01/06/2020….. Winter is here!!

Cascade, Day Trip, Nature Reserves

First day of Winter so where should we go today for our orchid hunt? Let us go north. So we head off up the Coolgardie-Norseman Hwy and get as far as Fleming Grove Road before we stop to have our first explore. Loads of Hare orchid leaves and spent flowers are found. Then Pterostylis rosettes start to appear and finally some Banded Greenhoods (Pterostylis vittata) are found in flower.

Nothing else found so we head back to the Highway to continue north. However we make a last minute change and head over the Hwy into Boydell Road, heading west. Driving along we pull over to the side of the road and check out a bit of scrubland that appeared to contain some granite rock. This proved incorrect however we did find some possible King-in-his-carriage orchid (Drakaea glyptodon) leaves. Left a marker on the road in the hope of returning to find it flowering in August. Hare orchid (Leporella fimbriata) leaves also found, with some spend orchids to confirm flowering had occurred. As they can flower from as early as March it was great to find some recognisable hare orchid flowers. Finally for this new location a Banded greenhood was also found and photographed.

Travelling further east on Boydell road we turn right at the Cascades Road intersection. Our planned stop is Cascade Nature Reserve which we had visited a few years back and found some shell orchids. Unfortunately it appears to be too early for the shell orchids to be flowering this year. Just found some very small rosettes with the buds just sprouting. After exploring for a time we find many spent Pygmy orchids (Corunastylis fuscoviridis) which flower during April and May. Banded greenhoods are found just before we head back to the Triton. Cascade Falls off Loop road will be our final destination of the day.

Parking above the falls we walk down along the bank to the falls, which are just flowing at this stage of the season. From here we check out the parking area , then walk back along the track to the Triton. No flowering orchids found so we head back to the South-coast Hwy via Coomalbidgup for the drive back home. Not too bad a way to kill off 4 hours or so on a public holiday Monday.

Meanderings in May

Day Trip, National Parks, Road Trip, Stokes

09/05/2020

After a sleep in we pack up the Triton and head out east to our rock location off Merivale road. We arrive just in time for lunch, so getting our priorities right, we eat first. Whilst eating, we wander around the old abandoned picnic area and find spent White bunny orchid plants, so we may be a bit late in their season.

Just as we were to head off up the slope to the granite, 2 orchids are found in flower. Based on the leaf size I believe them to be Granite bunny orchids (Eriochilus pulchellus) which as the name suggests occur at granite outcrops from Northcliffe to Balladonia. They can grow up to 150mm in height and can have up to 10 flowers per plant. Further specimens were located as were searched around and on the granite.

On the other side of the granite outcrop I thought I had come across another bunny orchid species. This one though has larger leaves so appears to be the White bunny orchid (Eriochilus dilatatus subsp. dilatatus). However on closer inspection they appear to be more Granite bunny orchids. The leaves are just towards the larger size for the species which can be 5 to 15mm in length and 3 to 8 mm in width. Others were subsequently found, with one having 6 flowers and standing easily 150mm in height.

We then moved onto the other large granite outcrop, however nothing new was found just more Granite bunny orchids. Once we got back to the picnic area I went back to what I thought was a lone orchid growing in the made made embankment which channels the water flowing off the granite away from the picnic site. There turned out to be a bunch of plants with one reaching 430mm in height. Identification confusion as the bunny orchids that reach that height both grow in the south west corner not East of Esperance.

We now decide to move on and head a little further north to our Coolinup Road locations. At the small granite rock location further Granite bunny orchids are found. At our latest location we locate a newly flowering Banded greenhood (Pterostylis vittata) and some wonderful Hare orchids (Leporella fimbriata). At the granite section of this new location I am sure some of the bunnies found are White bunny orchids (Eriochilus dilatatus subsp. dilatatus) as the leaf on one of them is over 50mm in length. Took some photos with coloured card as backdrop to see if the orchid would stand out better. Please provide feedback in comments on preferences.

