Description - Grays Harbor NWR is one of four major staging areas for shorebirds in North America. Up to one million shorebirds gather, or stage, here in spring to store up fat reserves and rest for the nonstop flight to their northern breeding grounds. This is one of the largest concentration of shorebirds on the west coast, south of Alaska.
- The refuge has been designated as a Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve. An Annual Shorebird Festival is held in late April, while the rest of the year offers great shorebird viewing. The best sightings occurs in the hour before and the hour after high tide. Of the two dozen species of shorebirds that use this area five of the most abundant are the western sandpiper, dunlin, shortbilled and longbilled dowitchers, and semipalmated plover. Western sandpipers compose 85% of the shorebirds present in the spring.
Recreation - Grays Harbor NWR offers many shorebird viewing opportunities as well as walking trails and boardwalks around the refuge.
Climate - The climate of Washington varies within each region. The Cascades split the state and alter the weather patterns. The mountains receive large amounts of wet, heavy snow from October through May. These peaks remain snow covered throughout the year. The terrain east of the mountains receives approximately 12 inches of rainfall per year, generally much less than west of the mountains. Since the area east of the mountains is landlocked, temperatures in this region are lower during the winter months. Frequent winds coming down from the mountains also contribute to the low temperatures of eastern Washington.
Due to the coastal geography, western Washington is primarily temperate. The proximity to the ocean stabilizes the climate, making extreme temperatures very rare. The area receives large amounts of precipitation from Pacific rain and snow storms.
Grays Harbor NWR is located at the western city limits of Hoquiam, Washington. Take State Highway 109 to Paulson Road, turn south, then west to parking areas adjacent to Bowerman Field airport.