Spiders awaken

28/07/2018

After another wonderful brunch at the Esperance Bird and Animal Park we make our way to Helms Arboretum (Mud Map SE35 ) to see if anything has flowered since we last visited a fortnight ago. 

First stop was just off the highway where we decided to jump out and check closer, even though we could see nothing from looking out the Triton windows. Deb found the first orchids of the day. The Hairy-stemmed snail orchids (Pterostylis sp. ‘inland’) were in hoods, spread over the entire area.  Also found close-by were some Banded greenhoods (Pterostylis vittata)

Further into the arboretum we find our first spider orchids of the season. Only two individual plants were found flowering and both are the Esperance king spider orchid (Caladenia decora). These flower August to October in a range from Bremer Bay to Cape Arid. 

Other snail orchids are found which appear to be a different species, as they lack the hairy stem. Checking with my esteemed colleague Margaret P. it appears to be an unnamed species currently termed Pterostylis sp. ‘Helms Arboretum’    

I also found a new patch of what appears to be Western tiny blue orchids (Cyanicula aperta) getting ready to bloom.

Western tiny blue orchids
Group of 6 or more ready to flower

Last orchid found for the day was a nice specimen of a Dark banded greenhood (Pterostylis sanguinea)  

As usual Helms Arboretum delivers.

West of Esperance

17/06/2018

Headed straight out to Munglinup Beach camping area (Mud Map SE 33) to see if we could find some shell orchids as we did last season. There were so many rosettes however after searching high and low we only found one that was close to opening. We move location to the other area and it looked like we would be unsuccessful again with flowers yet to open found. Whilst taking photos of these I moved a branch to get a better shot and guess what? I found one opened. Yeah so happy.

Appears to be Curled-tongue shell orchid (Pterostylis rogersii) which are found from Binningup to Esperance flowering June to August. Quite content we now make tracks down to the Oldfield River for a spot of lunch. Nothing caught our eye on the slow drive in, so upon finishing lunch we made tracks for Skippy Rock. No orchids found here either !! The views over the beach though are magnificent.

Beach west of Skippy Rock
View from area orchids found prior season

Our last stop will be the main visitors area of Stokes National Park. We park up at the Day Use area and head up the steps that begin the Stokes Inlet Heritage Walk Trail. We only plan on walking half of it today as it is already after 3pm. Very small Banded greenhoods (Pterostylis vittata) are spotted with many, many rosettes.

 

More prolific though were different types of fungi. 

As it is now past 4.30pm we make a move for home with a detour to the camping ground. Driving slowly around Deb yells with glee as she spots some large darker greenhoods. Out we jump to grab some photos in the dying daylight. As the lateral sepals have opened it appears these are Dark banded greenhoods (Pterostylis sanguinea) which flower June to September in a range from Mullewa and Toolinna Cove. They are also found in Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia. 

Only the Pterostylis genus found today, however it was an awesome day out, getting some fresh air and sunshine. 

East of Esperance

16/06/2018

Today we head east along Fisheries Road to turn north at Coolinup Road for our first exploration out Condingup way for this season. Our first stop at the small granite outcrop on the side of the road proved flowerless, however spent bunny orchids and leaves of orchids yet to flower were found. Maybe next visit will prove more successful. Next we check out the track  (Mud Map SE 38) however the verges had recently been slashed so nothing found. We move on further north to a gravel pit to have a bite of lunch whilst walking around. Again no surprises found. Well onwards to a location that proved successful last season to see if anything can be found. 

Thank goodness we find something in flower. Albeit a little past their prime. A snail orchid, species unknown and a Hare orchid seem to be all we can find so I take a photo just to show we actually found something. 

However, ever the optimists, we keep looking and woo hoo a new species for the season is found. Autumn leek orchid (Prasophyllum parvifolium), which flowers June to August in a range from Eneabba to Mt Ragged. 

Reinvigorated we continue our search. Next up we find some Banded greenhoods (Pterostylis vittata)

Then we find another leek orchid, Scented autumn leek orchid (Prasophyllum sp. ‘early’) which flowers April to June in a range from Bunbury to Israelite Bay. As the name suggests these flower earlier than the related Autumn leek orchid and also do not have the red colouring. 

Its now after 3pm so we make tracks back to the Triton, however on our way back we find some more Banded greenhoods so just had to get some more shots.

We pull into our abandoned picnic area on Merivale Road, grab a piece of fruit and go exploring.  Nothing found until we get onto the granite outcrop to the west of the picnic site. Deb finds a small bunny orchid. Scattered specimens found which appear to be the Granite bunny orchid (Eriochilus pulchellus) as these flower April to May in a range from the Darling Range to Balladonia in 3 separate areas. Esperance to Balladonia being one of these specific locations. 