23/05/2020

Off to Stokes National Park today for a walk along the trail from the Day use area to the Benwenerup Campground. We collected a friend (Deb C.) in Esperance to join us on the adventure today. We arrived at the park and after grabbing a water bottle each we commenced the walk by climbing the stairs up the embankment. From here the compacted walk trail follows the embankment with 2 lookouts over the inlet before crossing over the access road for the section to the campground. Only orchids found flowering were the Banded greenhoods.

At the campground further greenhoods were found. So after a short rest we made our way back along the trail to the access road, which we followed back to the day use area. Pictures taken of the Showy Banksia (Banksia speciosa) flowers and Zamia palms (Macrozamia dyeri) which were found in good numbers along this section of the trail. After eating our lunch, we spent some time on the inlet banks, then made tracks back to Esperance. A wonderful day out in the sunny Autumn weather.

Granite outcrops bloom with orchid flowers in April

Day Trip, Dempster Head, Road Trip

04/04/2020

We head NE of Esperance today to see if we can find the elusive Hare orchid, which we did not locate in March. At our usual spot on Wittenoom Road we pull over and check around. First up we find another of the White bunny orchids. This time we have located the Crinkle-leafed bunny orchid (Eriochilus dilatatus subsp. undulatus).

As the name suggests the leaf has undulated margins. This orchid is located from Northampton to east of Esperance and can grow to 250mm in height.

Further into our search the elusive Hare orchid (Leporella fimbriata) turned up. So happy that we have now found the quartet of species for the start of the season in the Esperance area.

Leporella is a monotypic genus which is found from southern Victoria to Western Australia. In WA the Hare orchids are found from north of Kalbarri to Israelite Bay.




10/04/2020

Today we head to another regular location to the east of Esperance; Coolinup Road which has increased in size due to previous explorations. Today we decide to check on the location we discovered last season.

Along the track in we are eagle eyed for orchids, however none were found before we reached the granite rock clearing. In the clearing we found many white bunny orchids that had finished flowering. Luckily there were still some in bloom.

The White bunny orchid (Eriochilus dilatatus subsp. dilatatus) is found growing in the moss under the protection of a hakea bush in the shallow soil on the granite rocks.

These orchids are found between Dirk Hartog Island and Israelite Bay during the months of March, April and May and can grow to 350mm in height.

#wildorchidwatch

Many other White bunny orchids are found before Deb comes across a small drove of Hare orchids. Only one of which is in flower. Each orchid may have up to 3 flowers with pairs fairly common.

#wildorchidwatch

27/04/2020

Today I visit Dempster Head which is a shire reserve that overlooks Esperance Bay and First and West beaches. (Mud Map SE 34). First up I located some White bunny orchids growing alongside the track below the water tanks.

The size and shape of their leaves attest to my identification. With a length of 40 to 100mm and width of 5 to 18mm, the leaf of the White bunny orchid is by far the largest of the bunny orchids growing in the Esperance area.

#wildorchidwatch

Later on the granite rocks above Lovers Beach another small bunny orchid is found growing in the moss and lichen.

The Granite bunny orchid (Eriochilus pulchellus) as the name suggests is found growing in shallow soil pockets on granite outcrops from Esperance to Balladonia and Northcliffe to Bremer Bay, with a disjunct population in the Darling Scarp.

The flowering season is over April and May with plants producing up to 10 flowers. It has a short stature of up to 150mm and produces a small smooth leaf only 5 to 15mm in length and 3 to 8mm in width.

Very happy to have found during the month of April, the 3 bunny orchid types, that flower in the Esperance area.

2020 – The season begins in March

Day Trip, Helms Arboretum, Nature Reserves, Red Lake Townsite, Within 20kms of Esperance

11/03/2020

So have a guess where I went on the first official orchid hunt for the 2020 season? If you guessed Mud Map Ref: SE35 you are correct. Helms Arboretum is our so called “Rabbits foot” location and I was not let down entirely. Nothing in flower however White bunny orchids were in bud.

14/03/2020

However only 3 days later they had bloomed. Deb was with me today, so we both got to see the first orchids in flower for the season. White bunny orchid (Eriochilus dilatatus subsp.dilatatus) is found from Dirk Hartog Island to Israelite Bay. Flowering period is March to May so it is one of the first orchids to flower in WA.

