The flight landed early, giving us in theory even more time to begin birding on our first morning. Even passing Zebra Doves and Common Mynas as we approached the van, with Asian Palm Swifts overhead, seemed the portent of a good start. This didn't take the health of the relatively new engine into account, however, and it was probably a defective air filter that landed us in a garage for over an hour while we waited for the replacement van. Making the best of a bad situation, and with the noise of the busy traffic as a backdrop, we strode around the forecourt for our tenure, and picked up one or two common local specialities, such as Brown Shrike, Red Collared Dove, and Yellow-vented Bulbul. We dragged ourselves away to be taken to a temple area on the banks of the river, where various terns, mainly Black-naped, passed by. The river is fairly wide here, and shows a constant flow of maritime traffic, with noisy berths on the quays. The couple of temples we looked around were just set back from this, with one in particular the home for a small colony of Germain's Swiftlets. Clinging to the walls of the interior of the building like limpets, some vulnerable birds had fallen into the care of one of the staff. The tiny area of trees in front of the temples held common fayre. Perhaps most exciting of the birds around here were a noisy group of five Collared Kingfishers rampaging along the docks a little further up, near to the restaurant we would return to later for lunch.
A short drive following the river found the Environmental Research and Development Project. This holds one of the numerous open collections of lagoons, a reasonable sized area of mangroves, and a tidal flat area which holds a large expanse of exposed mud. Most obvious life were the HUGE Mudskippers, many of which were at least 30cm long. Many of these found favour with the dining Black-capped & Collared Kingfishers. Pied Fantails were obvious by sound and sight in the mangroves themselves, but it was a small group of Golden-bellied Gerygones which sang and played near to the reception. The exposed mud at low tide held by far the most birds, the main problem being that they were some distance away. It was tempting to identify some of the waders at this distance, but we refrained and called out sandplovers, Eastern Curlew, and the obvious Javan Pond Herons amongst others. A single Fulvous-breasted Woodpecker was an easy ID being not far from the jetty where we stood.
After lunch, we plyed the hour or so further south-west to the town of Petchaburi, where the van pulled up alongside a rather grandish looking establishment, although not for us the comfort therein, since we were going to spend some time wandering the open area of dryish scrubby fields bisected by the drive/track. Oriental Skylarks and Paddyfield Pipits were intially the most obvious sight and sound here, but the few ponds on the fields held some interesting waders. They were also a little damp, so muddied up our walking shoes no bother. Most interesting birds here were Oriental Pratincoles, which kept their distance, a handful of Long-toed Stints, and a few Long-billed Plovers. The whole area is obviously a grazing area for the scrawny cattle which we saw, and they had churned up even the drier areas at some time to make the walking interesting.
Last stop was to be a very interesting hour or so at the nearby open lagoons. A permit had to be negotiated to gain entrance, but the initial sight of the late afternoon sun highlighting a sizeable gathering of Brown-headed Gulls and lesser numbers of Black-winged Stilts was impressive. We spent much of the time up until dusk scouring a 50 metre section of track, where there were good shows put on by a trio of Pied Fantails, good numbers of White-vented & Pied Mynas, and White-shouldered Starlings, and a host of waders on the lagoons. The action only increased as the sun slinked away. Good numbers of Black Drongos kept appearing from behind us, and collected along one of the lagoon tracks. The starlings and mynas continued to play in the weakening light, and a pair of Plain Prinas were unearthed near to the bushes. The last show of the day was equally impressive, dealt by the sight of hundreds of flying foxes leaving their daytime roosts and passing overhead.