The females of the deep South have a reputation for beauty, charm and politeness. I’ve now encountered a few.
The waitress at the Dunes restaurant at breakfast today called me ‘Honey’ as I ate my eggs (medium, sunny side up)), grits (my first time – I was until today a grits-virgin) and hot cakes ((just another name for pancakes to confuse the English) more times that I recall ever being called it before.
The old lady running a gas station somewhere where I was lost was very helpful in directing me to where I needed to be without making me feel a fool.
But today there were females all over me – they were very attentive. They all wanted a piece of me and actually bit. Some of them needed a good slapping. But, in a stable door and bolting horse sort of way, I now do have mosquito repellent.
I woke at 6 when the alarm went off – a legacy of a former resident of my motel room but a useful time to awake. And I was on Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge by 7. I’ve been there before and it’s great. The shorebirds mixed the familiar (Dunlin, Turnstone, Grey Plover) with the less familiar (including Willet, Marbled Godwit and Short-billed Dowitcher). A ruff flew past and was probably a ‘good’ record but didn’t excite me as much as the late-staying Iceland Gull and Bufflehead, the Louisiana Herons or the Black Skimmers.
The thing that drove away the mosquitoes was the rain which started early enough for me to be ‘Honeyed’ at breakfast before heading off to try to see what black bears do in the woods but I am none the wiser as they were doing it out of sight of me.
But I did see Wild Turkeys and several most amazing and lovely Prothonatory Warblers (what a name!). These yellow-headed warblers inhabit mosquito-ridden swamps (such as at Alligator River – didn’t see any alligators either) but are so beautiful that the bites are worth it.
I will now go to bed thinking about southern belles – or at least I’ll be scratching my mosquito bites.
Today’s soundtrack: Frank Sinatra and a compilation of ‘American anthems’.