Connecticut Audbon Society
The Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center

The Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center

Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center Programs & Events

Guided Paddles

Tuesday, September 17,  6 p.m.
Uncas Pond, East Lyme
Join us as we explore some of southeastern Connecticut’s most scenic waterways by boat! Enjoy birds, wildlife and sunsets on the water. Each participant must bring their own kayak/canoe and PFD. Sunscreen, bug spray and binoculars are encouraged. Open to ages 16 and up. 

$20 for members, $30 for non-members

Register here



Birding Tour of Old Lyme

Saturday, September 21, 8am – 12pm
Various Locations around Old Lyme

There is a reason the famed conservationist Roger Tory Peterson spent so much time in Old Lyme. Old Lyme has numerous great birding spots, and its forests and wetlands attract a large variety of birds. Take a tour of some of the best areas to bird and learn about new places to add to your list. We’ll travel along the coast and onto some of the best trails the town has to offer, in search of migrating songbirds and waterfowl. 

$40 for members, $50 for non members, register here

RTPEC Touch Tank Exploration

RTP Estuary Center
Why is Salt Important in the Ocean? –  Saturday, September 21; 10-11am
Fantastic Fish – Saturday, October 12; 10-11am
Estuary Animals – Sunday; October 20; 1-2pm

Join us for a family fun, hands-on touch tank experience! Get up close with, learn about and touch(!) fish, crabs, snails and more animals that live in Long Island Sound. Be prepared to get a little wet and have a lot of fun! These STEM programs are a great way to experience the creatures below the water that call the CT River Estuary home!

$10 member / participating child; $15 non-member / participating child. * Adult free with paid child.

Register here for September 21; 10-11am
Register here for October 12; 10-11am
Register here for October 20; 1-2pm






Sunday Family Hikes

Sunday, September 22, 9-10am
Clark Community Park, Old Saybrook

Get the whole family outside and connecting with nature with the RTP Estuary Center’s Sunday Family Hikes. We will visit local land trusts and preserves as we discover and explore the natural world. All ages welcome! Free program.

Register here 






Birding Basics

Saturday, September 28, 9 – 11am
Viney Hill Brook Park, Essex
Located near the mouth of the Connecticut River, with plenty of water features and multiple habitat types, Viney Hill Brook Park makes for a perfect stopover site for migrating birds. Warblers and Vireos are fueling up before making their way south, and sparrows and waterfowl will be heading down to settle in for fall and winter. $5 for members; $10 for non-members

Register here

Connecticut River Lecture Series

The Connecticut Audubon Society’s Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center is delighted to announce its Fall 2019 lecturers. We celebrate five years of The Connecticut River Lecture Series through which we introduced experts in the fields of science, literature, and art, and learned more about the biodiversity of southeastern Connecticut and beyond.

Wednesday, October 2, 5 p.m.
Alan Poole, Ph.D.: Ospreys 2019: The Revival of a Global Raptor
Essex Meadows, Essex

Alan Poole, an associate of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, has studied Ospreys for over 35 years. The former editor of the Lab of O’s 18 volume, 18,000 word, life history compendium, Birds of North America, returns to The Connecticut River Lecture Series to speak about his latest book. Ospreys 2019: The Revival of a Global Raptor (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2019) chronicles the near extinction of this familiar raptor, its worldwide recovery, and the people who made this possible. Science, mystery, and old fashioned detective work combined to identify the cause of the Ospreys’ decline and guide its resurgence. Dr. Poole’s work has taken him from the shores of Cape Cod to the Connecticut River Estuary, to Scandinavia and Australia, and provides a complete history of this iconic species.

Register here for the October 2 lecture

Wednesday, October 9, 5 p.m.
Paul Spitzer, Ph.D.: The Dark Side of the Loon
Old Lyme Town Hall, Old Lyme

Old Lyme native, ecologist, and former protégé of Roger Tory Peterson, Paul Spitzer is currently lecturing at Wesleyan University and returns to The Connecticut River Lecture Series to relate his work on the Common Loon, often referred to as “a very unbird like bird”. Among the most distinctive and beautiful of birds, the Loon is a winter sight on our lakes and estuaries when its brilliant black and white checkered plumage changes to a drab gray in camouflage. An able swimmer and remarkable diver, loons also achieve great speed in the air but cannot walk on land. Dr. Spitzer will relate what he has learned about the beloved Loon over 30 years of research conducted in Connecticut, the Chesapeake Bay, North Carolina and the Gulf coasts.

