Due west of Hoquiam off Highway 109, Grays Harbor National Wildlife Refuge (360/753-9467, www.fws.gov/graysharbor) is a 500-acre wetland in the northeast corner of Grays Harbor Estuary. This is one of the most important staging areas for shorebirds in North America, attracting up to a million birds each spring.
The two dozen shorebird species that visit the basin include the western sandpiper, dunlin, short- and long-billed dowitcher, and red knot; other birds seen here are the peregrine falcon, northern harrier, and red-tailed hawk. A one-mile path leads to the viewing areas, but bring your boots since it’s often muddy. The best viewing time is one hour before and one hour after high tide.
© Ericka Chickowski from Moon Washington, 8th edition