28/03/2020

First up we checked out Helms Arboretum (Mud Map SE35) where we were excited to find the Leafless orchid (Praecoxanthus aphyllus). This orchid is the sole species in the genus and is endemic to Western Australia, where it is found between Pinjarra and Esperance during the months of March, April and May.

Leafless orchids may grow to 400mm in height






We then move further north and find some Pygmy orchids (Corunastylis fuscoviridis) in the Redlake townsite Nature Reserve. This orchid was originally named in 1883 and placed in the Prasophyllum genus however in 2002 it was moved to the Corunastylis genus. Then in 2018 it was re-named C. fuscoviridis as it was formally named C.tepperi, which is a species found in Victoria and South Australia. This is the sole West Australian species and is located from Corrigin to Eyre. It is also found in South Australia and Victoria, hence the naming issues.

Pygmy orchids may grow to 250mm in height but they are very difficult to spot in the leaf litter.

March proved to be the month when the Orchid season began in my local area. Four species are recorded as flowering during March around the Esperance area. We were lucky enough to find three of the four, with the Hare orchid the being the elusive species.

Successful sharing – Boyatup and more

Day Trip

22/09/2019

We are collected from our home by Eric and his father, for an orchid adventure out east of Esperance. We will be showing them our Boyatup location ( Mud Map SE 40) and in return we get chauffeured and have the chance to discuss our findings, views, information and thoughts on our beautiful terrestrial orchids. Enjoying the great outdoors by taking nothing but photographs and leaving only footprints.

Our Boyatup location had been affected by bushfire last summer, so this will be our first visit since early August. It will interesting to see which orchids are in flower later in the season after a summer bushfire.

As usual we turn off fisheries Road into the track leading to the rock and jump out once the first orchid is spied. Seen by Deb of course :). Following will be photos taken of the orchids found along this first part of the track.






Purple Enamel Orchid

Elythranthera brunonis

One of the 2 species found in Western Australia.

The Purple enamel orchid was named in 1963.

Can grow to a height of 300mm







Red beaks

Pyrorchis nigricans

One of the 2 species found in Western Australia.

Red beaks were named in 1810 and placed in the Lyperanthus genus before being moved into the Pyrorchis genus in 1994.

Can grow to a height of 300mm




Common bee orchid

Diuris decrementa

One of the 18 species in the Laxiflora complex of the Diuris genus found in Western Australia

Common bee orchid was named in 2013

Can grow to a height of 300mm

Cowslip orchid

Caladenia flava subsp. flava

One of the 4 subspecies of Cowslip orchid (caladenia flava) found in Western Australia

The Cowslip orchid was named in 1810

Can grow to a height of 250mm





Rattle beaks

Lyperanthus serratus

Is the single Western Australian species of the Lyperanthus genus

Rattle beaks were named in 1840

Can grow to a height of 500mm

We have now reached the gravel pit so drive across this to the track leading to the granite outcrop named Boyatup hill. Back in August we found loads of Pink bunny orchids and Blue beards, plus other orchids in smaller numbers. Let’s see what is now in flower. The following photos are of the orchids found in the area which was burnt by last summers bushfire.



Red beaks



Pyrorchis nigricans



Granite china orchid

Cyanicula nikulinskyae

One of the 8 species in the Gemmata complex of the Cyanicula genus found in Western Australia

Granite china orchid was named in 2000

Can grow to a height of 130mm







White mignonette orchid

Microtis alba

One of the 10 species found in Western Australia

White mignonette orchid named in 1810

Can grow to a height of 600mm




Tall leek orchid

Prasophyllum elatum

One of the 16 species in the Elatum complex of the Prasophyllum genus found in Western Australia

Tall leek orchid was named in 1810

Can grow to a height of 1200mm




Pointing spider orchid

Caladenia exstans

One of the 9 species in the Falcata complex of the Caladenia genus found in Western Australia

Pointing spider orchid was named in 2001

Can grow to a height of 450mm




Zebra orchid

Caladenia cairnsiana

One of the 2 species in the Cairnsiana complex of the Caladenia genus found in Western Australia