It is now after 4.30pm so we make tracks back to the Triton. Deb finds a snail orchid so we attempt to get some shots in the fading light. Unable to distinguish the species of this orchid due to lack of rosette, 3 stems leaves and thin appearance. 

4 names species found so proved quite a successful day out. Tomorrow we plan to head West to see what is flowering out that way.

Pterostylis return !!

9/6/2018

After another wonderful fully cooked breakfast, eaten for lunch this time, at the Esperance Bird & Animal Park, we head off to Helms Arboretum (Mud Map SE 35) to see if anything other than bunny orchids has shown up.

Well we are pleased to find some Banded greenhoods (Pterostylis vittata) flowering. These little beauties flower April to September in locations from Perth to Balladonia.

As we only have the afternoon to explore we jump back in the Triton and head north up the Coolgardie-Norseman Hwy to Fleming Grove Road where we take a left turn east to check out a previously successful location. We find evidence of bunny orchids and hare orchid leaves before stumbling across some more banded greenhoods sheltering under a bush. After a good 30mins or so we make tracks to the railway tracks for another explore. No luck here so onwards we go, further east, before turning south. 

We proved unsuccessful in finding any further orchids so have only added Pterostylis to our genera found this season.

Eriochilus, Leporella and Pterostylis, I wonder which genera will be next.

Road Trip – Day 2 – Wagin to Kwolyin

02/9/2017

After a quick breakfast and a long hot shower we make up the thermos and head off to fuel up, then make tracks for the North Wagin Nature Reserve, our first planned stop of the day. Just off the road, on the track chosen to push into the reserve, I spy a group of Jug orchids (Pterostylis recurva) which we will check out on the way back. We park the Triton and camper near a dam and head out on foot to check out this new location. First find is the Banded greenhood (Pterostylis vittata), quickly followed by Western wheatbelt donkey orchid (Diuris sp. ‘western wheatbelt’).

Many donkey orchids were found and mixed in with these we found some Little pink fairy orchids (Caladenia reptans subsp. reptans) distinguished by their leaf having a red coloured underside. Another common orchid found here was the Fringed mantis orchid (Caladenia falcata) which competed with the donkey orchid to be the most common orchid in this location. As planned we took pictures of the Jug orchids as we made tracks for our next location.

Piesseville was our next location and we finally found flowering orchids, after other visits turned up leaves and buds only. As with the Wagin location the Fringed mantis orchid was very common, as were the Sugar orchids (Ericksonella saccharata), however the later were restricted to a few metres in from the road. Cowslip orchid (Caladenia flava subsp. flava) was also plentiful, but further into the bush.

The first spider orchid found is a Chameleon spider orchid (Caladenia dimidia) and nearby a reddish version of the same flower.A very different spider orchid is then found. The Dancing spider orchid (Caladenia discoidea). Unlike previous specimens found this season near Esperance,this one finally looks like the ones in the books.

In the northerly section of the location we find some Western wheatbelt donkey orchids and in the swampy section I find some Blue beards (Pheladenia deformis) of varying shades. I track down Deb who has crossed to the other side of the road and took her back to where the Blue beards were located.

On the way back to the Blue beards more spider orchids were found. Chameleon spider orchid, Crimson spider orchid (Caladenia footeana)  which flowers July to early October between Cranbrook and Binnu and Chapmans spider orchid (Caladenia chapmanii) which flowers September to mid-October between Boyup Brook, Kojonup and Northam, all within a few metres of each other.

Then an OMG moment, when Deb spies an all red spider orchid. Appears to be Blood spider orchid (Caladenia filifera) NEW FIND!!!! These are found between Tenterden and Wongan Hills and flower August to early October. Not 100% certain as it was not clumping, but single flowers. Edit: After locating Blood spider orchids at Forsyth Woodland this one appears to be a red variant of another species.

Other orchids found at this location were Jug orchids and Banded greenhoods.

We moved on and called into Narrogin to buy some supplies and an extra gas cartridge for the shower unit. We then drove north-east and stopped off at North Yilliminning Nature Reserve for lunch and checked out this new location. Not far into our search and we were bombarded with yellow from so many Cowslip orchids. Various shapes, patterns and sizes with some having very long lateral sepals.

Next orchid found was the small Sugar orchid followed closely with some Donkey orchids. Most likely, Western wheatbelt donkey orchids. Also found were some Banded greenhoods

A very unusual colour catches Deb’s eye as she has found a Hybrid orchid. A Spectacular spider orchid (Caladenia x spectabilis) which is a hybrid formed by a Cowslip and Pink fairy cross pollinating. Further colour variations were found. However to muddy the waters, the Little pink fairy orchid is found which may be a parent of the hybrids, in which case the orchid is unnamed and referred to as (Caladenia flava x C. reptans). For now I will leave the judgement open.

