Connecticut Audbon Society
The Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center

The Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center

Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center Programs & Events

We are currently offering small group in-person programming following all current COVID-19 safety procedures. See below for details. Our building will remain closed.

Looking to schedule one of our interactive webinar programs exclusively for your group?

Click Here for Details!

All webinar programs can also be provided in person!


NEW! Grasses: An Introduction to Identification With Lauren Brown

Saturday, October 9; 9 am – 1 pm
RTP Estuary Center

Grasses are all around us – along roadsides and riverbanks, in fields and marshes – but many people are scared to try identifying them, thinking that “they all look alike” and that their identification requires a specialized vocabulary and a microscope. Not so!  Lauren Brown,
co-author with Ted Elliman of Grasses, Sedges, Rushes: An Identification Guide, will show you how to tell one species from another using naked-eye characteristics and plain English.  We will start with study in the classroom and then proceed to a riverfront property for identification in the field.  It will be very useful for you to bring the above book, or its predecessor, Grasses: An Identification Guide by Lauren Brown. Participants will need transportation to proceed to the outdoor portion of the program. Registration required, 12 person capacity. $40 members; $60 for non-members. Masks required for indoor portion. 

Register Here



New! – Ecological Expeditions Fall 2021 Series

Ever wonder how does nature work? Do you enjoy exploring wild places? Open your eyes to new locations and get to know the non-human neighbors that share our corner of the world! This unique program combines in-depth environmental science with hands-on experiences in some of the most special areas in southeastern Connecticut. Each month emphasizes different themes depending on the season (although we can always count on nature adding surprises!). The role of humans in the landscape, past and present, will also be emphasized.  
All programs are led by Connecticut Audubon Society conservation biologist Jim Arrigoni.

This program includes a 60-minute virtual webinar presentation via Zoom with a discussion and Q and A,  introducing topics and relevant literature. After the 2-hour field program, participants will receive lists of species encountered (including an eBird checklist) and additional information resources.

Photo credit Ann McNulty

$30/member $45 non-member per program
Sign up for all three $80 member; $125 non-members

Register Here for all three sessions

Program dates
(Click here or on each program topic for more information )

River Health – Register here
Monday, October 18; 6pm – Zoom Webinar 
Saturday, October 23, 9-11 am – Field session at Banningwood Preserve, Lyme

Autumn Forest Ecology – Register here
Monday, November 15; 6 pm – Zoom Webinar 
Saturday, November 20, 9-11 am – Field session at Osewagatchie Hills, East Lyme

Winter Solstice and Community Conservation – Register here
Monday, December 13; 6pm – Zoom Webinar
Saturday, December 18. 9-11 am 9 Field session at RTP Estuary Center and Champlain North Open Space


Bird Walks

New Dates Added! Bird Walks at the RTP Estuary Center

Tuesdays at 9 a.m.
RTP Estuary Center, 100 Lyme Street, Old Lyme

Join us for an hour on Tuesday mornings as we tour the new home of the Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center along the Lieutenant River, looking for our remaining summer bird species and the numerous migrating birds making their way into the state. Registration is required. $5 members; $10 non-members

Register here for Tuesday, September 28; 9 a.m.

New ! Register here for Tuesday, October 5; 9 a.m.
New ! Register here for Tuesday, October 19; 9 a.m.

Webinars via Zoom

Wednesday Webinars

Introduced Bird Species of CT
Wednesday, September 29, 6 pm

While there are hundreds of native bird species found in Connecticut, there are a handful that are not native to the state. The effects these birds have on the environment and us varies, and some have become among the most common birds in the state. In this webinar, teacher-naturalist Joe Attwater will go over the introduced species found in the state and how they got here.

Joe will discuss:

  • Effects of introduced species
  • How introduced species get here
  • Introduced bird species of CT

Register Here

Bird Taxonomy
Wednesday, October 27, 6 pm

When you look in your field guide of eastern birds, you may be surprised to see falcons in a different section than other birds of prey. Why are birds grouped the way they are? In this webinar, teacher-naturalist Joe Attwater will go over bird taxonomy and how ornithologists classify birds.

Joe will discuss:

  • Understanding taxonomy and the various levels of classification
  • How and why birds are classified
  • How to use taxonomy for identification

Register Here

Bird Senses
Wednesday, November 17, 6 pm

With such different lifestyles than our own, we can only imagine how birds perceive the world. Their senses must be adapted to flight, and the ever-important task of finding food. In this webinar, teacher-naturalist Joe Attwater will go over bird senses, some of which are very different from our own.

Joe will discuss:

  • Bird senses
  • How they compare to humans
  • How birds use their senses to survive

Register Here

Virtual Courses

For the Birds Three Week Mini-Courses


Whether you are new to birding or are a seasoned veteran who wants to brush up on your skills, these mini-courses are for you! Each mini-course will center on a different theme allowing participants to dive a little deeper into the identification, migration, and charismatic features of the avian families we see here in Connecticut.

Each 3- week mini-course will include an hour-long interactive live webinar per week which includes a live Q and A as well as access to the webinar recording for the duration of your subscription and resource lists which will include common species identification and a list of recommended field guides, apps, and websites.

Live Webinars take place on Tuesdays, 7-8 p.m.
Course requires the use of Zoom. 

Mini-Course Descriptions and Dates
Session 8 – Birds of Prey: October 5-19
Session 9 – Spectacular Sparrows: November 2-16

Click Here For More Detailed Course Description and Dates

Click here to register for an individual course subscription

Click Here to Access Previously Recorded Live Webinars


Bird Walks at the Connecticut College Arboretum

Fall Migration Walk

September 25, 9-11 am
Connecticut College Arboretum, New London

With birds from further north moving through the state mixing with departing summer residents, fall in Connecticut is an exciting time to go birding. It’s also one of the most difficult times to identify species, with so many juvenile birds and birds in non-breeding plumage. The Native Plant Collection and Bolleswood Natural Area of the Connecticut College Arboretum provides wetlands, deciduous and coniferous forests, and more, all of which attract a diverse array of migrating songbirds! Join teacher-naturalist Joe Attwater from the Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center as we look for migrating warblers, vireos, flycatchers, and more! Free for CT Audubon and Arboretum members; $5 for non-members. 

Register here

Sparrow Stroll

Saturday, November 6, 9-11 am
Connecticut College Arboretum, New London
*Program will meet at the Gallows Lane entrance

Sparrows are some of the most difficult birds to identify, falling into the category of “little brown jobs”. Knowing the right field marks and behaviors makes them much easier to identify and differentiate though. With its large meadow and mixed forests, the Goodwin Natural Area of the Connecticut College Arboretum provides great habitat for a mix of sparrow species. Join teacher-naturalist Joe Attwater from the Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center as we search for these cryptic and confusing little birds. Free for CT Audubon and Arboretum members; $5 for non-members. 

Register here

Winter Bird Walk

Saturday, December 11; 9-11 amBald Eagle
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 to search for these wintering species. Dress for the weather. Free for CT Audubon Society and Arboretum members; $5 for non-members. Registration required.

Register Here




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