It's remarkable really.
Stick 'em in a tin can and chuck it 40,000 feet into the air, roar across three time zones, fortified only by airline food, beer, movies and a bit more beer.
Spit 'em out on the other side of the world in stultifying temperatures and off they go, guided across a new land only by the reassuring voice of Homer Simpson on the satnav, and driven by the urge to see a frosty white peep with the daftest bill this side of the Pecos.
We landed in Bangkok on January 12th, having flown Tropical Airways (marketing slogan "what goes up, must come down") from Manchester via Abu Dhabi.
It felt like we'd been in the air forever.
We picked up a Toyota Fortuner from Hertz and joined the demolition derby traffic south west out of this amazing city, picking up ticks like nobody's business along the way - Openbill Stork, Black Drongo, Pied Fantail, bulbuls, swiftlets etc - it was my first time in Asia, so even the common roadside stuff was new.
Now the sharp-eyed will have noticed only three birders in the pic above (Bazzo, Trops and Neill), which meant as I was taking the pic, we were a man down before we'd even started.
Yup, it's safe to say Mike Stocker will never leave the passport hunt till the night before flying ever again.
To be fair to Mike it could happen to anyone (???), and if it makes him feel any better, we almost lost Trops to an alluring vodka promotion in the duty free at Manchester...
These things happen in a well-oiled unit.
Past massive three-headed elephant statues, wats and chedis, the urban sprawl of Bangkok gradually gave way to more agricultural scenery, rice paddies and salt pans as we neared Pak Thale and its fabled wader pans.
The waterland of pans, mud and scrub held Brahminy Kite, egrets and herons galore and plenty of commoner kingfishers like White Breasted (Smirnoff race) and Collared.
We pulled off the narrow road at Pak Thale way down in Petchaburi province by about 1230, with hopes high and a vast horizon of broiling saltpans stretching out before us to infinity.
At least the signs were encouraging.
Despite the heat, the pans were stuffed with wonderful waders - familiar Curlew Sands, Wood and Green Sands, Greenshank, Blackwits and Kentish Plover were joined by numerous Red Necked Stints, Broad Billed Sands, lovely Long Toed Stints (below), Great Knot, and Pacific Golden Plover.
A Far Eastern Curlew was with 150+ Eurasian Curlew in the shimmer, its bill so long it almost touched the mud, so much more striking than even the long billed race of our bird.
When the flock took off it looked larger and darker, with a dark rump - a good bird to connect with.
Greater and Lesser Sandplovers scurried about, but a Peregrine spooked everything once or twice making the hunt for Mr Spoonface that much harder.
Kinda surreal scoping thro' such quality peepage but only checking the bills before moving onto the next bird.
A tense hour and a half ended when Neill calmly announced "Spoony" a few feet down the bund from me.
And there it was - a fine winter plumage Spoon Billed Sandpiper feeding and preening amongst peeps and sandplovers about 100ft away on the mud.
Great 'scope views, but lousy conditions for digiscoping this remarkable little wader.
A very small wader, with Sanderling-white plumage and strikingly dark ear coverts, it was surprising how its ridiculous bill could be hard to pick out against the mud as it whizzed about looking for food.
Once it stopped though and you got a good look at the beezer, well, what can I say...enigmatic is as enigmatic does.
Long may it continue to spoon around these lagoons.
With the little big boy safely tucked away in our pants, we headed down the coast to Mr Daeng's, where we booked a boat out to the Laem Pak Bia sandspit for the following afternoon.
The charming Mr Daeng was more than helpful and with arrangements made we got back to birding, heading to the nearby King's Project, where once we'd given a nice man Neill's driving licence as surety, we were able to check the network of dust tracks through mangroves and pans - Water Monitors allowing.
The site was excellent for commoner species, and with plenty of posts at the water's edge it was a photographer's dream.
Shame I'm not a photographer....
Black Drongo, Little Cormorant and Chinese Pond Heron were joined by corking Red Wattled Plover, Intermediate Egret and even a few Pintail Snipe, sitting amongst the grassy banks with Black Winged Stilts and pond herons.
We squeezed in a bit more birding around the rubbish dump and pans 7 clicks down the road from Had Chao Samran, where we were crashing for the first night.
Ruddy Shelducks, Plain Backed Sparrow, Eastern Yellow Wags and Peaceful Doves made up for the stench of the tip, which I suspect made even the Green Bee-Eater's eyes water.
We drifted the short distance back to the Pakarang Guest House and after a shower, enjoyed a stunning evening of 6.4% Chang beer, superb sea-food and the sort of frankly unnecessary mullarkey we have become notorious for in the western world.
I surprised to see the "Land of Smiles" was still smiling when we got up the next morning - seems Thai folk are mighty tolerant.
