The appearance of rare birds at the Shell Cove boat harbour construction site has prompted Shellharbour City Council and Australand to delay building a section of a three-metre-high earth noise barrier.
In recent weeks Illawarra bird-watching groups have spotted a number of rare and endangered birds in the Shellharbour Swamp area, including the endangered painted snipe and several migratory birds including Latham's snipe and the pectoral sandpiper.
A council spokeswoman said to accommodate the migratory birds, Shellharbour Council and Australand sought approval from authorities to delay the north-eastern segment of the wall until the threatened species migrated in April, while allowing works to continue some distance away from that section of the bund wall.
This pond area and swamp, once part of the former council rubbish tip site, will eventually be filled in as part of the approved boat harbour development, but will be used as part of the water management process during the early stages of construction.
Michelle Rower, who is a member of the Illawarra Birders and the Illawarra Bird Observers Club, said she was delighted.
The sightings, particularly of the painted snipe, had created a buzz among local bird watchers.
"The Latham's snipe will likely migrate between February and mid-March and the pectoral sandpipers will hang around for another month," Ms Rower said.
"The painted snipe pops up in different places so you don't really know how long it will stay, but hopefully it will be gone by the time they start constructing the wall."