Special Cruises

Winter Wildlife & Eagle Cruises

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Reservations

 

Winter Wildlife & Eagle Cruises – Essex, CT

 

BIG NEWS!

 

RiverQuest has teamed up with the Connecticut River Museum for our winter cruises! In February and March we will depart from the Connecticut River Museum docks at the end of Main Street in ESSEX. With this partnership, you not only get to enjoy the river and its wildlife from the water, but also the entire museum and their special Eagles of Essex exhibit.

 

As the river, lakes and ponds to our north freeze, Eagles and others make their way to the lower CT River for their favorite food – FISH. Join us on this 2 hour “on-the-water” cruise to search for eagles and other winter wildlife. This is Mark and Mindy’s 14th year providing these popular cruises and in the past we have spotted up to a record 41 eagles, 3 types of grebes, fox, 3 types of swans, 3 types of mergansers, golden eagle, coyote, deer, many hawk species, 3 types of seals, many different gulls, loons, and even a bobcat. We will have Naturalists on board to narrate and make sure you don’t miss a thing!

 

RiverQuest has a heated cabin, but we suggest that you dress in warm layers since the best views will be from the open decks. Don’t forget your camera and binoculars! No binoculars? No worries, we have plenty on board for you to borrow! We will also provide complimentary coffee and tea.


We are hopeful that having RiverQuest further south this winter in Essex Harbor will decrease the chances of cancellations due to ice.

 

GPS - Connecticut River Museum, 67 Main Street, Essex, CT
Directions: CT Route 9 North to Exit 3 (Essex) and follow signs to Connecticut River Museum and Essex Historic Waterfront. The Dock is located at the foot of Main Street on the Connecticut River.

 

Cost:  $40pp

 

2017 Dates/Times:

Photo by Jeri Duefrene 

Saturdays - Sundays:

15 10 18eagles

9:00-11:00
11:30 - 1:30
2:00 - 4:00


2/4 - 2/5
2/11 - 2/12
2/18 - 2/19
2/25 - 2/26
3/4 - 3/5
3/11 - 3/12

 

Fridays:

10:00 - 12:00
12:30 - 2:30
2/10
2/17
2/24
3/3
3/10

 

Reservations  

 

 

Come out and play and beat Winter Cabin Fever! Come out of your winter doldrums and experience the beauty and solitude of the lower Connecticut River during this wonderful time of year! It is so different now then it is in the summer months, no boats and with no leaves on the trees, our wildlife viewing is much easier.

 

Although our primary mission is to search for and observe visiting and resident Bald Eagles (we will pass three nests on our journey), we will also search for many other varieties of local winter wildlife.

IMG 4934     Eagles brockway island    Ring necked 1

 

Past Sightings:

Birds of Prey:

Red Tailed Hawk

Rough Legged Hawk

Sharp Shinned Hawk

Northern Harrier

Goshawk

Coopers Hawk

Red Shouldered Hawk

Merlin

Peregrine Falcon

Golden Eagle

Bald Eagle

 

Mammals:

Grey Seal

Harbor Seal

Fox

Coyote

Deer

Bobcat

 

Ducks:

Common Merganser

Hooded Merganser

Red-breasted Merganser

Common Goldeneye

Coot

Black Duck

Wood Duck

Ruddy Duck

Scaup

Ring neck

Long tail

Mallard

Green Winged Teal

American Widgeon

 

 

 

Gulls:

Herring

Great Black Back

Ring Billed

Bonaparte's

 

Others:

Great Cormorant

Pied Billed Grebe

Horned Grebe

Red Throated Grebe

Tundra Swan

Trumpeter Swan

Mute Swan

Common Loon

Red Throated Loon

Brant

Canada Geese

Pileated Woodpecker

Northern Flicker

 

So, come aboard and see what we find on your cruise!

 

Hoodies       Rq winter pilothouse      Cormorant Great

 

IMPORTANT INFORMATION:

*Due to the length of this winter cruise, we ask that no children under 10 years old be booked. Please email us for questions/comments. 

