With bird migration and breeding season here, you might be looking for a place to combine a hike through spectacular scenery with the chance to see birds that you’ll rarely encounter in Connecticut’s wooded and suburban areas.
Connecticut Audubon Society's Grassland Bird Conservation Center and Bafflin Preserve in Pomfret has 700 acres of hillside meadows with views across the countryside of northeastern Connecticut. There are marshes and ponds, and a hemlock gorge bisected by a swift brook. The sanctuary is home to flocks of Bobolinks, to Eastern Meadowlarks, to half-a-dozen pairs of nesting American Kestrels, to American Woodcock and to other birds of field and shrubby areas that are hard to find elsewhere in the state.
Twenty-eight warblers, Northern Harrier and American Bittern have been recorded among the sanctuary's 206 species. You can find a species list here.
Pomfret is in the northeast corner of the state, near both the Massachusetts and Rhode Island borders. You can get there by taking Interstates 91 and 84, or 95 and 395, and then following local roads, one of which – Route 169 through Lisbon, Canterbury and Brooklyn – is a designated scenic road and is part of the Quinebaug and Shetucket Rivers Valley National Heritage Corridor.
The Grassland Bird Conservation Center had its grand opening in October 2011. Center Director Sarah Heminway and her staff and volunteers present monthly art exhibits (and recently unveiled a spectacular permanent mural by Amy Bartlett Wright), frequent educational programs, and more. Sanctuary manager Andy Rzeznikiewicz leads regular bird walks, including the seventh annual 90-Bird Day on Saturday, May 19.
The Center at Pomfret is at 218 Day Road, Pomfret Center, Ct. Our Pomfret page has more information about hours and admission, or call 860-928-4948.
Not far from Pomfret is our 168-acre Trail Wood sanctuary. Trail Wood is the former home of writer and naturalist Edwin Way Teale, who lived there with his wife, Nellie, from 1959 until his death in 1980.
Trail Wood is at 93 Kenyon Road, Hampton, Ct. There’s more information on our Trail Wood page, or call 860-928-4948.