14/5/2017 After a wonderful lunch with Deb, plus Amber and Oliver, for Mother’s Day (Amber’s first) at the Bird and Wildlife Park, Deb and I venture to Helms Arboretum in a last attempt to find the elusive Leafless Orchid. No luck, in fact we could not even find any Hare Orchids, so we made the decision to make the journey out to Condingup Lookout and turn our couple of hours into a full afternoon.
The weather was grey and cloudy but not too cold n windy. After a speedy drive down Myrup Rd onto Fisheries Rd we arrived at the Condingup Tavern for a pit stop and Deb ran across a small snake, possibly a juvenile dugite (Pseudonaja affins).
Pulling alongside the track at our usual orchid hunting ground which is below the lookout summit, we quickly made our way to a particular bush where 2 years ago we found 3 species of orchid in flower. Unfortunately this year only a few Hare orchids (Leporella fimbriata) were found. Further afield Deb found the first Leek orchid (Prasophyllum) which was yet to flower.
Condingup Map 140517 (Mud Map Ref: 39)
Many more Hare orchids (Leporella fimbriata) were found along with some White Bunny orchids (Eriochilus dilatatus sp. dilatatus) also discovered. Then a ray of sunshine poked through the clouds and in the corner of my eye I see bright white and there a few metres away is a flowering specimen of Scented autumn leek orchid (Prasophyllum sp. early). This orchid is found from April to June between Bunbury and Israelite Bay.
Light is fading fast due to the low cloud and grey skies so we decide to make our way home via another location, Coolingup Nature Reserve Our only find here was a much taller plant of the Scented autumn leek orchid (Prasophyllum sp. early)which was also in full flower. About 200metres south along Coolinup Road is a granite rock where after bush bashing through thick scrub, as water covered the direct route in, we found some White Bunny orchids. Under the scrub the orchids were around 200mm high whilst growing in the moss on the rock was a small 60mm orchid. I believe the larger orchids to be White Bunny orchids (Eriochilus dilatatus sp. dilatatus) due to their larger stature and the fact they were past their prime as they can flower as early as March whilst the smaller plant was still in its prime so should be the Granite Bunny Orchid (Eriochilus pulchellus), as they flower from April and this one was growing in its only recorded habitat . On the drive home we get to witness another beautiful Esperance sunset.
Coolinup Nature Reserve (Mud Map Ref: SE38).