Zebra orchid was named in 1869

Can grow to a height of 400mm

Pink candy orchid

Caladenia hirta subsp. rosea

One of 2 subspecies in the Hirta complex of the Caladenia genus in Western Australia

Pink candy orchid was named in 2001

Can grow to a height of 250mm

Hypochromic variant






Cowslip orchid

Caladenia flava subsp. flava

Rabbit orchid

Leptoceras menziesii

Is the only member of the genus Leptoceras

Rabbit orchids were named in 1810 and placed in the Caladenia genus before being moved into the monotypic genus Leptoceras in 1840.

Can grow to a height of 300mm




Common bee orchid




Diuris decrementa




Esperance king spider orchid

Caladenia decora

One of the 22 species in the Huegelii complex of the Caladenia genus found in Western Australia

Esperance king spider orchid was named in 2001

Can grow to a height of 500mm




Dusky fairy orchid

Caladenia x erminea

Hybrid between Cowslip orchid (Caladenia flava) and White fairy orchid (Caladenia marginata)

Dusky fairy orchid was named in 2001

Can grow to a height of 160mm

Beautiful donkey orchid

Diuris pulchella

One of the 26 species in the Corymbosa complex of the Diuris genus found in Western Australia

Beautiful donkey orchid was named in 1991

Can grow to a height of 500mm




Western wispy spider orchid

Caladenia microchila

One of the 43 species in the Filamentosa complex of the Caladenia genus found in Western Australia

Western wispy spider orchid was named in 2001

Can grow to a height of 250mm

Esperance white spider orchid

Caladenia longicauda subsp. crassa

One of the 14 subspecies of C. longicauda, which is one of the 14 species in the Longicauda complex of the Caladenia genus found in Western Australia

Esperance white spider orchid was named in 2001

Can grow to a height of 500mm




Heberle’s spider orchid

Caladenia heberleana

One of 22 species of the Huegelii complex in the Caladenia genus found in Western Australia

Heberle’s spider orchid was named in 2001

Can grow to a height of 450mm




White fairy orchid

Caladenia marginata

One of the 4 species in the Latifolia complex of the Calendenia genus found in Western Australia

White fairy orchid was named in 1839

Can grow to a height of 200mm




Custard orchid

Thelymitra villosa

One of the 6 species in the Antennifera complex of the Thelymitra genus found in Western Australia

Custard orchid was named in 1839

Can grow to a height of 600mm




Blue china orchid

Cyanicula gemmata

One of 8 species in the Gemmata complex of the Cyanicula genus found in Western Australia

Blue china orchid was named in 1839

Can grow to a height of 150mm




Condingup china orchid

Cyanicula sp. ‘Esperance’

One of the 8 species in the Gemmata complex of the Cyanicula genus found in Western Australia

Condingup china orchid was first collected in 1996 but is yet to be formally named

Can grow to a height of 150mm




Laughing leek orchid

Prasophyllum macrostachyum

One of 4 species in the Gracile complex of the Prasophyllum genus found in Western Australia

Laughing leek orchid was named in 1810

Can grow to a height of 300mm




Bearded bird orchid

Pterostylis turfosa

One of 13 species in the Barbata complex of the Pterostylis genus found in Western Australia

Bearded bird orchid was named in 1840

Can grow to a height of 200mm




Hybrid spider orchid

Caladenia x

Unnamed hybrid orchid. Possible parents: C. decora: C. longicauda: C. heberleana: C. hirta:




Lunch time and it’s time we move on. Eric wishes to show us a location where he has previously found the Holy Grail of orchids: Queen of Sheba orchid. He did not have to ask us twice. After having a bite to eat we head off at this new location, just off Parmango Road. Immediately we come across a new orchid, that Deb and myself had never seen. The following orchids are the ones found at this new location, which is now firmly added to our must visit sites.