*Due to the popularity of these cruises, they do sell out, so, reservations are required. Please use our on-line booking "reservations" button. We can sometimes take on last minute passengers, so, email us anytime.

NO ON-LINE BOOKING FOR OVER TEN PERSONS (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.us to discuss if you have more).

 

NOTE:

We want to remind everyone that this is a nature cruise. The weather can change drastically in minutes; rain, wind, fog, ice and heavy snow may pop up. There are times when a cruise may be canceled very last minute. We will of course try to give as much notice as possible and we will only cancel if there is a safety issue or wildlife viewing will be affected. So please, be patient and understanding with us.

ALWAYS....before you come, check our home page or call 860-662-0577 for up-to-date cruise information.

 

Private Charter Price:

The cost is a $1600 for the entire boat on weekends, maximum of 45 passengers. You may bring your own food and/or beverage with you on this cruise. We will provide narration about eagles, other wildlife and points of interest we may see.

Please email us for weekday prices.

Email us to discuss more.

 

Special days/times for school groups or other groups can be set up.


Thank you! Captain Mark and Mindy.


Please add your name to our mailing list and we will keep you updated!

 

 

Reservations

 

Gift Certificates Available

 

Special Cruise Dates

 

 

 

 

Spring Osprey/Eagle Cruise

os-website-4-p  IMG 6167  Eagle flight

 

On this about 2.5 hour cruise, we will see two of our resident Bald Eagle's nests along with our returning Ospreys. We will depart from our dock at Eagle Landing State Park in Haddam in search of Ospreys and eagles and whatever other wildlife we can find. We will pass fairly close to the Goodspeed Eagle's Nest, where we hope to catch a glimpse of the eagles near the nest. As we head south towards the next eagle's nest in Lyme, we'll point out other areas of interest, including Gillette's Castle. Most of our ospreys will be nesting or working on their nests. All the platforms and day markers will eventually have an Osprey nest. We'll then get a view of the Nott Island Eagle Nest. We'll tell you all about the local wildlife we will see along with lots of other interesting stuff! Enjoy this beautiful river! Complimentary Coffee and tea onboard. Cost is $40 per passenger. Due to the length of this cruise, no children under 10 please.

Cruise Dates (2016): 

April 16, 17, 23. Check calendar or Special Cruise Dates page for departure times.

 

Reservations

 

Gift Certificates Available

 

Special Cruise Dates

 

Osprey Cruises

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Cruise quietly from RiverQuest's home berth in Haddam and observe Ospreys and Osprey nests located in various areas along the lower Connecticut River. Ospreys return from their southern wintering homes that are primarily in South and Central America around March 20th. They rebuild their nests on the many nesting platforms, day markers and trees along the river. Come aboard one of RiverQuest's scheduled cruises and watch the progress as the Ospreys rebuild their nests and begin nesting (early April) to the chicks as they evolve from newly hatched chicks (Mid-May) to adolescent chicks/fledglings (late June) flying proudly with their new found power of flight (late July). A naturalist will be on board each cruise to educate you on the Osprey and any other bird/wildlife we may see on our journey. Cruise is three hours long. $40pp. Due to the length of this cruise, no one under 10 years old please.

CRUISE DATES: July 17, 2016. 9:30am to 12:30pm! 


To schedule your own Group Cruise please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call RiverQuest at 860-662-0577.

