We got into the car and headed to the local park. While sitting cozy in the warm car, I opened Handbook of Nature and read the section about thistles (page 524). While reading, I decided I had gone to the wrong park, because the thistles need to be undisturbed for two years to flower, and looking around I determined the park I had gone to was too well manicured to have first-year thistles, let alone two-year-old thistles in flower...
So we got back in the car and went to a different, closer to nature park, which turned out to be perfect. There were thistles everywhere!
After investigating thistle specimines available, we walked a ways down the path. I photographed other notable wildflowers:
My son found this area to be a haven for grass hoppers, and quickly grabbed a trash cup out of the car to collect as many as he could catch! Some of these grass hoppers were 3" long! Those big ones wouldn't sit still for their photograph, though. But this one sat for a photograph:
Having the gloves, because of the thistle hunt, was actually so helpful! My son was able to pounce on whatever grasshopper or spider he wanted to.
We also saw, very close up, a turkey vulture. But, unfortunately, when the bird was close my camera was ready, and when my camera was ready, the bird refused to come back. Go figure.
I also saw some deer, but they didn't get close enough for me to photograph. Also, there was an amazing little bird that kept teasing me. We thought at first he was a humming bird, but he wasn't. He was small, green, with gray stripes on his wings. He wouldn't stay still for me to photograph, and blended in so well that half the time when I could see him with my eyes I still couldn't find him through the viewfinder of my camera. I don't know if I could actually identify him if I found him in a book or on the web, but I might try.
So, we had a very nice nature walk, starting with the thistles. Looking forward to next week already!