Morgan R. Chaney Sanctuary
Turner Road, Montville
Our sanctuaries are open daily year-round, dawn to dusk.
Directions via Google
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Second-growth and young forest with wetlands, and a 10-acre shrub-scrub restoration site.
The trail entrance, on Turner Road, is marked by a Connecticut Audubon sign. There is also an trailhead on Fire Street, which is the easiest access to the shrub-scrub restoration site.
In 2017, staff conservationists cleared ten acres in the middle of the sanctuary to create a shrub-scrub habitat for nesting birds such as Blue-winged Warbler, Chestnut-sided Warbler, Eastern Towhee, Prairie Warbler, Field Sparrow, and Indigo Bunting. In 2022, White-eyed Vireo nested there. The populations of each of those have declined significantly throughout their ranges since about 1970.
That area also might provide habitat for the rare New England cottontail rabbit.
In 2020, 33 acres were added to the preserve thanks to a donation by Walter N. Wainwright, Jr., of Waterford. The new section slopes toward and helps protect a large swamp in the Thames River watershed, and so it helps protect water quality in the river and in Long Island Sound.
In addition to the shrub-nesting birds, look for forest species such as Barred Owl, Scarlet Tanager, Eastern Wood-pewee, Ovenbird, Hooded Warbler, Great-crested Flycatcher, and Red-eyed Vireo. Acadian Warblers nest along the trail that starts from Fire Street.
Morgan R. Chaney eBird Hotspot
The rare New England cottontail rabbit lives in shrubby areas in that region of Connecticut, and we will be watching to see if the population expands onto the Chaney preserve. New England cottontails already live on our Larsen preserve in Fairfield, the Croft preserve in Goshen, and in the New York section of Deer Pond Farm.
A small parking area on Turner Road and a parking pull-off on Fire Street. No bathrooms.