Submitted by Capt Mark Yuknat, Connecticut River Expeditions.
(Jan. 18, 2020) — Haven’t had your dose of outdoors lately? Winter seems to do that to us. A perfect time to get outside, feel the fresh air and experience the Connecticut River is during February and March. The open water of the lower CT River brings out a variety of winter wildlife; ducks, hawks, eagles and more. Already, we are spotting many juvenile and adult Bald Eagles, including our resident nesting pairs. RiverQuest and the Connecticut River Museum are excited to team up again this year to cruise on the lower Connecticut River for Winter Wildlife Eagle Boat Cruises, departure is from the museum’s Steamboat Dock. With this partnership, passengers not only get to enjoy the river and its wildlife from the water, but also the entire museum including their special “Eagles of Essex” exhibit along with other events and activities.
Eagles have made a huge comeback over the past few decades, more eagles than ever are being sighted in Connecticut. The CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) reported record numbers here in the state, with 64 nesting territories and 81 chicks fledged in 2019. On past cruises, we have spotted dozens of Bald Eagles, three types of grebe, swan, and merganser, Golden Eagle, many different gull and hawk species, loons, coyote, fox, deer, three types of seal, and even a bobcat.
“We always enjoy working with the Connecticut River Museum during the winter season. Our mutual interest in conservation of the river is a perfect match.” Captain Mark of the quiet, friendly eco-tour vessel RiverQuest says. “With so many environmental issues in the news lately, we feel this special cruise will remind everyone of the successful conservation efforts by many organizations over the past 30-40 years.”
“It is now 2020 and we are celebrating our 20th season on the river with RiverQuest! I have always loved winter on the river, it is serene and scenic. With no leaves on the trees, the river’s edge offers a unique view, making it easier to find and see our winter wildlife. We enjoy searching for our resident and non-resident Bald Eagles and other winter species.” said Mindy, Captain Mark’s wife, crew and co-owner of RiverQuest. “Each cruise is different, we never know what we will find, come aboard and see!”
“The Connecticut River Museum looks forward to another season of winter wildlife cruises with our partners at RiverQuest. The energy and expertise that Captain Mark and the entire crew share with visitors impacts the stewardship of the Connecticut River and appreciation of our native wildlife. Our Museum staff has been working diligently to update our Eagles of Essex Exhibit to create a meaningful experience from the Museum to the River. We are excited to open our doors and docks to explore the winter river, a place like no other.” quoted Suzanne Burns, Director of Education at the Connecticut River Museum.
RiverQuest has a heated cabin with large windows, but 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, there are plenty on board for you to borrow during the cruise! There will be complimentary coffee and tea, also.
Cruises offered February 8th through March 15th. Departure Friday at 10:00 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday at 9:00 a.m., 11:30 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.; Wednesday at 2:00 p.m.; President’s Day at 11:30 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. More dates may be added. Cost is $42 per person. For more information visit www.ctriverquest.com or www.ctrivermuseum.org