Twisted sun orchid

Thelymitra flexuosa

One of the 6 species in the Antennifera complex of the Thelymitra genus found in Western Australia

Twisted sun orchid was named in 1839

Can grow to a height of 350mm




Purple enamel orchid

Elythanthera brunonis

Common bee orchid

Diuris decrementa

Cowslip orchid

Caladenia flava subsp. ?



Rattle beaks

Lyperanthus serratus

White mignonette orchid

Microtis alba



Custard orchid

Thelymitra villosa

Dancing spider orchid

Caladenia discoidea

A distinct species of the Caladenia genus endemic to Western Australia

Dancing spider orchid was named in 1839

Can grow to a height of 450mm




Lemon-scented sun orchid

Thelymitra antennifera

One of the 6 species in the Antennifera complex of the Thelymitra genus found in Western Australia

Lemon-scented sun orchid was named in 1840

Can grow to a height of 250mm




Jug orchid

Pterostylis recurva

A unique species of the Pterostylis genus endemic to Western Australia

Jug orchid was named in 1873

Can grow a height of 900mm


.

What a great new location this was off Parmango Road. Time to move on, so we take Eric and his father to our original location off Coolinup road which is on the other side of Condingup. Here we first visit the gravel pit, then decide to bush bash down to our small granite location. The orchids listed below were found on that bush bash plus around the small granite location.




Esperance king spider orchid

Caladenia decora

Laughing leek orchid

Prasophyllum macrostachyum

Heberle’s spider orchid

Caladenia heberleana



Common bee orchid

Diuris decrementa

Bearded bird orchid

Pterostylis turfosa



Purple enamel orchid

Elythranthera brunonis

It proved a very successful day with Boyatup proving itself once again to be a magnificent location for orchids, with this season especially good after last summers bushfire. Thanks to Eric for sharing his Parmango Road location we finally got to see the Twisted sun orchid in bloom and Eric the custard orchid. Nearly 6 hrs spent searching for orchids in great company.

Boyatup Bounty after Bush Fire

Day Trip

10/08/2019

A weekend away, out East of Esperance, is planned. So after breakfast we hitch up the camper and head out Fisheries Road. Our first point of call is our Coolinup road site. (Mud Map SE 37,38) There is finally some water around, so we make our way into the site and first up find the small Western wispy spider orchid (Caladenia microchila) still covered in rain drops. There also appears to be some Cream spider orchids (Caladenia horistes) intermixed in. These orchids flower August to early October in a southerly range from Fitzgerald River National Park to Balladonia. These two spider orchids have overlapping locations and both belong to the Caladenia filamentosa complex. They differ in flower colour and wispiness of petals and sepals.

Then underneath the thick tea tree bushes Debbie comes across some Mosquito orchids (Cyrtostylis robusta) which flower between Perth and Israelite Bay in the months June to August. These differ to the similarly located Midge orchid by the broad labellum.

Nearby more spider orchids are found with neighbouring Blue beards (Pheladenia deformis) which are yet to fully open.

Also nearby are the Banded greenhood (Pterostylis vittata) and Mallee banded greenoods (Pterostylis arbuscula) which differ in the number of flowers, colouring of flowers and overall height of the plant.

Venturing across the road more greenhoods are found as are many spider orchids in large groupings, especially protected under the tee tree bushes. The surprise finding was a recognisable Hare orchid (Leporella fimbriata) way passed its prime, but still another species located for the day. A nice solo Jug orchid (Pterostylis recurva) is found plus Deb stumbles across a small beautiful Pink bunny orchid (Eriochilus scaber subsp. scaber). This one was only 20mm in height.

Such great finds already and we have yet to arrive at our planned camping area, so we can set up and have lunch. So off we head towards Thomas River campground.

Oh no! The road to Cape Arid National Park is closed so we cannot reach Thomas River. Now what?

As we are close to Boyatup Hill (Mud Map SE 40), we decide to go there first and figure out where to camp later. Luckily Deb had pre-made lunch so we quickly have a bite to eat then make tracks for Boyatup.

At out usual first stop, along the track in, we immediately find a Dancing spider orchid (Caladenia discoidea) on the right hand side together with an unusually coloured donkey orchid. Both are still covered in rain drops.

