Wondering What to Photograph This Weekend?

How about a million shorebirds for starters!

Along the Washington coast we have many species that migrate past our shores both above and below the water. For just 2 to 3 weeks in late April and early May, up to a million shore birds can be found near the town of Grays Harbor on their way to nesting grounds in the arctic. Some of the commonly seen birds include: Killdeer, Black-bellied Plover, Semipalmated Plover, Greater Yellowlegs, Wandering Tattler, Whimbrel, Marbled Godwit, Ruddy Turnstone, Surfbird, Red Knot, Sanderling, Western Sandpiper, Least Sandpiper, Dunlin, Short-billed Dowitcher, and Long-billed Dowitcher.

The birds will take a much needed rest in the mudflats of Bowerman Bay on their long flights from South America all the way up the Pacific Coast until the reach the Arctic where they will nest and prepare for the next generation. Your best chance at seeing the birds comes at high tide when the incoming ocean waters concentrate the birds on just a few points of land where they can still find food and safe harbor. This is a most remarkable region for birding because of its varied habitats: rocky seashore, sandy beaches, large estuaries, rivers, meadows and mountains.

You won’t be alone of course, like the tulip fields of the Skagit Valley which bloom just in front of the migration this phenomena attracts hundreds of bird watchers and nature loves alike. The town of Greys Harbor even sponsors a shore bird festival each year giving you some clue as to when you might want to migrate to the coast yourself.

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