Today I head east to check our how the orchid season in the southeast coast of WA is progressing. As it is winter I expect to be exploring in between rain showers.
My first stop is a bitumen dump off Wittenoom Road in Neridup. I overlooked this location on my trip out here a few weeks back, so Deb reminded me off this spot. My exploration will be restricted to the edge of the clearing as the bush is dripping wet from all the rain.
As I am in the Ford Falcon today, I park just in the southern entrance to the bitumen dump, as the bushes growing in the middle of the track are too large to drive over. I begin my search moving north along the western boundary. Underneath the bushes I find a single Dark Banded greenhood (Pterostylis sanguinea) and very close-by some snail orchids. The snail orchids appear to be Brittle snail orchids (Pterostylis timothyi) due to the small rosette of pointed veined leaves and the tinge of fawn in the green and white flower. These little guys flower July through September in a range from Lake Cronin to Esperance.
Some Hare orchids (Leporella fimbriata) are found next, however are way past their best, with obvious signs of being pollinated. Hoping for something better I move onwards, when I spy some Caladenia orchids in bud. Kneeling down to grab a photo, something white catches my eye. Less than 1 metre away are some Western wispy spider orchids (Caladenia microchila) in full bloom. So exciting to find some spider orchids in flower. These guys flower July through October over a wide range from Kondinin to Madura.
Continuing my search to the north of the blue metal hill, I come across a nice hood of snail orchids, then closer to the northern entrance a Banded greenhood (Pterostylis vittata) is found.
Moving out of the track onto the road verge, a donkey orchid in flower is finally found. Based on the location and colouring these must be Green Range donkey orchids (Diuris littoralis) which flower July to early September in a south coastal range from Denmark to Esperance.
Walking along the entire verge back to the southern entrance I come across further Donkey orchids, snail orchids and banded greenhoods. So after taking some further photos, which I will not post, I decide to move to another location.
Pulling into what I believe to be the old Neridup Tennis Courts, I sit up in the car and have a bite to eat and drink, whilst a rain shower passes. I then have a quick look around and only find more Caladenia orchids budding up. Nothing in flower found unfortunately.
So onwards I go via a few more possible locations before pulling into our new Coolinup road location. Walking down this so called track the first orchid found is another Brittle snail orchid. Then I find some more Hare orchids which are also past their prime. I then move into the scrub where I come across a nice hood of snail orchids.
Upon reaching the low granite outcrop the first finding was a Cyrtostylis orchid in bud growing at the base of a bush.
In the bushes off the granite to the north I find many Banded greenhoods before stumbling across some Caladenia in bud.
It is past 2.30 in the afternoon so I start making my way back to the Ford, when I stumble across more Banded greenhoods and Brittle snail orchids. However I am nearly back at the car when some other greenhoods are found. From their size and colouring they may be Mallee Banded Greenhoods (Pterostylis arbuscula) which flower June to early September in an mostly inland range from Northampton to Eyre. Distinguishing features are short stature and few flowered inflorescence.
I move on to the original Coolinup Road site of the small granite outcrop. Due to the lack of rain this season the puddle blocking access had not yet been filled, so access was much easier than this time last year. Whilst looking underneath the bushes for Mosquito orchids I was amazed to find some spider orchids, as I have never found them here before. They appear to be further Western wispy spider orchids, given the size of their labellum’s
Upon further searching I found more greenhoods and snail orchids. Bird orchids had started but were a long way from flowering, so were the mosquito orchid, plus the larger spider orchids were also a few weeks away from flowering. Grabbed a few snaps of the Pterostylis orchids then moved on.
Myrup Rd is my next destination for a quick search. Some very nice Banded greenhoods are found first followed by many emerging Caladenia orchids. Just a tad early to catch anything in flower though.
Another solo search has ended with a few orchids found. 7 species in fact