Waking up to a clear blue sky we have breakfast then hit Berinbooding rock for a morning walk..Oh my it is windy and cold up on the rock. We do our best to keep on the track but get a bit lost I think. The only orchid found was the Dainty blue orchid (Cyanicula amplexans) which flowers over an inland range from Kalbarri to Norseman during the period August to early-October. Beringbooding Rock has the largest rock water catchment tank in Australia, built in 1937 and holding over 10 million litres.
Packed up the camper and headed a bit further east to the next stop on the Wheatbelt Way – Elachbutting Rock. We pulled into a parking area and took the walk trail to Monty’s Pass. Along this trail we found further Dainty blue orchids.
Closer to the rock we take the track to the wave feature, which compares to Wave Rock in Hyden. In the vegetation at the base Deb finds a lone Hairy-stemmed snail orchid (Pterostylis sp,’inland’) which is well past its prime.
We now move onto Monty’s Pass which is a 30 metre tunnel caused by a rock slide. At the end of the tunnel we find a nice double-header Dainty blue orchid.
We then ventured on the drive around this massive rock, however did not find anymore orchids. We did however find a rock lined well and many wildflowers.
Leaving Elachbutting Rock we head south and pull into a place called Yanneymooning Hill which is surrounded by the Yanneymooning Nature Reserve. We scout around for a bit and only found another Hairy-stemmed snail orchid.
Moving along we head south to Boodalin Soak another stop on the Wheatbelt Way. Here we pull up at the rock lined well and grab lunch. This water supply was a part of the track from York to Coolgardie, which was cleared by Charles Cooke Hunt in 1865. We are in a part of Westonia Common, which is comprised of 15 remnant vegetation reserves surrounding the town of Westonia. The common covers an area of approximately 2500ha. Scouting around the soak we only find more Hairy-stemmed snail orchids, however they are in much better condition. Also there are so many pink everlastings.
We move onto the low granite rock and immediately find some donkey orchids. They must be further Yellow granite donkey orchids (Diuris hazeliae) which are found on granite outcrops between Paynes Find and Salmon Gums during the months of August and September. No other donkey orchid is found so far to the east except down near the coast, so I am confident in my identification.
Also found growing on the rocks were some small Little laughing leek orchids (Prasophyllum gracile) which flower over a large range from Shark Bay to Eyre during the period July to October. Also found near the summit, well Ok the highest point of the rock, is a Pterostylis from the Rufa complex yet to bloom. Too early for this one unfortunately.
Coming down off the rock and heading back to the parking spot we come across lots of Pink candy orchids (Caladenia hirta subsp. rosea) in varying shades of pink, with one only having pink tipped calli. These orchids flower during the period late-June to September over a large range from Kalbarri to Israelite Bay.
Well what do we stumble across next? A Chameleon spider orchid (Caladenia dimidia) with one of his sepals pointing in a weird direction just like the earlier found Donkey orchid with his petal. These orchids are found from Paynes Find to Norseman, during the period July to late-September. The creamy colouring of the flower and labellum provide my ID, however the similar Ironcaps spider orchid (Caladeina paradoxa) may also be the correct ID. Please provide your thoughts to assist my final ID.
Also discovered was a trio of Ant orchids (Caladenia roei) which are an inland orchid flowering from August to October between Eurardy Station and Ravensthorpe. Of the 3 found only 2 were in flower.
Next up is a white wispy spider orchid. From the size of the leaf and the large white squat calli I believe them to be the Glistening spider orchid (Caladenia incensum) which flowers from late-June to September over a inland range from Hyden to Nerren Nerren Station. I did not get leaf photos for all of them so it is possible some are a hybrid with the Common spider orchid which may have a thinner leaf.
However by far the most numerous orchid was the Dainty blue orchid. They were in singles and in big groups with a couple of very special ones found. They are pure white. Hypochromic to the max, with no colouring at all, however to be albino the stem and leaf would be white as well.
Finally back to the Triton and camper after so many stops to take photos. Not complaining though. We head into Westonia and grab a coffee at the local co-op, supplying our own lactose free milk, which was a bonus. Quaint town with their main street decorated to look like a town in the distant past. Heading south from Westonia we now also leave the Wheatbelt Way. We must drive it in it’s entirety one day.
As we had visited Merredin back in June we decide to turn south down the Merredin-Narembeen Road, which passes near the Collgar Wind Farm, which when built was the largest single stage wind farm in the southern hemisphere. Unsure if it still is though.
Now all we have to do is find an overnight camp site. Next town on the map is Narembeen, however we turn east just before there and drive out to the Ski Club. Here we set up by the toilet block, which is not working due to no water. Loving the way they name the Gents & Ladies. After setting up and lighting the fire, I go off for a wander into the neighbouring Ski Lake Nature Reserve on the hunt for any orchids.
The land around the lake and into the woodlands was very dry and desolate so I was only successful in finding one lone orchid in flower. However it is a new species for this road-trip so I am pleased. This poor Midget greenhood (Pterostylis mutica) looks like he has had a hard life. These little guys flower from July to October in a range from Wongan hills to the South Australian border. They are also found in all other states of Australia as well.
9 species found flowering today with a Pterostylis yet to bloom. Plus the bonus Hypochromic Dainty blue orchid ensured the trip from the North Eastern Wheatbelt to the Open Wheatbelt was a successful and enjoyable day.
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