Edit: 29/10/2017 – From further investigations it appears all Hybrids found were Spectacular spider orchids due to the longer lateral sepals. Blooms August to October and found from Kalbarri to Esperance

Final orchids found were a sole Hairy stemmed snail orchid (Pterostylis sp. ‘inland’) and some further Jug orchids.

Quick toilet stop in Wickepin, which was a very neat little town with a museum for Albert Facey, who is famous for his autobiography “A Fortunate Life”. We make one final stop, before catching up with Richard, at Malyalling Nature Reserve. Along the road that dissects the N.R. I spot some Ant orchids (Caladenia roei) which flower August to October between Eurardy Station and Ravensthorpe, and when taking photos also noticed Fringed mantis orchids nearby.

Some Donkey orchids were also found and at the Eastern boundary of the N.R. we found a patch of  Fringed mantis orchids. Too many to count.

We made our way back to the low granite outcrop and Deb immediately finds some purple variants of the Little laughing leek orchid (Prasophyllum gracile) which is quite rare according to my orchid book, so a great find Deb!! Also found on this rock were Lemon-scented sun orchids (Thelymitra antennifera) which flower from July to October between Shark Bay and Israelite Bay and very small donkey orchids.

After finding 18 orchid varieties it is now time to head off for Kwolyin campground, where Richard is waiting for us. … Trio travelling begins.

Kwolyin campground
Triton and camper . Richard with Red Triton and tent.

Road Trip 2017 – Delay

31/8/2017

We had planned to leave tonight and camp up at Mt Madden, however as I drove the Triton home from work the ENGINE light remained on, then as the sun set we noticed the headlights were not working. Called Dave our mechanic, who came around and after 2hrs he had replaced our globes, ballasts and exchange. So now we have lights and the ENGINE light is no longer on. We slowly pack the Triton and camper trailer and then go to bed with plans to leave early in the morning.

1/9/2017

Woke up around 5am, showered, last minute packing and then off to Puma to fill up the Triton. Around 6am we are finally on our way. First stop is the Ravensthorpe lookout which was the very first place ever that we found Jug orchids. Guess what is the first orchid found is ? …. Jug orchid (Pterostylis recurva), what a great coincidence. As towing our camper at slow speed up a gravel hill is proving a challenge, we drive to the top and slowly make our way down. 2nd orchid found is Western tiny blue orchid (Cyanicula aperta). A few scattered plants only, then a great group is found by Deb at the side of the road.

Nothing further found, other than more Jugs and Tiny Blues, so we make our way back to the track on level ground and closer to the Hwy we find some more Pterostylis orchids. We have now added another location for the Midget greenhood (Pterostylis mutica). Also found were some good old Banded greenhoods (Pterostylis vittata). Next stop is Ravensthorpe for a toilet break.

Lake King Nature Reserve on the Old Newdegate Rd is checked out with only Western tiny blue orchids found. Further along the road at the Dunn Rock Nature Reserve we find a spent Frog greenhood (Pterostylis sargentii) and a yet to flower Red beak (Pyrorchis nigricans).

North of Newdegate we pull into a gravel pit for lunch, which is in the Rockview Nature Reserve. Here we find another Jug orchid. Our planned destination of Dragon Rocks Nature Reserve is reached just after 1pm and our first find is the little Sugar orchid (Ericksonella saccharata). Further down the track our first glimpse of yellow delivers us our first Cowslip orchid (Caladenia flava subsp. flava). Eye catching as usual.

 

We venture deeper into the bush and another colour appears. Pink. The first of many Pink candy orchids (Caladenia hirta subsp. rosea) is found and nearby is the first spider orchid of the day. These pretty orchids are found from Kalbarrie to Israelite Bay and flower late June to September. Common spider orchid (Caladenia vulgata) would appear to be the species found. Another yellow orchid is found. Western wheatbelt donkey orchid (Diuris sp. ‘western wheatbelt’) seems to be the one due to location.

 

 

Another spider orchid is found with much darker red tips to petals and sepals plus a larger labellum as well. Location and these colourings lead me to name it Ballerina spider orchid (Caladenia melanema). Found in the Pingaring – Lake Grace area (30kms away),  flowering August to mid September. We make it to Dragon Rocks themselves and growing on the granite are some Little laughing leek orchids (Prasophyllum gracile). Other spider, donkey, candy and sugar orchids are found, but as it is nearly 3pm we make tracks back to Newdegate to travel westwards.

Quick stop made at South Buniche Nature Reserve where we find some Dark banded greenhoods (Pterostylis sanguinea) and more Jug and Sugar orchids. Then onto Lake Grace lookout, a favourite location of ours, that has yet again produced results. First up is the Chameleon spider orchid (Caladenia  dimidia). Also found nearby was another Common spider orchid.

