Grays Harbor Shorebird and Nature Festival

Celebrating the natural world and the spring shorebird migration

Each spring, hundreds of thousands of shorebirds stop to rest and feed along the Washington Coast and in the Grays Harbor estuary during their migration northward. Coming from as far south as Argentina, these Arctic-bound shorebirds are among the world's greatest migrants. Some birds travel over 15,000 miles round trip! The concentration of birds during spring migration offers people a great chance to view a number of shorebird species. With luck you will also see the birds fly together in beautiful formations while trying to escape a Peregrine Falcon.

Shorebird is the name given to the group of birds that are usually found along the shoreline. They include plovers, turnstones, sandpipers, dowitchers, and others. Some shorebirds can be found in Grays Harbor County all year; others only during their migration. A good way to start learning the common shorebirds is to attend the Festival's shorebird identification class and field trip.

The shorebird spectacle happens every year at Grays Harbor National Wildlife Refuge and in other parts of the County. People from around the world come to view this event of hemispheric importance. The Festival works to bring people together for this incredible natural phenomenon.

Black-Bellied Plover Photo by Tom Rowley


Festival Headquarters

On Friday, until 3pm, events start or are located at the Grays Harbor National Wildlife Refuge Office on Airport Way. On Friday starting at 4pm, then all day Saturday and Sunday, the Festival Headquarters is at Hoquiam High School, Hoquiam. From Aberdeen, follow US 101 to Hoquiam. Stay in the left lane onto Highway 109 (Ocean Shores Hwy.), this is also Emerson Ave. Hoquiam High School is on the right 1.1 miles from that intersection. Park in the school lot. Maps can be found here.

Dowitcher Photo by Tom Rowley


Registration

Pre-registration is recommended for fee events and must be postmarked by April 16th, 2018. Registration will be open on Friday from 7am to 3pm at the Grays Harbor National Wildlife Refuge Office. Registration continues at Festival Headquarters on Friday from 4pm to 7pm, Saturday from 7:30am to 5pm and Sunday from 8am to 4pm.

Dunlin Photo by Tom Rowley


Meals

Field trip participants may order box lunches using the registration form. The Annual Dinner will be held on Saturday evening; seating is limited and pre-registration is required by April 20th. See local restaurants.

Greater Yellowlegs Photo by John Whitehead


Lodging

Festival participants may make lodging arrangements directly with area providers. For lodging information call: Grays Harbor Tourism at (800) 621-9625; Greater Grays Harbor, Inc. at (800) 321-1924; or Westport-Grayland Chamber of Commerce at (800) 345-6223.

Least Sandpiper Photo by Tom Rowley


Weather/Clothing

Western Washington weather is unpredictable at this time of year. Plan for wet and cool. Layers, raingear, and boots are recommended. The trail at Grays Harbor National Wildlife Refuge is a hard surface and does not require special footwear.

Red Knot Photo by Tom Rowley


Special Accommodations

For those needing special accommodations, please contact Refuge Visitor Services Manager, Jennifer Cutillo, at (360) 753-9467.

Ruddy Turnstone Photo by John Whitehead