View Thousands of Swallows From the Decks of the Becky Thatcher Riverboat

Take in this natural phenomenon during peak migration season in September
Essex, CT – Swallows are converging on the lower Connecticut River during peak migration season and Essex Steam Train & Riverboat is offering a front row seat to this awe-inspiring natural phenomenon. Every Friday & Saturday evening in September, the Becky Thatcher riverboat is embarking on a three-hour cruise down the Connecticut River to watch as hundreds of thousands of North American Tree & Barn Swallows migrate to South America and swarm as a beautifully choreographed flock over Goose Island. 

  • Board Train at Essex Station at 4:30 p.m. for a 5:00 p.m. departure
  • 3-hour cruise down the Connecticut River aboard the Becky Thatcher riverboat
  • Train brings you back to Essex Station between 8:30 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. (depending upon time of Swallow event)
  • Food and bar service available at the fully stocked bar (Due to our liquor permit, no BYOB allowed)
  • Due to time and length of excursion, the Swallow Cruise is not recommended for children under the age of 10 
Valley Railroad President Kevin Dodd, shares, “This is the perfect event for birdwatchers, nature enthusiasts, educators, and anyone looking for beauty in the world around us. It’s so special that this stunning migration happens right on our doorstep, and we love giving people the opportunity to experience the Swallows in such a close setting on the water.”

For tickets and more information, visit today! Be sure to follow @EssexSteamTrain on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to stay updated on our year-round special events, tours and activities.
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About the Essex Steam Train & Riverboat
Owned and operated by the Valley Railroad Company, the Essex Steam Train & Riverboat is a unique historic attraction in the Connecticut River Valley. The railroad has transported people in Connecticut since 1868, and the Valley Railroad Company has operated today's well-known train and riverboat for over 40 years. The Essex Steam Train and Riverboat takes people on exciting excursions through the unspoiled Connecticut River Valley, a place designated as "one of the last great places on earth" by the Nature Conservancy. The steam locomotive pulls vintage coaches through the quintessential New England towns of Deep River and Chester, and the Becky Thatcher riverboat takes visitors past the undeveloped Selden Neck State Park on its way to East Haddam. The Essex Steam Train & Riverboat offers various eco-excursions and family themed events throughout the year. For more information visit or connect on social media: and