HOQUIAM, Wash. - Thousand of eco-tourists and birders from around the world will flock to Grays Harbor County to view one of the world’s great natural spectacles. In late April, millions of migrating shorebirds will be feeding in the county’s expansive saltwater mudflats and marshes during a stopover on their long flight from South America to Arctic breeding grounds.
Turning and diving in perfectly choreographed flight, the shorebirds take off and wing in unison when eagles and falcons dive into the marsh to snag a meal. It’s a spectacular show that shouldn’t be missed.
Highlights of the festival include a firsthand view of the show on guided tours led by bird experts along the Sandpiper trail. World-renowned digiscoper Clay Taylor, a naturalist market manager at Swarovski Optiks will describe the highlights of “Team Swarovski's Texas Birding Challenge” win in 2012. In addition, Taylor a representative of the Austrian optics company will discuss “Digiscoping 101”, a fun extension of how to use an optical telescope with a digital camera.
A banquet and live auction on Saturday night is an important fundraising event for the festival. Proceeds are used to fund the next festival and fund the AmeriCorps position at the Grays Harbor National Wildlife Refuge.
Income from the Grays Harbor Shorebird Festival also helps fund school education programs and scientific research at the refuge. Established in 1990 by Congress to protect this important shorebird habitat, the refuge encompasses more than 1,500 acres of tidal mudflats, salt marshes and uplands.
For more information on the Grays Harbor Shorebird Festival with a full calendar of events, field trips, lectures and the banquet, visit the website at www.shorebirdfestival.com