Register here for the October 9 lecture

Thursday, October 17, 5 p.m.
Betsy Blair: A National Estuarine Research Reserve for Connecticut!
First Congregational Church of Old Lyme

This is a lecture for all who live in the region, use its waters, and just love the dominant environmental features of our area and the wildlife who breed and inhabit our waters. In December of 2018 the State of Connecticut submitted a request to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to nominate portions of the Thames River and Long Island Sound as well as the lower part of the Connecticut River Estuary to become the country’s 30th National Estuary Research Reserve (NERR).

Our speaker, Betsy Blair, recently retired as the manager of the Hudson River Research Reserve, has had years of experience working with noAA and managing one of the country’s most important research reserves. She will relate why becoming a part of this national system is important for Connecticut and how Connecticut will contribute to the other 29 reserves already in the system. A nerr is a joint partnership between the state and noAA and it brings increased scientific research and monitoring of our estuarine waters including nutrient value, water quality, marine, plant and wildlife monitoring. Nerrs also provide important research and education information to promote improved stewardship of our
estuaries for the benefit of all users: boaters, fishermen, residents, and community decision makers. The lecture will be held in the Fellowship Hall.

Register here for the October 17 lecture


Estuary Explorations Guided Paddle at Hamburg Cove

Saturday, October 5 ;9 a.m. – noon
Hamburg Cove, Lyme

Scenic Hamburg Cove is the outlet of the Eightmile River, which is a federally designated Wild and Scenic River. After putting in at Reynolds’ Marina, we’ll explore upstream to the Joshuatown Road bridge, and then back down to the confluence with the Connecticut River. The abundant fish and aquatic wildlife will be the highlight, but the thickly forested shorelines also hold points of interest such as basking reptiles and perching birds. Please provide your own canoe or kayak. Life jackets are required, and binoculars are strongly recommended. After the paddle, bring a lunch or snack to enjoy while overlooking the cove from the terrace of Reynolds’ Subaru, and we’ll recap the morning’s discoveries.

Suitable for ages 16 and up.  

$15 for college students, $30 for members, $40 for non-members

Register here

Estuary Explorations Guided Hike at Oswegatchie Hills Nature Preserve

Saturday, October 12, 9 a.m. – noon, 
Oswegatchie Hills Nature Preserve, Niantic

Fall foliage will be on display on this moderately strenuous hike  along coastal forest which spans rocky ridge tops with stunted Pitch Pines and Bear Oaks to deep, rich soils hosting tall specimens of many species of Oaks, Hickories, Maples and Birch. Additionally, this preserve boasts a diversity of wetland types, including red maple swamps, shrub swamps, and open water vernal pools, all of which support unique plants and animals. Depending on conditions, south-bound migrating birds may be on display!

Session will conclude with a brown bag lunch and ecological discussion highlighting the plant and animal life encountered. Don’t forget to bring your  bug spray, and binoculars! Suitable for ages 16 and up.  

$15 for college students, $30 for members, $40 for non-members

Register here

Estuary Explorations Guided Hike at Mt. Pisgah

Saturday, November 2, 9 a.m. – noon
Mt. Pisgah, Durham

Journey up the river to the south easterly-most headwaters of the Connecticut River to the Pitch Pine and Bear Oak-clad summit of Mt. Pisgah. Perched at 644 feet, this rocky summit offers fine views through the crisp mountain air to Durham Meadows and the Metacomet Ridge to the west. Various species of hawks, vultures and Common Ravens are easy to spot from this high vantage. 

Session will conclude with a brown bag lunch and ecological discussion highlighting the plant and animal life encountered. Don’t forget to bring your  bug spray, and binoculars! Suitable for ages 16 and up.  

$15 for college students, $30 for members, $40 for non-members

Register here



Fall Foliage & Feathers

Saturday, November 16, 9 – 10:30 a.m.
Connecticut College Arboretum, New London
*Co-sponsored with the Connecticut College Arboretum

Fall in Connecticut means beautiful changing foliage and migrating birds. Experience the best of both in the Connecticut College Arboretum. Join us as we explore the large catalog of tree species and diverse habitats that make for excellent bird watching and leaf peeping. Binoculars recommended.

Free for members (including Arboretum members), $10 for non-members, register here





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