The National Parks and Wildlife Service manages the South Coast Shorebird Recovery Program through their Ulladulla offices. Jodie Dunn is the program manager and co-ordinates many volunteers throughout the south coast region. Colin Ashford has been the dedicated Lake Conjola site warden for some 9 years. Colin's work starts in August each year and he is kept busy throughout the nesting season which finishes around late February.
The critically endangered shorebird species are the Little Tern, a migratory bird from as far away as Asia, North Siberia, Korea & Japan, the Pied Oyster Catchers and Hooded Plover, both native birds.
Col has combined his love of the ocean, surfing and fishing interests with his volunteer work in protecting our shorebirds as he sees this work provided him with the opportunity to put something back into the environment.
Col says the thing he enjoys the most is "seeing the birds make it through all those critical periods with the tides, strong winds, surviving 45 Degree days. They go through so much effort to be successful. It is really rewarding to see them all lined up on the beach then taking off and disappear for another year."
"These birds are really endangered and their numbers have decreased over the years due largely to the increase in visitor population. These birds choose to nest around entrances of rivers and estuaries because of the abundance of food for when the chicks hatch. They love that spot and so do we. We all congregate together at the same time. Nesting birds and people don't mix."
Col says "the shorebird program has come a long way since it started. We are bringing about an awareness of the bird's and where they nest. Better education and a better understanding by members of the public and people might take a little more care with their dogs and presence on the beach."
"However, I think we are fighting a loosing battle as the increasing population is never going to stop but at the same time if we don't do what we are doing then they are faced with extinction."