Hangovers on hold, we went out hammer the saltpans again on 13-1-13, with more goodies including Marsh Sands, Thick Billed Warbler, Black Browed Reed Warbler, Paddyfield Pipits scampering about the red dust of the tracks, and Rufescent Prinia and Bright Capped Cisticola in the scrub.
Back to Mr Daeng's for midday and all aboard his launch, which put-put-putted gently through the mangroves and out to the Laem Pak Bia sand spit, as idyllic a birding spot as I've visited.
Bright white sand and clear blue waters, with waders gulls and terns galore to play with.
Nobody there but us and quite wonderfully a bird that doesn't exist.
White Faced Plover is one of those oddities that Thai birders are rightly pushing for separate sp status - clearly too big for Kentish or Malaysian Plovers, with a big bold eye and bill, barely a shoulder patch and a Persil white face.
The sandspit is one of the most reliable places to see it, and sure enough we were onto a female fairly quickly thanks to the patient gudiance of Mr D.
It dwarved nearby Kentish and Malaysian Plovers and if truth be told struck me as more like a Gtr Sandplover than a Kentish.
A male watched us from the other side of the spit - much whiter than the female, you can just make it out on the greyer sand in this long range shot, and even its big staring eye is discernable.
The spit wasn't just good for metaphysical birding - there were plenty of fully recognised and long established species too, with a cracking Chinese Egret amongst the Greats and Littles, and a tern roost which held Caspian, Great Crested, Little, Gull Billed, Common and Whiskered.
Brown Eyed Gulls floated in and out as the warm waters of the Gulf of Thailand lapped the sand.
Three cheers and a fistful of baht for Mr Daeng.
Job done we headed west towards Kaeng Krachan National Park for four nights, but that stuff'll have to wait for another day.
We did return to the Pak Thale area on the morning of 17-1-13 as we needed to score Nordmann's Greenshank and did just that on the saltpans at Km7, where five of these pallid waders lurked in a roost of Grey and Pacific Golden Plovers and Great Knot.
Smaller than Greenshank, with a smaller bill and much, much paler.
They stood out starkly white in the roost.
Took a bit of shimmying out onto the pans away from the dirt track to get reasonable views of the birds, but we managed it without spooking 'em and returned to the wheels happy we'd given the area a good seeing to.
Full Bangkok-Pak Thale list to follow.
Eyes to the skies everyone, eyes to the skies...
Bangkok-Pak Thale area:
Openbill Stork, Common Myna, White Vented Myna, Barn Swallow, Asian Palm Swift, Little Egret, Great Egret, Asian Koel, Red Collared Dove, Feral Pigeon, Little Cormorant, Large Billed Crow, Germain's Swiftlet, Brown Shrike, Whiskered Tern, Black Winged Stilt, Oriental Magpie Robin, Chinese Pond Heron, House Sparrow, Tree Sparrow, Plain Backed Sparrow, Purple Heron, Black Drongo, Spotted Dove, Javan Pond Heron, Little Grebe, Wood Sandpiper, Spotted Redshank, Black Kite, "Govinda" Black Kite, Brahminy Kite, Brown Headed Gull, Black Capped Kingfisher, Ashy Drongo, Red Whiskered Bulbul, Greenshank, Kentish Plover, Long Toed Stint, Pacific Golden Plover, Redshank, Red Necked Stint, Curlew Sandpiper, Green Sandpiper, Caspian Tern, Little Tern, Little Ringed Plover, Lesser Crested Tern, Far Eastern Curlew, Eurasian Curlew, Lesser Sandplover, Greater Sandplover, Broad Billed Sandpiper, Sanderling, Peregrine, Black Tailed Godwit, Great Knot, Spoon Billed Sandpiper, Indian Cormorant, Terek Sandpiper, Black Headed Gull, Gull Billed Tern, Collared Kingfisher, Paddyfield Pipit, White Breasted Kingfisher, Asian Pied Starling, Common Sandpiper, Red Wattled Lapwing, Pied Fantail, Striated Heron, Intermediate Egret, Greater Coucal, White Breasted Waterhen, White Shouldered Starling, Painted Stork, Green Bee-Eater, Eastern Yellow Wagtail, Ruddy Shelduck, Cattle Egret, Marsh Sandpiper, Grey Heron, Thick Billed Warbler, Grey Breasted Prinia, Black Browed Reed Warbler, Grey Plover, Rufescent Prinia, Common Kingfisher, Bright Capped Cisticola, Dusky Warbler, Streak Eared Bulbul, Pacific Reef Heron, Chinese Egret, Malaysian Plover, "White Faced Plover", Common Tern, Great Crested Tern, Himalayan Swiftlet, Avocet, Nordmann's Greenshank, Garganey.