Moving to the left hand side of the track, as it is less bushy, we find some Cream spider orchids, Western wispy spider orchids, Dancing spider orchids and Jug orchids.

Finally a different spider orchid is found. Appears to be from the King spider orchid complex. From it’s appearance I believe it to be a Esperance king spider orchid (Caladenia decora), which flowers August to October between Bremer Bay and Cape Arid. May be the closely related Heberle’s spider orchid which has a similar appearance and range.

Time to walk further along the track towards the old gravel pit. Mallee banded greenhoods, another spent Hare orchid and some Western tiny blue orchids (Cyanicula aperta) are found. These little blue orchids flower from August to October between Dumbleyung and Mt Ragged.

As we reach the other side of gravel pit the landscape turns black. A bush fire had swept through the area last summer, so this is why we planned a visit to this location. We have yet to witness the orchid bloom after a summer fire. Fingers crossed the devastation of the bush fire does lead to new life and we will finally get to observe this.

Immediately to the left as we exit the gravel pit is a lonely Dancing spider orchid growing in the blackened soil. Deb finds some Blue beards nearby which stand out easily against the black.

Then the first pink speck is sighted. Pink bunny orchids begin to appear in scattered groups all over the place. Many more blue beards are found, some growing in clumps. Other Mallee banded greenhoods and Western tiny blue orchids are also found. We are able to explore a much greater area as the fire has cleared away all the undergrowth, leaving just blackened bushes and trees.

We reach the spot we usually park the Triton as the track gets very thin and would scratch the hell out of the paintwork. However we have the camper in tow, so cannot turn around here. So we have to drive further up the track to the granite rocks so we can attempt to turn around. Not that we drive only, as we park and go exploring every five minutes or so. We chew up time but get to explore so much more ground.

Our usual orchid at this part of the track is the Mosquito orchid however only a few leaves are visible in the burnt bushes at the edge of the track. It is not until we venture further afield do we locate some in flower. Also found in this part of the search were more Blue beards and Western wispy spider orchids.

We make it to the turn around spot of the flat granite however the ground between the rock is very soft, so it is a very boggy event, however Deb as always gets us through. Now we are facing the way out we can breathe a bit easier. So why not keep on expanding our search towards the hill itself.

Woohoo we have found our first Cowslip orchid (Caladenia flava subsp. flava) of the day. These bright yellow beauties always brighten up the day. Then at the base of the hill we discover a vast patch of Western Wispy spider orchids growing under the protection of a bush.

Moving back down towards the Triton we find more Pink bunny orchids, Cream spider orchids, Mallee banded greenhoods and Blue beards.

Then another yellow orchid is found. The Green Range donkey orchid (Diuris littoralis) is recorded as being located between Denmark and Esperance, however http://www.esperancewildflowers.blogspot.com records this orchid as being found east of Esperance and the Orchids of South-West Australia (4th Edition) range map indicates occurrence in Cape Arid, so I am confident is this classification.

Then in an area that would have been impenetrable prior to the fire we find a fully open Esperance king spider orchid. A neighbouring dual headed specimen though appears to be the closely related Heberle’s spider orchid (Caladenia heberleana) due to it’s narrowly clubbed petals and sepals. They flower September and October in a range from Augusta to Cape Arid, so this must be an early flowering one or a mis-classification. Both are very attractive large spider orchids non the less.

We just noticed it is now after 3.30pm and we have yet to decide where we will camp the night, so quickly head back to the Triton and drive back to Fisheries Road. Our thought s were to head into Alexander Bay and camp at the shire campground, but then decided the way in will be wet and slippery, given the closure of Cape Arid National Park, so we decide we will instead go home and sleep in our own bed.

That being decided we breathed a sigh of relief and headed back West. A detour via Condingup Lookout (Mud Map SE 39) though could not be bypassed. We drive up to the Telstra tower and park up. First spot to check is the granite rock outcrop. However on the way there we discover some beautiful snail orchids hiding on the edge of the track. These little guys appear to be the Fawn snail orchid (Pterostylis parva) which are found from the Stirling Ranges to Israelite Bay. They darken with age and flower June through to August, hence the reddish tinge.

