Right next to the thistle was another plant the butterflies and bees love: Dogbane. This species is called Hemp Dogbane, and like all dogbanes it is related to the milkweeds. Both groups ooze a milky sap if you break them (hence the name 'milkweed'), and both groups are candy for birds and butterflies.
Here are some native flowers in bloom today along the Shelton Lakes Recreation Path between Pine Lake and Silent Waters (see www.sheltontrails.org for more info on the path). This is the section that was just upgraded to handicapped-accessibility standards. The top photo is field thistle. Did you know there are many species of thistles? I did not. This particular one not only was covered with bees, but a hummingbird came in while I was taking this photo. Alas, he was too quick for me to get a picture. This was on the dam above Silent Waters.
Tradition holds that there was an Indian in New England named Joe Pye that used the plant for medicinal purposes.