2019 Road Trip – Caron Dam Reserve to Burakin

Latham NR, Nature Reserves, Numerous days, Road Trip, Xantippe NR

03/09/2019

Destination unknown we head off south down the Mullewa Wubin road. Just past Latham we turn east and pull into the Latham Nature Reserve for a quick look. We both head into the reserve in different directions. After looking around and into the reserve a bit we conclude that the only orchids are the ones on the verges with the roads. On one verge we find some Hairy-stemmed snail orchids (Pterostylis sp. ‘inland’) which are located between Kalbarri and Balladonia during the months of June to September. Common inland snail orchid which is extremely variable in appearance.

Another species found on this verge is the Ant orchid (Caladenia roei) which flowers August to October in locations from Eurardy Station to Ravensthorpe. They are the most widespread of the so called Small spider orchids.

On the other verge we found a Dainty blue orchid (Cyanicula amplexans) which occur inland from Kalbarri to Norseman during the months of August to early October.

We move further south to the Maya Nature Reserve however did not find any orchids in our quick check so moved onto the siding of Maya where we took the time to check on their historical display. The townsite was gazetted in 1913 and is now only a receival point for CBH. A world record was set in 2003 when 55 headers harvested a paddock at the same time.

From Maya we head south again, before venturing into Buntine Rock (Mud Map N 38), which as the name suggests is near the small town of Buntine. It is not however located in the nearby Nature Reserve. We have visited this spot previously so parked up and immediately headed onto the flat granite area. Some beautiful Lemon-scented sun orchids (Thelymitra antennifera) were found in flower. These orchids flower from July to October in locations between Shark Bay and Israelite Bay.

More yellow orchids are found, however these are from a different genus. The Pale donkey orchid (Diuris pallescens) is found which flowers from late-august to late-September between Moora and Minganew. This location is a bit further east however recordings have been logged in Atlas of Living Australia, so I am happy with this identification. Other donkey orchids found though appear to be the Dainty donkey orchid (Diuris refracta) as the flowers are much more colourful, petals are broad and rounded, plus the lateral lobes to the labellum are narrower. East of recorded location, Bindoon to Northampton and they flower late-July to early-September, so I may be in error, so please correct me if wrong.

Moving on we stumble across a nice trio of Ant orchids in the midst of the donkey orchids. The fourth orchid is still in bud.

Then an exciting find is made. Our first dragon orchid of the season is found growing underneath the shrubbery. The Narrow-lipped dragon orchid (Caladenia mesocera) flowers from August to early-October in inland locations from Pingrup to Paynes Find. This is the first time we have found this orchid species so very excited indeed.

Our attention is then drawn back to the donkey orchids which are everywhere.

Some of the donkey orchids are brighter yellow, so appear to possibly be another species. I will call these ones the Yellow granite donkey orchid (Diuris hazeliae) which flower during August and September on inland granite and breakaway habitat from Paynes Find to Salmon Gums.

Also discovered a patch of Kalbarri cowslip orchids (Caladenia flava subsp. maculata). As they appear to be covered in blotches rather than regular patterns, I am confident in this classification. Maybe to ones found yesterday near Eneabba were also Kalbarri cowslips. If so please correct me an I will go back and edit that post. A little south of Perenjori which is listed as their southern boundary, however sightings in Atlas of Living Australia confirm Buntine Rock as a location. These orchids flower from July to early-September as far north as Shark Bay.

We climbed to the top of Buntine Rock for the 360 degree views then made our way back to the Triton and camper. On the way we find further Ant and Dainty Blue orchids.

Leaving Buntine Rock we head south to Dalwallinu, where we have a counter meal in the local pub, before shopping for some supplies. Now we head east on the Dalwallinu-Kalannie road, taking a detour into the Xantippe Nature Reserve and park up at the water tank. The water tank was constructed in the 1920’s to supply water to Dalwallinu however due to issues pumping the water over the surrounding hills , this was abandoned with water being used by the local farmers instead.

Xantippe tank

It is now around after 3pm, so we have a quick look around the granite near the tank. More Ant orchids and Lemon-scented sun orchids are found.

Then a little orchid is found and on closer inspection, further Little laughing leek orchid (Prasophyllum gracile) are found. These little guys flower from July to October over a vast range from shark Bay to Eyre. They vary from the standard yellowy-green colouring to purplish.

Now time to move on and get to our newly chosen overnight stop. We are popping in on my cousin Mary-lou in Burakin, where she is now the sole resident. Pulling up we find a caravan already set -up so were unsure if we would be able to stay. However the caravan was another cousin, in fact Mary-lou’s eldest brother Ian and his wife. So it was a great reunion given I have no memory of every meeting Ian before this. It turns out he is the oldest male and I am the youngest male of the fraternal side of our families. Fancy that!!

10 species found today, so we hit the sack happy.

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