We arrived at the granite outcrop and the large hood of snails had already been and flowered and the nearby mosquito orchids were nowhere to be seen. Disappointed I was walking back to the Triton when Deb decides to go into the scrub on a wide berth back. I’m glad she persevered as she stumbled across many Fawn snail orchids and Pink bunny orchids flowering in the moss on the flat granite rocks. Also found were some Green range donkey orchids, Blue beards and Western wispy spider orchids. Not a bad detour Deb!

Finally back in the Triton we make our way down the hill, stopping to check on the Bird orchids growing alongside the road. The rosettes are still growing up but still a way off flowering yet. Also found a finished Scented Autumn leek orchid.

Moving on as it it now 5pm we park down on our usual spot on the Lookout Road and have a quick scout for anything in flower. We find a possible Cream spider orchid, a very old Hare orchid and some Pink bunny orchids. One pink bunny was found flowering in a field of non flowering bunny leaves. I took a photo to show how the leaves change when they flower.

So as the light fades we make our way back to Esperance, thankful that we got to witness how some orchids thrive after a summer bush fire. Pink bunny orchids were very prolific at Boyatup Hill as were the Blue beards. It was hard to walk around without feeling like you are stepping on some, but we did our best to minimise this by treading carefully. All up we found 16 orchid species flowering with 1 yet to flower (Bird) and 1 finished (Leek). 14 of the found orchids were located at Boyatup so the bush fire did produce a bounty for us to discover. Well worth the day trip, it is a pity the weekend planned did not occur.

You may have noticed some of the photos have a Scale card produced by the Wild Orchid Watch (WOW) a citizen science project arranged by the The University of Adelaide. Please refer to their web page at http://www.wildorchidwatch.org plus their Facebook and Instagram pages. If you are based in Australia please register your interest, as an App is close to being released which will allow you to record your findings.

Wittenoom Expansion

Day Trip

04/08/2019

Final visit to the blue metal site for the season, but who knows we do change our minds a bit, and the larger spider orchid leaf has finally flowered. Identifying the white spider orchid though may prove difficult as it is not 100% open. However, due to the length of the petals and lateral sepals I will be naming this one the Reclining spider orchid (Caladenia cruscula) which occurs in a restricted range from Salmon Gums to Mt Ragged during August and September.

The Wispy spiders had finished for the season so no more orchids left in the blue metal. Time to expand our search. Deb slowly moves along the north track back to road, whilst I take a shortcut through the scrub. I thought the Western wispy spider orchid (Caladenia microchila) had finished but then I stumble across a couple still looking great.

Whilst I’m taking photos of the spider orchids Deb has found some great donkey orchids on the roads edge. Green Range donkey orchids (Diuris littoralis) are my classification based on location. By the time I have caught up she had moved across Wittenoom Road to check out that bush.

So many Blue beards (Pheladenia deformis) are found on the western side of the road.

Very close to a large patch of Blue beards Deb spies some Pterostylis orchids. They appear to be a small group of Green-veined shell orchids (Pterostylis scabra) which flower May to August in a range from Kalbarri to Esperance.

Further spiders, donkeys and blue beards are found even in the gravel of the road verge.

Well our quick look around has come to an end, however we did locate 5 species and have extended the size of our Wittenoom Road site by 100% or more.

Weekend Wandering

Day Trip, Mount Burdett, Nature Reserves

27/07/2019

After enjoying a wonderful breakfast at the Esperance Bird and Animal Park we take our grandson Ollie out to play on some blue metal mountains along Wittenoon road. We have previously found orchids at the site so it is a dual purpose visit.

First up Ollie and myself play in and on the blue metal mountains whilst Deb has a quick scout around. Not much found so she takes a few photos with her iPhone of the Western wispy spider orchids I found last visit and some of us playing.

Next  it’s time for Nanna (Deb) to climb the mountain with Ollie and my time for searching. I am fortunate enough to find 5 different species in a quick search:

Brittle snail orchids (Pterostylis timothyi), Banded greenhood (Pterostylis vittata), Western wispy spider orchid (Caladenia microchila), Green Range donkey orchid (Diuris littoralis) & Blue beard (Pheladenia deformis).

