Every week from September to February volunteers up and down the Far South Coast meet at designated spots to count endangered shorebirds, their eggs and chicks.
They are part of the South Coast Shorebird Recovery Program, which was established by NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) in 1999.
A coordinator works out of the Narooma NPWS office covering from Batemans Bay to the Victorian border.
The program was implemented to reduce the rate of decline of threatened shorebirds and to help bird numbers recover by assisting breeding success.
Rebecca Rudd is one of the volunteers who monitor three endangered bird species at Wallaga Lake: the little tern, hooded plover and pied oystercatcher.
"We go out once a week and count the birds as best we can and if we find any nests we mark them.
"There are usually two eggs and we record when they hatch and when they fledge," Ms Rudd said.
Their bird count data goes directly into a database run by NSW NPWS.
Why the birds are endangered
Each year these migratory shorebirds take the Australasian Flyway from around the Arctic Circle in Alaska and Siberia.
On the way they may stop to rest or refuel in the fertile habitat of the Yellow Sea that is bordered by North and South Korea and China.
Ms Rudd said the bird numbers are declining as feeding grounds in that area are lost to new manufacturing plants.
When the birds arrive in Australia they are at risk from dogs, foxes, jet skis and people being irresponsible in their nesting grounds.
"There is only the tiniest dip in the sand so it is very easy to tread on the nests," Ms Rudd said.
"It is really easy to damage the nests and eggs and spook the birds."
She said it isn't hard to wipe out a colony of the threatened birds.
Plus there are natural forces at play.
"You just need a bit of rough weather and a high king tide and their nests get washed out."
Ms Rudd said the most important thing we can do to protect the birds and ensure they breed successfully is to respect the signs.
She said there is a very short time before the chicks hatch and when they fledge and are able to fly.
"It happens very quickly because they are very vulnerable on the spit," Ms Rudd said.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can access our trusted content: