20/06/2021 ….. Munglinup weekend .. Day 2

Cascade NR, Fields NR, Munglinup NR, Nature Reserves, Road Trip, Speddingup NR, Springdale NR, Weekend away, Western Australian Orchids

Waking to another beautiful morning at Munglinup Beach Camping Ground we enjoy a leisurely morning before packing up the camper and moving to Springdale Nature Reserve for our first orchid hunt. No orchids found so we move onto Munglinup Nature Reserve to see if we have better luck.

We park up just inside the track and venture in on foot. First orchid for the day is the Dark banded greenhood (Pterostylis sanguinea) which is a widespread orchid flowering June to September.

Once we reach the old gravel pit Deb heads off to the area she had previously found Hare orchid (Leporella fimbriata) leaves. She was lucky to find some in flower even though they are way past their best.

Also found a very promising leaf about 4mm across. It appears to be from the Drakaea genus however the only species mentioned as being located near this location has a smooth heart shaped leaf. This leaf has small hairs over it’s surface so may be another species not listed for this location. Again any assistance you can provide to the correct identification would be appreciated.

Nothing more found at this location so we move onto one of our regular haunts along the highway. At the intersection of Mills Road we go exploring, though not expecting too much to be found. However we find our first orchid from the Diuris genus, which is exciting. The Green Range donkey orchid (Diuris littoralis) is found in large numbers, however there are only a few early flowering ones, given that they are said to flower from July to September.

Also found some dark greenhood orchids and well as some lighter green in colour. They may be two species or colour variant’s of the same. Possible identification: Dark banded greenhood (Pterostylis sanguinea), Mallee banded greenhood (Pterostylis arbuscula) or Banded greenhood (Pterostylis vittata). Give me your thoughts.

We next move along Mills Road to our next location (Mud Map SE32). We first explore the north side of the road and come across a Hairy-stemmed snail orchid (Pterostylis setulosa) flowering all alone. Another solo specimen is later found. Crossing to the south side of the road proves fruitless so we move on.

We head further north, as we have chosen to check out Cascade Nature Reserve. Here we pull into the old quarry/gravel pit and go exploring. First up we find more banded greenhoods, then discover a shell orchid in bud. It should be a Dwarf shell orchid (Pterostylis brevichila), which flower from July to September, as it is just starting to flower. All other inland shell orchid species commence flowering in May.

If we get a chance we will return later to catch the shell orchids in full flower. However we must keep moving, so even further north we check out Fields Nature Reserve. This is a new location so very unsure what may be here. Unfortunately we only find more greenhood orchids. These appear to be a mixture of species, which is cool.

The only other species found was a single, early flowering, Brittle snail orchid (Pterostylis timothyi) which have a small rosette of pointed leaves and the flower is green and fawn in colour. They are said to flower from July, hence this one is not fully formed as yet.

We now head east and at the Scaddan / Dalyup boundary, we check out Speddingup Nature Reserve. We had visited here back on the 22/5/21, when we located many pterostylis rosettes, so we hope some have now flowered.

Well first up we found what appeared to be a Midget greenhood (Pterostylis mutica) in bud. Then as expected we finally find some Dwarf shell orchids (Pterostylis brevichila) in flower. In fact they were even growing on the edge of the track. These are an inland shell orchid which flowers from July, so we are lucky some early flowering specimens were here.

I venture across the road and find more banded greenhoods. Again the species may be variable.

It is now 4pm so time to make tracks for home. A great day with some good finds. The season is starting out great. I can’t wait till the next adventure.

22/05/2021 Frank Hann NP

Frank Hann NP, National Parks, Speddingup NR, Weekend away, Western Australian Orchids

Well we have decided to make a weekend of our orchid hunting and will camp overnight in our trusty Ezytrail camper trailer. Planned overnight camp is at Lilian Stokes Rock in the Frank Hann National Park. So we head north up the Coolgardie-Esperance Hwy to get our trip started.

Pulled over for the first exploration of the weekend.

First stop is the side of Boydell Road, a left turn off the highway. This is the first visit to this location for Deb and she finds the first orchids. Typical!! Seems to be Crinkle-leafed bunny Orchid (Eriochilus dilatatus subsp. undulatus) growing in the gravely verge. I change my direction to check them out and stumble across some as well. Whilst I’m busy taking photos Deb moves on.

I’m still getting shots of the bunnies when Deb calls out, as she has found a Hare Orchid (Leporella fimbriata). Excitedly I make my way over to get a photo.

A few more bunnies are found only, so we move to the north side of the road. Here we find some Banded Greenhood (Pterostylis vittata). Most were yet to fully open, however luckily we find one plant with 2 open flowers.

vittatus (Latin – longitudinally striped)

Making our way back to the Triton we collect discarded bottles from the verge. Doing our little bit to clean up the countryside, plus we now get 10c per bottle. I direct a turn north up Hillermans Road so we get to check out Speddingup Nature Reserve. Here we find some Banded Greenhoods in flower.

Green and white banded flowers

Crossing a watercourse/lake/saltpan we surprise 4 emus who run off. At this point we rise up to what appears to be a Gimlet woodland. As this is very different habitat to the sandy plain we had just driven through, we pull over to have a look. No orchids in flower located, however we did find Pygmy orchids that had finished their season and many small Pterostylis rosettes. Within these many rosettes where some stems popping up. These baby orchids had no rosette so I believe they will be a Shell orchid when they finally bloom. We will need to come back in a few weeks to check on the progress. After crossing 3 such water courses we come to one that is too boggy, so we had to turn around and head back to Speddingup Road West.

We chicken out !!!

From here we head toward Fields Nature Reserve where we plan to have lunch. However there is nowhere to pull off the road, so we continue until we reach the intersection of Neds Corner Road. Here we pull over at a great tractor sculpture and Deb knocks up a sandwich.

We then continue on Griffiths Road to Griffiths Nature Reserve and turn south down Edwards Road to get back on track. Cascades Road reached and we make tracks for our planned destination, Frank Hann National Park, more specifically Lilian Stokes Rock. We were shocked to see the destruction of the park due to a bush fire.

Camp set-up . Time to explore

After setting up the camper trailer we explore the rock. Deb finds the only orchid in flower. A fertilised Crinkle-leafed bunny orchid. Other leaves found of an unknown species. We then collect wood that someone had kindly sawn up. Campfire lit, drinks poured and dinner cooked. We sit back and enjoy the serenity.