This year on our road trip we are heading to Mt Augustus which will take us out of orchid territory, so the days spent orchid hunting will be limited. I will only be posting about the days spent orchid hunting with the rest of the trip summarised at the beginning of the next orchid post.
6.30pm on the 29/07/2022, we head off for our next road trip adventure. We arrive a Geoff and Robyn’s place in Dwellingup around 2.30am for our overnight stay. Next day after a leisurely breakfast we head down to Mandurah to catchup with Sheena, a friend who is over from Scotland. Our old Murray Districts Rural Youth group used this event as a reunion of sorts, so we caught up with old friends and relatives from our younger days, which was awesome. After a wonderful lunch we said our goodbyes and headed up to Perth. We caught up with our daughter and got to cuddle our beautiful granddaughter again. We then moved on to the in-laws where we had dinner and stayed the night.
Sunday and it’s time to head north with our travelling companion Richard. After fuelling up we pull over at our first orchid stop for the day, Bindoon Hill TruckBay/Bus Stop. (Mud Map N 46) This was a previous stop that we camped overnight at, which looking around now, that seemed an interesting choice. We had a quick scout around the area on both sides of the highway and we actually found orchids.
The first orchids found for the trip, are the always reliable Banded greenhoods (Pterostylis vittata) which flower from April through to September. Also found growing in the weeds were brightly coloured donkey orchids. Identification is difficult with 2 species that are known to occur in the Shire of Chittering being contenders. So, they are either the Winter donkey orchid (Diuris brumalis) or the Common donkey orchid (Diuris corymbosa). I’ll let you be the judge.
Moving on further north, I use Google Maps to spy a possible new location. We miss the turnoff so do a U-turn to pull off the road. We venture into Udumung Nature Reserve for our first every search. We are not disappointed. First up are some more donkey orchids. This time I am more certain of the species due to the reflexed lateral sepals. The Common donkey orchid is noted as sometimes having reflexed and often crossed lateral sepals.
Next up in close succession three different Pterostylis species are found. First up the Jug orchid (Pterostylis recurva) is found, followed by the Banded greenhood and lastly the Broad-petaled snail orchid (Pterostylis platypetala). This is my first time recording this snail orchid which occurs between Kalbarri and Brookton. It flowers during the months, June through August, in woodland and on the margins of seasonally wet flats and streams.
Moving into the bush further we come across further Pterostylis orchids. First up are bird orchids then another greenhood. Using Atlas of Living Australia (ALA) as reference, the bird orchid will be listed as the Dwarf bird orchid (Pterostylis galgula), which is listed as flowering in August/September between Northampton and Munglinup. The greenhood looks like a Dark banded greenhood (Pterostylis sanguinea) and is listed on the ALA site as occurring here, however in Florabase within the Shire of Chittering a similar looking species, the Coastal banded greenhood (Pterostylis orbiculata) is listed. What are your thoughts on the ID as both flower during the months of July and August.
It is now after 1.30pm, so we decide to move on. A little further north we turn right and head into Mogumber. Not much to be seen here, so we head north up the Bindoon-Moora Road. The planned stop at the nature reserve is abandoned as it does not extend to the road, so we pull over at the intersection of Gillingarra Road, as there was some scrubland that may present a possible orchid habitat. I crossed the railway line on the north side of the road whilst Deb ventured down a track on the southside, parallel to the railway line. I only discovered orchid leaves so headed back to see how Deb faired. By the time I found her, Richard was with her, and she was successful in finding our first spider orchid of the trip. The Common spider orchid (Caladenia varians) is a white to creamy-white orchid, which flowers from July to October over a vast area, Kalbarri to Esperance.
Along with the many spiders were a few Cowslip orchids (Caladenia flava subsp. flava), Common donkey orchids and another uncertain type of banded greenhood. It’s now nearly 2.30pm, so off we head further north.
We drive through Moora and head up towards Coorow. Just south of Coorow we pull over at Marchagee Nature Reserve for a very quick check, as we are now needing to work out where we will stay the night. Only found another unknown banded greenhood orchid. A storm appears to be building, so I start checking google for somewhere to stay. I telephone up the Three Springs Motel, who luckily have room for the 3 of us. It is only donga accommodation but they serve up some mean food and it was BYO, so I enjoyed my Bundy.