Swallows Murmuration Paddle
Every year, September through early October, the swallows congregate on the lower Connecticut River. Perhaps half a million birds gather in the reeds of a small island each evening before sunset, then lift into the sky and swoop back and forth in large, a coordinated display known as a murmuration. To sit in a small boat and look up at this display is a very special experience.

The gathering is usually at the north end of Goose Island, on the east side of the Connecticut River, a mere two miles north of I95. It has been ongoing for many years. There are often private power boats and kayaks there in the evening, and there has been a commercial dinner cruise that visited the site. The Associated Press did a story on this in 2014: https://www.thestar.com/life/travel/torn...4.amp.html.

On September 5th I joined a Tuesday Night Paddle group in Connecticut for their annual Swallows Paddle. Here is a summary of that trip. Also watch the message board as I will be posting a RICKA trip to this event.

There are at least three possible put-ins for this paddle, but two are on the west side of the river. The preferred location is just south of I95, on the east side of the Connecticut River at Ferry Landing State Park, 398 Ferry Rd, Old Lyme, CT 06371. Drive down to the water, and the put-in is a small sandy area with a couple of picnic tables, before the first parking area. There isn’t much traffic on this dead-end road, so most people stopped to offload their boats, then found parking.
The Paddle is about 2.3 miles north to the viewing area at the north end of Goose Island. Paddle to the right of Calf Island and Goose Island, then around to the north point of Goose Island. Watch for other boat traffic.
We left the put-in at about 5:40 and had plenty of time to get to the viewing area. The action started after 6:30, and ended about 7:30. We had perfect weather (hot, clear, and calm) and saw a spectacular show. The outgoing tide made for a quick trip back to the put-in, but I was advised the tides are not a significant concern on this paddle.
Some thoughts:
We were comfortable in lightweight paddle clothing but, in general, plan for cooler evenings.
The Coast Guard requires Kayaks to display a single white light that is visible from all angles. Most boats had deck mounted lights. Headlamps are essential at the take-out as it is not lit, though some parking spots are floodlit.
An earlier start would allow time to paddle up into the Lord Cove Wildlife Area, then back to Goose Island. I haven't done this loop, so I don’t know if it is passable at low tide.
Over-all, this was a great way to spend a late-summer evening!

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