Not a very productive day today, as it was hard to search with the wonderful distraction of our grandson.

28/07/2019

After wetting our appetite yesterday, we head out again to broaden our search. A quick stop at the Wittenoom Road site provides more Green Range donkey orchids and Blue Beards.

We move further north to Mount Burdett where we go on a more thorough search. Straight away we find some Banded greenhoods and Brittle snail orchids.

Then on closer inspection some of the snail orchids appear to be a different species. They are the closely related Fawn snail orchids (Pterostylis parva) which are smaller in stature, have plumper flowers and shorter, thicker lateral sepals. They flower between Southern Cross and Israelite Bay during the months June to August.

Whilst I’m still grabbing photos Deb yelps as she encounters a snake in her path. I make a wide berth around the area and by the time I catch up to her she has located another species of snail orchid. This time they are Robust snail orchids (Pterostylis dilatata) which unlike other snail orchids do not have a rosette of leaves when flowering. They are easily identified by this and differ to the Brittle and Fawn snail orchids by having numerous stem leaves. These flower between Geraldton and Israelite Bay during the months May through to August.

Then very close by in a bright green patch of moss Deb spies a little speck of pink. Wowsers, she has stumbled across some Pink bunny orchids (Eriochilus scaber subsp. scaber) which are found between Jurien Bay and Cape Arid National Park during the months July through September. An unusual feature of theses orchids is the leaves differ between flowering and non-flowering plants. How lucky are we to find such small orchids. These ones were no more than 40mm in height.

Another common orchid for the season is discovered which I grab a photo of to record our findings. The newly named Mallee banded greenhood (Pterostylis arbuscular) was at it’s maximum height of 150mm but has few flowers when compared to the similar Dark banded greenhood. Inland distribution between Northampton and Eyre, flowering June to early September.

Moving up and over the granite, we make it to the so called summit and there we locate a couple of Green-veined shell orchids (Pterostylis scabra). These orchids are found between Kalbarri and Esperance between the months May to August. They are known for their inland distribution and can be found on granite outcrops.

Nearby a Beautiful donkey orchid (Diuris pulchella) is found standing tall all alone on the granite. These orchids flower July to September in a restricted range between Salmon Gums , Esperance and Balladonia. They have a very distinctive coloured tri-lobed labellum

Another donkey orchid is found, however it is not another Beautiful donkey orchid. Due to being located on granite it could be the Yellow granite donkey orchid (Diuris hazeliae) however it does not have recurved later sepals. So it could be the hybrid between these two orchids (Diuris pulchella x D. hazeliae).

Many more snail orchids found on the way back to the car. No more Fawn snails orchids found which was disappointing.

For lunch we move on to Mount Ridley. On the track in the first orchid found was another Mallee banded greenhood then a lonely snail orchid was found right on the edge of the track at the base of a tree. I believe it to be a Brittle sail orchid.

After refilling ourselves with lunch we head off up the granite rock in search of orchids. First orchid found was a Banded greenhood, followed by Mallee banded greenhoods and finally some Yellow granite donkey orchids (Diuris hazeliae) which occurs between Paynes Find and Balladonia in an inland range during the months August and September. There are many just budding up but we were lucky enough to find some early flowering ones. Also found were some yet to bloom Frog greenhoods (Pterostylis sargentii) which are also an inland orchid found between Northampton and Grass Patch during July to October.

Unfortunately a storm moved in very quickly and we got caught in a downpour. Trying to shelter under some bushes I spy a Brittle snail orchid so grab a photo of him dripping wet. Once the 10 minute downpour had finished we very carefully climbed back down to the Triton, so as not to slip and injure ourselves.

Rather than back track we decide to take the scenic road home via Grass Patch. Even though we are wet through it was a decent orchid hunt today. 12 different species found and 1 hybrid.

July now comes to an end. Roll on August, to end a great winter season for orchids.  

Searching between the Showers

Day Trip, Myrup

20/07/2019

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