Then a Sugar orchid is found under the scrub. Another spider orchid is found, this time a Western wispy spider orchid (Caladenia microchila) and a donkey orchid – possible a further Western wheatbelt donkey orchid. Jug orchids also found however as it is now getting dark and we plan to stay overnight in Wagin, we make tracks.

Overnight in Wagin at the local motel, very pricey for such a basic room, but as we ran out of daylight and with possible rain overnight, it seemed the easier option. Pizza enjoyed for dinner and time for sleep after a long first day. 16 orchids ticked off the list.

 

Gibson to Myrup

19/8/2017  On a tip from our friend Deb Witt we are heading north of Gibson to check out what lies within 50km of home.  However first we have our standard fully cooked breakfast at the Esperance Bird & Animal Park and then our obligatory check of Helms Arboretum.  Just past the large green log sign at the entrance we find some Esperance King spider orchids (Caladenia decora) of various colours.

We also checked out our Curly Locks but it still has a way to go before flowering. Fingers crossed it is still there when we return from our September holidays.

Turning east from the Coolgardie-Esperance Hwy we park opposite a patch of scrub with a small lake. Just off the road where we parked Deb spots the first orchid of the day. Donkey orchids are found everywhere on the North roadside verge. Unable to verify exact species as the location does not match any in the books. Possible two different types found as one is duller yellow with hanging sepals and the other is brighter yellow with re-curved and crossed sepals.

We cross the road to the lake side and start looking around when Deb calls me over as she has found a Hare orchid (Leporella fimbriata). This distraction nearly had me  walking into a huge Golden orb spider (Nephila edulis). The poor old Hare orchid was well and truly finished for the season.

More searching and we turn up more Donkey orchids and the first Red beaks (Pyrorchis nigricans) sprouting from the many leaves spotted. In fact there were so many Red beak and Hare orchid leaves around you sometimes could not help stepping on them.

The first Pterostylis orchids of the day were also found. Banded greenhood (Pterostylis vittata) and Jug orchid , plus of course some more Donkey orchids.

Looking under a tallish shrub I notice a patch of Banded greenhoods so make my way under to get a photo. Telling Deb of my find I glance down and there is this very small white coloured orchid. It happened to be a small Sugar orchid (Ericksonella saccharata) which was partially opened. I grabbed some photos and then moved over to take some Banded greenhood photos whilst Deb took some of the Sugar orchid. This little orchid actually fully opened over a period of a few minutes so my next shots were of it fully open.

Pic below is of the Banded Greenwood I mentioned above that lead me to the sugar orchid.

We then made our way back to the Triton and moved further West and turned North along the railway line. We parked up and had a bite to eat before venturing out for another hunt. Deb spied another Sugar orchid and I took a photo of the habitat it was found in and what we get up to taking these photos.

Another Red beak sprouting, lone Snail orchid and Dancing spider (Caladenia discoidea) are found in this area, before we head over the railway line.

Immediately we find what we thought was another sugar orchid, however on returning home and checking the photos on our computer we notice it is in fact a Western tiny blue orchid (Cyanicula aperta). These are found August to early October from Dumbleyung to Mount Ragged. We now laugh that we were so blinded to the fact they were two very different orchids, just both so small, so just appeared to be variants in colour only.

This side of the railway line proved very fruitful with many orchids found. Brittle snail orchids (Pterostylis timothyi), more Western tiny blue orchids, more Redbeaks emerging,  further Dancing orchids and even more Donkey orchids.

Time to head south so we make tracks west until a road heading south is found. At a place where the road had been straightened we take the old track and stop for lunch. Deb spies two Dancing spider orchids and finally a Jug orchid (Pterostylis recurva) fully opened.  I locate some more Donkey orchids then on the other side of this small triangular piece of bush I find some beautiful Esperance king spider orchids. More Donkey orchids found then onward further south.

We stop as the track turns east to a farmers paddock and check around as we can see more Donkey orchids from the Triton. After looking around only Donkeys found here.

The track itself does head straight ahead it just reduces in size and standard. Very weedy now so we cross over the creek at a granite ford. A little further along a small patch opens up to the right, so we decide to check it out.  A little patch of yellow catches Deb’s eye and she calls me over as she has found a season first Common bee orchid (Diuris decrementa) which flowers from August to November and is found from North of Perth to East of Esperance.

We finally make it back to the road and head south stopping a few more times but only finding a single Cowslip orchid.

At the intersection we make a final stop and cross the road to have on more search for anything. Deb calls me over as she finds some Esperance King spider orchids. Now the word some is a little bit understated … There are so many it is impossible to count them.

Also found in numerous clusters were Wispy spider orchids. Unsure of the exact type though.

Some single specimens were also found but I will not attempt to name the exact types of these either.

This final location ended an awesome day with new finds and so many orchids in one place… Nature is grand alright !!!