 a.m.
Rocky Neck State Park, East Lyme

Just because it’s cold and there’s snow on the ground doesn’t mean there isn’t anything going on outside! Brave the cold, and join one of our teacher-naturalists for a winter walk as we learn what is happening in nature as the mercury drops. Dress warm, and bring your binoculars.

$5 for members, $10 for non-members, register here.



Winter Waterfowl Walk

Red-throated Loon. Photo by Patrick Comins

Saturday, February 2, 9 – 11 a.m.
Mamacoke Island, New London
Joint program with the Connecticut College Arboretum

The section of the Thames River from Mamacoke Island to Smith Cove is one of the best spots in eastern Connecticut to see wintering waterfowl. The site includes three coves and two salt ponds that provide important habitat for a variety of ducks that spend the winter in Connecticut. Consequently this site, which is a natural area within the Connecticut College Arboretum, has been designated as an Important Bird Area by the National Audubon Society. During winter, the coves support several waterfowl species plus Bald Eagles, Pied-billed Grebes and American Coots. Join teacher-naturalist Joe Attwater from the Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center, and Robert Askins (Katharine Blunt Professor Emeritus of Biology) as we search for these wintering species. Dress for the weather. Scopes will be provided.

Free for CT Audubon and Arboretum members, $10 for non-members, register on the Connecticut College Arboretum site, here


Bird Feeders 101

Saturday, February 9, 1 – 3 p.m.
RTP Estuary Center, Old Lyme

This afternoon activity will cover everything you need to know about bird feeders, from how often you should clean them to what kind of seed different species prefer. While you’re here, make your own all-natural bird feeder to hang in your yard.

$3 for members; $5 for non-members; children under 4 free, register here



Great Backyard Bird Count

Informational Session
Tuesday, February 12, 6:30 – 7:30 p.m.
RTP Estuary Center, Old Lyme

Field Session
Saturday, February 16, 9 – 11 a.m.
Connecticut College Arboretum, New London
Joint program with Connecticut College Arboretum

Since 1998, people all over the world have participated in the annual Great Backyard Bird Count, the first citizen science project to collect wild bird data. Come learn about the history and background of the count, and how to conduct your own count, during our informational session at our center in Old Lyme. Following the informational session, we will conduct a field session later in the week at the Connecticut College Arboretum in New London, a designated important bird area by the National Audubon Society. Whether you are a seasoned birder or a novice, this is a great opportunity to learn how to identify and count birds in the wild, and be a part of a worldwide citizen project. This program is free, but we do ask that you register.

Register for the Information Session here

Register for the Field Session here


Owl Prowl

Wednesday, February 20 
5:30 – 6:30 p.m.

Watch Rock Preserve, Old Lyme


As most birds are settling down for the night, owls are just beginning their day. With a wide array of adaptations for being active when most of us are sleeping, owls are among the most interesting species in the bird world, and we have quite a few species here in Connecticut. Come learn about and search for these nocturnal hunters on a night hike through Watch Rock Preserve. Bring a headlamp or flashlight (preferably one with a red light setting) and binoculars, and bundle up! Appropriate for ages 10 and up.

$5 for members, $10 for non-members

Register for February 20 here


Birding Basics – 3/23/19

Saturday, March 23, 9 – 11 a.m.
Harkness Memorial State Park, Waterford

Adjacent to Long Island Sound, the marshes and open fields of Harkness Memorial State Park provide important habitats for numerous species of birds. Sea ducks and other waterfowl can be found off the coast, shorebirds forage on the beaches, and warblers and sparrows flit about the underbrush and reeds.

This program is free, register here


Vernal Pool Walk

Saturday, April 27, 2 – 4 p.m.
Connecticut College Arboretum, New London
Joint program with the Connecticut College Arboretum

Occurring seasonally, and with variable water levels, vernal pools are nonetheless important habitats for a variety of species. Many species of amphibians rely on these bodies of water for breeding, and they provide a source of food for birds such as ducks and egrets. They are also among the most endangered habitats on the planet, home to some of Connecticut’s endangered species. Vernal pools dot the Connecticut landscape in late winter and into spring. Join a teacher-naturalist from the Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center in Old Lyme, as we listen for frogs and look for egg masses in the Connecticut College Arboretum, home to numerous amphibian species. Appropriate for ages 10 and up.

$5 for members, $10 for non-members, register here


Planting for Pollinators

May 4, 10:30-11:30 A.M.
Henry Carter Hull Library, Clinton

Join us in the Children’s Garden at the Henry Carter Hull Library in Clinton. Learn about and plant items that will attract birds, bees, and butterflies. Participants will also be able to plant something to take home. Rain or shine.Program is free however registration is recommended.

Register on the library’s website.

Nature Prints

Saturday, June 29, 2 – 4 p.m.
Connecticut College Arboretum, Goodwin Natural Area, New London
Joint program with the Connecticut College Arboretum

Join John and Linda Sargent as well as a CAS Teacher- Naturalist for an afternoon of art in the Connecticut College Arboretum. John is an artist and art teacher of many mediums, and Linda is a teacher of young children. For this workshop, John will share easy to use techniques on how to use nature’s materials to make print art that you can take home. Additionally, some of John’s relief prints created from wood grains, plants and floating ink on water (Suminagashi) will be on display to serve as inspiration. Linda will facilitate nature printing activities for younger children.  Our CAS teacher-naturalist  will lead a short nature walk to gather materials. Please wear old clothes or bring a smock. Adults and families welcome, suitable for ages 7 and up. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

$15 for members, $20 for non-members, register here





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