Tan­taliz­ing This­tle

Country - - FRESH AIR - TONY ATTANASIO Pine­top, Ari­zona

Hu­mans are not fond of this­tles and usu­ally try to avoid be­ing in con­tact with them in the field. They are full of spiny, thorny and brit­tle branches and can leave nasty scratches. This foul plant, how­ever, is a tan­taliz­ing at­trac­tion to many small fly­ing crea­tures in the sum­mer months. This­tles grow wild in some of the most in­hos­pitable places. Though hik­ers aren’t at­tracted to them, hum­ming­birds, sphinx moths, but­ter­flies and the lesser finches find the plants al­lur­ing. I found an abun­dance of this­tles in bloom bor­der­ing a lake in Show Low, Ari­zona. I spent a good deal of time ob­serv­ing the ac­tiv­ity around th­ese wild plants. Af­ter some time I set up my cam­era gear and com­mit­ted to pa­tiently sit­ting in the warm sum­mer sun. I was re­warded with close-up in­ter­ac­tion with a num­ber of fly­ing lit­tle crea­tures, es­pe­cially hum­ming­birds. I plan to seek out th­ese this­tles again, cap­ture more pho­tos to trea­sure, and en­joy the ac­tiv­ity of th­ese crea­tures as well.

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