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Introduction

Well I have finally decided to take the leap and record my orchid travels, discoveries and photos in a BLOG

Well I have finally decided to take the leap and record my orchid travels, discoveries and photos in a BLOG so that others may choose to join in my adventures, looking for what I feel are an amazing family of flowering plants that have so many varieties, colours, shapes and sizes that one can not help but be amazed by them. In Western Australia there are two distinct areas that native orchids are found. The South West of Western Australia and in the north starting in the Kimberley.  My BLOG will focus on the South West terrestrial orchids due to the massive size of my home state of Western Australia.

Orchidaceae is the family name in scientific speak however I will be using the common name of “Orchid” in my posts. In Western Australia the South West orchid territory ranges from  Shark Bay in the Midwest  on a diagonal line to Kalgoorlie in the Goldfields and eastwards to Eyre on the Nullarbor plain including the entire South West,  Great Southern, South Coastal and Wheatbelt regions.

In this Southern region 28 different genera and over 400 species are found with many yet to be formally named, so as you can imagine tracking down all of these will provide years of adventures for me to fill up my BLOG.

Please note I am a self-taught amateur in Orchid location, Orchid identification and Orchid photography so I would ask for your understanding if I may get it wrong, and would appreciate your feedback, notes and comments to help this little BLOG grow and develop just as my wonderful Orchids do in this great state of Western Australia.

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Cowslip Orchids (Caladenia flava subsp. flava)

Road Trip – Day 16 – Arrino to Petrudor

16/9/2017

From our camp in Arrino we back track west then south to Hydraulic Road where we make our first stop of the day. Nothing found so we drive further east to a creek crossing then stop for another look. Wow there are so many Purple enamel orchids (Elythranthera brunonis) and then on the other side of the creek Deb finds some Cowslip orchids (Caladenia flava subsp. flava). 

This was also the area we were directed to find some spider orchids. Spent Pterostylis found first then some spider orchids well passed their best.

So back to Three Springs to fuel up and onwards through Carnamah to Bunjil. Turning south we travel through Latham and make a orchid hunting stop at Buntine Rock. We park the Triton and make our way to the rock by foot. Lemon-scented sun orchids (Thelymitra antennifera) are the first to be found , quickly followed by many small Donkey orchids. They appear to be Pale donkey orchids (Diuris sp. ‘mid-north’) as they are very pale in colour and small in size.

Other donkey orchids found that I am unable to name. They did not fit the description given to the two species that are recorded from around these parts.

Confusing aspects such as : More colourful;  lateral sepals that hang rather than being reflexed; reflexed or upright petals; upright dorsal sepal. Pictures posted as evidence of these variations.

Our next orchid hunting stop was at Miamoon Reserve, which is southwest of Wubin. We walked around this flat granite outcrop which still had some wet areas which allowed us to find a new species for this trip. First up though were more donkey orchids which now appear to be Dainty donkey orchids (Diuris refracta), which flower late July to early September between Bindoon and Northampton. Also found were more Lemon-scented sun orchids.

The new species found is Common bee orchid (Diuris decrementa) which flowers from late August to early November in an area from North of Perth to Esperance. We must be in the northern margins of its territory.

Final orchids found for the day were some spent Little laughing leek orchids and more Lemon-scented sun orchids.

We then made tracks heading south through Dalwallinu and turning east at Pithara. Finally we turn south down Petrudor Rd and make camp at Petrudor Rock. Before the sun sets we go for a walk around the rock but find no orchids.

6 species flowering with 3 other s past their prime. Not too bad a day.

Road Trip – Day 15 – Canna to Arrino

15/9/2017

After breakfast I take a little walk around our campsite in Canna and finally find some orchids. It has been many days since we left Charles Darwin Reserve where the last orchids found were located. Pale donkey orchid (Diuris sp. ‘mid-north’) appears to be the orchid found, with only a few scattered individuals encountered. These orchids flower late August to late September and are found between Moora and Mingenew. Canna being only 60kms NW of Mingenew.

We say our goodbyes to Richard at the Canna Hall, then before heading off, we decide to take the Wildflower walk to Canna Church Rock. First up were more donkey orchids but then we find some Dainty blue orchids (Cyanicula amplexans). At the rock picnic area we come across some Lemon scented sun orchids (Thelymitra antennifera) and some Cowslip orchids (Caladenia flava subsp. flava), plus more donkey orchids.

After the walk we had awesome showers for a donation, then made our way south to Bilya Rock. No real parking area, so we pull alongside the track as best we could with camper trailer in tow. Onto the rock and the only colour immediately visible is Yellow. Lemon-scented sun orchids, Pale donkey orchids and Cowslip orchids were found. Some of the donkey orchids could be Dainty donkey orchids due to the reflexed petals however it is very difficult to tell.

We checked out War Rock which was surrounded by paddocks, so was overrun with weeds. Time to make tracks for Three Springs as we had to get to the bank. We also took the time to have another counter lunch, this time at the Commercial Hotel. We asked for orchid locations at the Tourist bureau and was given a map with places marked for possible sightings, however the lady informed us it has not been a great year and things flowered earlier than usual this season. We made our way around Dookanooka Nature Reserve and was lucky enough to find some Cowslip orchids early on, then much later some Purple enamel orchids (Elythanthera brunonis). First for this season as they flower August to early November on a large range from Kalbarri to Israelite Bay.

