Illawarra bird lovers and conservationists turned "citizen scientists" yesterday as they took part in a survey aimed at recording migratory bird numbers around Lake Illawarra.
Members of several groups including the Illawarra Birders Club, Wetland Carers Network (WCN) and Conservation Volunteers teamed up to mark World Wetland Day with a walk-through of the lake's transitory wetland habitats, home to different species of wader birds.
Wader birds are traditionally recognised by their long, thin beaks and legs. They are most commonly found foraging for food along the shoreline in wetland habitats.
WCN program officer Adam Woods said the survey, conducted by 26 volunteers, aimed to record the different species of wader birds found around the lake.
Among those spotted yesterday were red capped pluvers, crested terns, red necked stints and a variety of gulls and cormorants, he said.
The data collected will be included in the ongoing Shorebirds 2020 project, a national conservation and research program to monitor population trends.
Mr Woods said World Wetland Day was a time to be reminded of the importance of conserving wetland ecosystems.
"Wetlands act like kidneys for our waterways," he said.