 

Reservations

 

Gift Certificates Available

 

Special Cruise Dates

Tree Swallow Sunset Cruise Spectacle

Swallows rainbow  Swallwo binocs  Swallow on phrags1  

 

Captain Mark and Mindy are the pioneers of Tree Swallow watching!
For the past 13 years they have brought individuals and groups on RiverQuest to a special spot on the Connecticut River where 100's of thousands of Tree Swallows gather. After spending the day miles away, the swallows return each night to sleep in the reeds. They gather at sunset and perform aerial ballets forming an amazing display of art, coordination and cooperation! Over the years Captain Mark has found the best way to maneuver RiverQuest (and now Capt Alex, Adventure) to allow perfect views from her open decks on the bow and stern. Her flexible seating ensures everyone gets optimal "up close and personal" viewing.
Enjoy the entire evening!
We will spend about 3.5 hours on the water. There is so much to see while cruising along the river. Many birds are migrating through the area now; last year we saw a record number of Bald Eagles and Great Egrets. Our on board Naturalist(s), will educate you on the swallow phenomenon and all the other wildlife we see. On the return cruise home, there is time to chat with others and experience the river at twilight, blending into night.
You are able to bring your own picnic basket or snacks and your favorite "beverage" to enjoy on this special cruise. Don't forget your camera and binoculars (or borrow a pair of our binocs)! This is a small group experience that is unique each sailing. Mark, Mindy and crew promise a great evening for all to enjoy the Tree Swallow show and this special time on the pristine Connecticut River!
Cost is $40pp. Due to the length of this cruise, NO ONE UNDER 12, please.

 

NOTE: Due to the length of this evening cruise, we ask that no children under 12 years old be booked. Please email us for questions/comments.

Cost: $40 each passenger.

These cruises sell out, so, reservations are required. Please use our on-line booking. We can sometimes take on last minute passengers, so, email us anytime.

NO BOOKING FOR OVER TEN PERSONS (email us to discuss if you have more).

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Roger Tory Peterson of the Peterson Field Guides quote on this phenomenon: 

“I have seen a million flamingos on the lakes of East Africa and as many seabirds on the cliffs of the Alaska Pribilofs, but for sheer drama, the tornadoes of Tree Swallows eclipsed any other avian spectacle I have ever seen.”      

 

2017 Cruise Dates: STAND BY....

Starting August 21st thru October ???.

 

Check our Calendar and Special Cruise Dates Page for exact dates, departure time and for SOLD OUT cruises.      

Private Tree Swallow Sunset Cruise Charters: $1650 for the whole boat! Private Charters will be aboard ADVENTURE.           

 

MyTV9 Star Sees Swallows at Sunset: Angela watches an air show like no other Watch Video>>>

  • Sarah Cody form Fox 61 DayTripper News came on a Tree Swallow Cruise with us. See her video: Watch Video>>>
  • Autumn on the Connecticut River With the Swallows - 9/2/14, By HELEN O'NEILL Associated Press Read Article>>

On 09-24, there were so many Tree Swallows in the air, that Ryan of NBC weather posted the radar images on his Blog:

http://ryanhanrahan.com/2012/09/24/the-mysterious-radar-echoes-are-no-longer-mysterious/  

  

14 9radar

Meteorologist Ryan Hanrahan NBC CT 30- How the swallows appear on Radar!    

 

Reservations

 

Gift Certificates Available

 

Special Cruise Dates

Special ADVENTURE Tree Swallow Cruise

Join us on our new exclusive charter vessel 
and see the Tree Swallow Spectacle!
Adventure is docked at Dock #3, parking Lot #3. Drive the farthest in!
 
After 12 years of hard work, Connecticut River Expeditions is proud to have it's newest addition to the fleet in operation. ADVENTURE has been cruising on some nice Private Charters and we thought it would be great to offer our passengers an exclusive Sunset Tree Swallow Cruise to experience this popular
phenomenon.
 
We will cruise to a special area on the Connecticut River where 100's of thousands of Tree Swallows gather. The swallows show up close to sunset and perform aerial ballets forming an amazing display of art, coordination and cooperation and eventually fly into the reeds to sleep for the night! 
We will get perfect views from ADVENTURE's open decks. 

Come enjoy the entire evening with us! We will spend over three and a half hours on the water where there is so much to see. Many birds are migrating through the area now; last year we saw a record number of Bald Eagles and Great Egrets. Our on board Naturalist, will educate you on the swallow phenomenon and all else we will see. On the return cruise home, there is time to chat with others and experience the river at twilight, blending into a possible starry night. 