Nothing else found so we make tracks to Arrino for our next overnight camp.               Only 5 known species found today, which was a slow start to our orchid hunting as we move south away from the dry north.

Road Trip – Day 9 – Day 14 Charles Darwin Reserve to Canna

9/9 After checking out of Charles Darwin Reserve we make one more trip to the spot on the track to Mongers Well, to see if the sun orchid had finally flowered. Yeehah it has. It is very small Granite sun orchid (Thelymitra petrophila). Nearby is another one not 100% open, but a darker colouring, so I took photos of it as well.

I couldn’t pass up some last photos of a Dainty blue orchid (Cyanicula amplexans)

First day we travelled North up to Paynes Find before heading East towards Sandstone. We camped just off  the road this night.

10/9 In the morning, Deb and Richard tried their hand at some prospecting using a very old metal detector. We lunched at the National Hotel in Sandstone, then after filling up our water tanks, we took the tourist loop around Sandstone before heading West to our next overnight stop at Jundoo Dam on the road to Mount Magnet.

11/9 After stopping at Paynesville cemetery we made it to Mount Magnet for an awesome hot beef roll in the Grand Hotel. After a visit to the Dept of Mines for maps etc to help with the prospecting, we take the tourist route with a planned overnight stop at Garden Rock, near Cue.

12/9 After a walk over the granite rock we head into Cue to check out the town. Very nice old buildings but very empty streets. We now head south looking for the spot we picked from the maps for some prospecting. After having a go finding gold mid afternoon, we find at place to camp for the next 2 nights.

13/9 Deb and Richard have a day gold detecting nearby, whilst I remain at camp. Writing notes for this blog and just relaxing.

14/9 Today Deb and Richard show me some of the areas they visited yesterday and then we make tracks for Yalgoo and further south, Canna for our overnight stop.

Fingers crossed we find some more orchids soon as I’m getting withdrawal pains!!!

Road Trip – Day 8 – Charles Darwin Reserve

8/9/2017

We were to tackle the Windy Well Walk today, however we were advised by some volunteers who are clearing weeds from the reserve, that there are no wildflowers let alone orchids in that area, so we have decided to have a rest day around camp.

No findings to report, on a final full day at Charles Darwin Reserve.

Road Trip Day 7 – Camel Soak

7/9/2017

As Charles Darwin Reserve is proving to be very light on orchids this year we have decided to take a day trip to Camel Soak which is to the west. Last year it was a place we found many different species so fingers crossed for this year.

At Lake Monger lookout, on Rabbit-proof Fence Road, just off Wanarra East Road the first orchid found was the  Dainty blue orchid (Cyanicula amplexans). However in the breakaway we also found many sun orchids yet to open fully.

Travelling down Rabbit-proof Fence Rd we turn East and arrive at Camel Soak. This granite catchment, also known as The Rock Hole was sunk as a watering point for men and their camel teams working on the No 2 Rabbit Proof Fence from 1903 to 1905.

Now to search for some orchids! The Yellow granite donkey orchid (Diuris hazeliae) is found all around the granite outcrop which is wonderful to see.

I stumble across a new orchid for this far north. Pink candy orchid (Caladenia hirta)All alone but still a different species finally.

More Donkey orchids and Dainty blue orchids found

Another species found in good numbers. Cowslip orchid (Caladenia flava sp. flava)

Richard then spies a Little laughing leek orchid (Prasophyllum gracile) and further specimens are found.

Some unopened Yellow and Blue sun orchids were the only other species found.

Many more Dainty blue orchids and Yellow granite donkey orchids were found and photographed.

5 species identified today with 2 Thelymitra species found that had yet to flower for identification.

Road Trip Day 6 – Charles Darwin Reserve

6/9/2017

Well today we take the Woodlands Way Tour which is South of our campsite, on the other side of Wanarra East Road. Over the entire 26km we found one area of Dainty blue orchids and nothing else.

Charles Darwin Reserve
Woodland Way Tour

Road Trip – Day 4 & 5 – Marshall Rock to Charles Darwin Reserve

04-09-2017

After a wonderful night around the camp fire, we wake to another beautiful spring morning. Breakfast eaten, we pack up camp and head to Pergande Sheep Yards. The yards were constructed in the early 1900’s from thin granite slabs harvested from nearby Waicubbing Hill  using the heating/cooling method.

Now for the long drive to Charles Darwin Reserve, with a lunch stop at the Dalwallinu pub. We arrived at the reserve mid afternoon and set up camp ready to tackle the tracks in search of orchids in the morning. The drive into camp though did not bode well for orchids, as it was very very dry.

5/9/2017

Today we take the Salt Lake Tour to the North of our campsite to see if we can find any orchids at all. As expected it took a lot of looking before we found some small Dainty blue orchids (Cyanicula amplexans). These little beauties are found August to early October between Kalbarri to Norseman.

It was another 1/2hr before we found our next orchid species. Yellow granite donkey orchid (Diuris hazeliae), which flower August to September and range from Paynes Find to Salmon Gums.

Only 2 species found over the entire 32 kms of the Salt Lake Tour. It is a very stark comparison with August last year when there were orchids and other wildflowers everywhere.

Charles Darwin Reserve
Salt Lake tour