2021 Bird List

Below are 2021 survey reports from the Grays Harbor NWR Wildlife Biologist and Refuge Volunteers. Surveys are conducted every few days during shorebird migration. All surveys are begun 2.5-3 hrs before predicted peak tide height and for about 2 hours after and are conducted along the Sandpiper Trail at the Refuge. For more information about tides and shorebird viewing, click here.

These are the surveys from this year. Thanks to all who helped.

Grays Harbor NWR on eBird

SH Survey 5/16/21 (16:00-18:45)

Certainly on the tail end of migration for some species, but the Red Knots are in their prime.

Black-bellied Plover- 30

Semipalmated Plover- 50

Dunlin- 225

Western Sandpiper- 1275

Red Knot- 860

Whimbrel- 31

Unknown shorebirds- 300

SB Survey 5/9/21 (11:20-13:50)

The number of birds are decreasing, but there are still plenty of birds for viewing. Tide was 0.3 ft lower than predicted (8.5 ft at 13:00), which pushed the shorebirds close for viewing. Mini moon island was close to full inundation, but birds remained on island through high tide cycle. Migration is winding down, make sure to visit soon!

Black-bellied Plover- 11

Semipalmated Plover- 155

Dunlin- 900

Western Sandpiper- 1550

Yellowlegs spp.- 5

Whimbrel- 5

Unknown shorebirds- 350

SB survey 5/5/21 (7:15-10:00)

Red Knots are migrating! The high tide was 8.0 ft at 9:00 am, which meant a lot of mudflat for birds to feed. Able to view Mini Moon island with morning sun, about 100 Red Knots, 20 Black-bellied Plovers, and 100+ Caspian Terms were on obsevered with another 2500 smaller shorebirds on the island.

Black-bellied Plover- 22

Semipalmated Plover- 400

Dunlin- 5450

Western Sandpiper- 4450

Least Sandpiper- 1 (likely more)

Dowitcher spp.- 4

Yellowlegs spp.- 6

Whimbrel- 6

Unknown shorebirds- 2500

GH Shorebird Survey 5/2/21 (17:20-20:10)

Great evening for shorebird viewing as afternoon sun provides good lighting for viewing birds on mudflat. Tide was fair, it was ~0.4 ft lower than predicted (8.3 ft @ 19:15), however birds were actively feeding. Total estimate of shorebirds was ~18,500; a majority of them were visible from the boardwalk.


Western Sandpiper- 6100

Least Sandpiper- 7

Semipalmated Plover- 260

Dowitcher spp.- 2

Yellowlegs spp.-2

Unknown shorebirds (too far to identify)- 5000

GH Shorebird Survey 4/28/21 (12:45-16:30)

Excellent day for viewing shorebirds! Total estimate 23500 shorebirds, 9 species observed. Tide came in as predicted and covered Mini Moon Island, pushing birds right in front of boardwalk (~2 hrs before high tide). During high tide, birds lined up on log for great photo opportunities. Many birds left at high tide, but ~12,000 returned as tide receded. Peregrine falcon active in afternoon, caught shorebird in front of several visitors.

Black-bellied Plover- 4

Semipalmated Plover- 200

Dunlin- 10350

Western Sandpiper- 12650

Least Sandpiper- 300

Dowitcher spp.- 1

Yellowlegs spp.- 1

Whimbrel- 4

Marbled Godwit- 1

GH Shorebird Survey 4/25/21 (09:16-13:47)

Great viewing as the tide pushed the birds towards the boardwalk. Total estimate of shorebirds ~14,000. Low pressure system causing the tide to come in quicker/higher than predicted.

Black-bellied Plover- 4

Semipalmated Plover- 174

Dunlin- 3393

Western Sandpiper- 5133

Least Sandpiper- 150

Dowitcher spp.- 1

Yellowlegs spp.- 8

Whimbrel- 16

Long-billed Curlew- 1

Unknown Shorebirds (mostly Dunlin and Western Sandpiper)- 4500

Peregrine Falcon Photo by Ryan Munes

GH Shorebird Survey 4/23/21 (08:04-11:20)

Birds are on the move! Total estimate of all shorebirds ~23,000! Tide was ~0.5 ft lower than predicted (8.9 ft). Peregrine Falcon was observed hunting shorebirds.

Black-bellied Plover- 200

Semipalmated Plover- 335

Dunlin- 2340

Western Sandpiper- 1375

Least Sandpiper- 605

Dowitcher spp.- 70

Yellowleg spp.- 3

Whimbrel- 7

Marbled Godwit- 9

Unknown Shorebirds (mostly Dunlin and Western Sandpiper)- 17850

GH Shorebird Survey 4/21/21 (6:30-9:30)

Total estimate of all shorebirds ~8,000 birds. High Tide (8.3 ft) didn’t cover Mini Moon Island, so many birds remained on island through high tide (too far to identify). Peregrine was present and hunting shorebirds!

Black-bellied plover- 106


Western Sandpiper- 200

Semipalmated Plover- 50

Dowitcher- 47

Greater Yellowlegs-1

Unknown shorebirds (too far to identify)- 4550

Other highlights- singing yellow-rumped warbler and weasel hunting along the spur trail. long tailed weasel drawing

video of weasel

GH Shorebird Survey 4/18/21 (17:00-19:30)

Overall, nice weather. Temps were ~60 F in beginning of survey. Winds were 4-7 mph out of the west. The tide was low and about 0.5 ft lower than predicted (7.4 ft @ 19:00)- so lots of mud flat in Greater Grays Harbor.

Black-belled Plover- 58

Semipalmated Plover- 11

Dunlin- 490

Western Sandpiper- 2

Least Sandpiper- 14

Greater Yellowlegs-1

Unknown Shorebirds- 50

Other Bird Highlights- Greater White-fronted Goose (9), Orange-crowned warbler, Yellow-rumped warbler (Myrtle)

GH Shorebird Survey 4/16/21 (15:15-18:00)

On the front end of migration, not a lot of activity, but shorebirds were present.
Tide was fair today (8.1 ft at 17:12), but lots of mudflats still exposed in the greater Grays Harbor area.

Black-bellied Plover- 3

Dunlin- 1

Whimbrel- 3

Dowitcher species- 1

Greater Yellowlegs- 1

Unknown Large Shorebirds- 300 (on Mini Moon Island)

Other Bird Highlights: 58 Sandhill Cranes flew over, 20 Caspian Terns (1 banded), 15 Bonaparte's Gull, Bald Eagle, Osprey, and Stellar's Jays

Sanderling Photo by Michael Schramm