We will provide a light cheese platter and you may provide your own picnic basket and favorite "beverage" to enjoy on this special cruise. 
Don't forget your camera and a pair of binoculars (or borrow one of ours)!
 
This is a small group experience and space is very limited.
NOTE: Adventure is not handicap accessible. 
Adventure is docked at Dock #3, parking Lot #3. Drive the farthest in!
 
New Dates:  
Thursday, 09-29 and Saturday, 10-01 and Sunday 10-02 - 4:30pm
Price:  $50 per person

Fall Foliage Cruises

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Join us aboard RiverQuest for our Fall Foliage Cruises.

The foliage begins to change in late September and there will be color all through October.


WEEKDAYS:

On our regularly scheduled 90 minute Gillette Castle Viewing Daytime Cruises, we will cruise a little north and then south, where you will also see the changing foliage on the many varieties of trees along the lower Connecticut River.

Time: Wednesday and Thursday: 11:30am. Friday: 1:30pm.

Cost: $20 adults, $15 children. On Wednesday and Thursday 11:30am the cost is $18pp for seniors (over 60). 

 

WEEKENDS:

We are offering different times on the weekends this October. On this scheduled one hour Gillette Castle Viewing Daytime Cruise, we will cruise south, where you will see the changing foliage on many varieties of trees along the river.

Time: Saturday and Sunday: 12:30pm and also at 2:00pm

Cost: $16 Adults, $11 Children (under 12), Under 2, free. 

Special Foliage Sunset Cruises:

Depart 3:30pm, return 5:30pm.

Northbound:

October 15 and 29 

Southbound:

October 15, 16 and 22

$35pp (RiverQuest), $40pp (Adventure) no one under 12.

Always please check our Calendar to confirm departure days and times. Private charters take precedence.

 

Reservations

 

Gift Certificates Available

 

Special Cruise Dates

Southbound Foliage Cruise on ADVENTURE

Come aboard our newest addition to the fleet!  After 12 years of hard work, Connecticut River Expeditions is proud to have it's newest addition to the fleet in operation. ADVENTURE has been cruising on some nice Private Charters and we thought it would be great to offer our passengers an cruise to see the Foliage.

This cruise is a lightly narrated, casual, relaxing cruise on the lower Connecticut River, an area know as “one of the last great places”. We will cruise south on this cruise to view the colors of the changing leaves and also learn about local history, flora and fauna (possibly see one or more of our resident Bald Eagles).  We will get perfect views from ADVENTURE's open decks. Feel free to bring along a picnic and your "favorite beverage".

 

Cost is $40pp. 

 

This is a small group experience and space limited.
NOTE: Adventure is not handicap accessible. 
Adventure is docked at Dock #3, parking Lot #3. Drive the farthest in!

 

Saturday, October 15 - 3:30pm  - 5:30pm

 

Reservations 

 

TGIF Sunset Cruise

sunset bridge

Need we say more! Summer is here and you had to work all week. Grab a friend and your favorite wine or beverage and start your weekend! We will provide some light snacks, and mother nature will provide great scenery and a sunset to unwind from your busy week. Enjoy a relaxing evening cruise on the lower Connecticut River, departure from Eagle Landing State Park in Haddam. Observe how beautiful the river is at twilight as you dine. There will be only light narration on this cruise. Visit our website: ctriverquest.com to learn more about this cruise (look on the Sunset Cruise page for more details) and our other cruises. Easy online booking. Cruise departs at 6:30pm and will return at 8:30pm-ish. Cost is $35 per person. RiverQuest phone: 860-662-0577.

 

July 17, 2015

August 21, 2015

 

Private Charters take precedence.

 

Phone: 860-662-0577

Upcoming Excursions

January 8, 2015

Non-Stop CT! Video