Sunday search of Helms Arboretum

27/08/2017

Sunday morning fishing planned, however after a sleep-in we decide to head out to Helm’s Arboretum to check on the orchids instead. Our Southern Curly Locks is still yet to bloom so we resign ourselves to the fact we will miss it this season as we head out on our 3 week road trip in 3 days.

Next we check out the location we find our Western tiny blue orchids (Cyanicula aperta) and we were rewarded with both regular blue and some rarer white flowers.

In the adjoining plot I came across a first for me. A Grass-leafed spider orchid (Caladenia graminifolia) which flowers August to September and ranges from Mt Manypeaks to Israelite Bay. I thought is was a Green spider orchid however on checking my Orchid books it proved to be a Hoffman spider orchid due to the prominently clubbed sepals and petals plus the long thin fringe segments on the labellum.

Also in the same plot we located some Snail orchids and King spider orchids. I will go out on a limb and name the snail orchid as Ravensthorpe snail orchid (Pterostylis sp. ‘Ravensthorpe’) as they are found between Stirling Ranges and Esperance and flower August to September. The spider orchid is our local Esperance king spider orchid (Caladenia decora).

Moving along to another plot we locate some White spider orchids. I believe there are two subspecies of the Caladenia longicauda species found. First being the Esperance white spider orchid (Caladenia longicauda subsp. crassa) which has short spreading petals and lateral sepals, flowers August to early September and ranges from Jerramungup to Cape Arid National Park. Second being the Southern white spider orchid (Caladenia longicauda subsp. australora) which has long pendulous petals and lateral sepals, flowers September to October and is found Millar’s Point to Fitzgerald River National Park. Slightly east of recorded location however it is the only White spider orchid that comes close to Esperance with long pendulous petals and sepals. The “Florabase” record 15359 includes the Esperance Local Government boundary and Esperance Plains region in it’s lists of locations, so I am confident with my classification.

 

We move onto another known location to find our little Zebra orchid (Caladenia cairnsiana) and we were not disappointed. These little fellows are found between Esperance and Lancelin and flower August to early November.

Close by the Zebra orchids were Dwarf zebra orchids (Caladenia pachychila) which are distinguished from their big brother by their petals and sepals not clasping the ovary. They still hang but do not clasp the stem.

Another find nearby was a very white White spider orchid. Unable to ID this one but it was big and beautiful.

Next we move to the snail hood plot to see what is still flowering. Our first find were some more Western tiny blue orchids and then we find the snail hood. Snail orchids of unknown identity due to wrinkled leaves.

Our last stop of the day was near the entrance to the reserve and we find the good old faithful Cowslip orchid (Caladenia flava subsp. flava). As usual Helm’s Arboretum didn’t let us down.

Cowslip orchids
Close neighbours

Coastal search

26/08/2017

Today with friends Warren and Tammy we venture out to Rose’s Beach for a day of fishing, however after arriving and setting up in the far western corner I decide to go exploring to see if I could find any orchids.

I walked to the west end of the beach and climbed up the steep coastal dune for an amazing view.

After taking some photos of the view I make my way upwards through the thick vegetation. Under this vegetation I spy some Snail orchids. From the location and appearance these appear to be Coastal snail orchid (Pterostylis sp. ‘coastal snail’) which flower July to August and range from Bremer Bay to Israelite Bay.  It was a small hood with half a dozen or so plants with many more non flowering rosettes.

Nothing more found on the way up, however once on the limestone ridge above the beach I stumble across some Pink fairy orchids (Caladenia latifolia) which are the first for the season. Identified by the underside of the leaf being green. These awesome little orchids flower August to November and range from Kalbarri to Israelite Bay.

I then headed east along the limestone ridge and only came across 2 or 3 more Pink Fairy orchids before finding a way back down to the beach.

Two orchids found within 1 hr is not too bad especially given the very coastal environment searched.

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 !!!

Dwellingup to Wagin

13/08/2017

After enjoying a wonderful lunch with my brother Geoff and his wife Robyn we make tracks for the long trip back to Esperance. Leaving Dwellingup our first stop is the cemetery. Nothing in flower found, so off to Inglehope Arboretum which also turned up flowerless. Not looking very promising, but we make one more stop on the Pinjarra-Williams Rd  in the Boddington shire to give the Jarrah forest one more chance to show us what it has to offer.

I check the South side of the road and Deb heads North. My side was burnt and I found a few leaves but nothing in flower. In a break between the noise of passing cars Deb informs me she has found some very tall snail orchids. New find for the season, Slender snail orchid (Pterostylis sp. ‘crinkled leaf’). These are found late June to September between Perth and Albany.

As I’m taking photos of the snail orchids Deb moves on a finds Mosquito orchids. As I walk in her direction I too find one which appears to be Mosquito orchid. I take photos of my orchid then head over to Deb. Her orchids are much duller and greener in colour so a closer inspection confirms we have made a brand new discovery. Midge orchid (Cyrtostylis huegelli) is the correct species as the labellum is much thinner than the broad one on the Mosquito orchid. These orchids are found July through September and range from Kalbarri to east of Esperance.

We now move on as we have limited daylight due to the fact we left Dwellingup around 2pm. At least we found something in the Jarrah forest closer to Dwellingup. Our next stop is still Jarrah/Marri forest however is closer to Quindanning. This spot never fails to disappoint. We find Banded greenhoods (Pterostylis vittata) and Little pink fairy orchids (Caladenia reptans subsp. reptans). Little pink faires are found July to October from Northampton to Esperance.

Also found are more Slender snail orchids (with the lateral sepals nibbled down) an unopened Jug orchid and Donkey orchids. Common donkey orchid (Diuris corymbosa) which are found August to October from Gingin to Bunbury.

Moving along we next stop at Mud Map SE 11 location on Williams-Kondinin Rd. Here we find our first Cowslip orchid (Caladenia flava subsp. flava), in flower for the season. These are found July through December from Geraldton to Israelite Bay.

The most prolific orchid found was another donkey orchid. Small flowered donkey orchid (Diuris porrifolia) which are found late July through September from Perth to Boyup Brook, however  Florabase confirms sightings in Local Govt areas of Williams and Narrogin. Our site being in between these 2 towns I am confident of identification.

Also found were Banded greenhoods and Jug orchid (Pterostylis recurva) finally open.

Moving on to another Mud Map SE 13 location which will be our last stop as it is getting late. (5.15pm) We race around for the next 30 minutes and find 8 different species which is amazing. Those already found today include : Slender snail orchid, Little pink fairy orchid, Banded greenhood, Small flowered donkey orchid and Cowslip orchid.

Now for the new finds of today: Dark banded greenhood (Pterostylis sanguinea), Cupped banded greenhood (Pterostylis concava) and Crowded banded greenhood (Pterostylis sp. ‘crowded’). The Cupped and Crowded are brand new finds for us in fact. The Cupped are found June to August from Bindoon to Mt Barker whilst the Crowded are found July to September between Katanning and Wongan Hills.

Light is fading fast so we make tracks for Esperance. We arrive home just before midnight….

Road trip to Perth

An early morning start for the long haul from Esperance to Perth. First stop was at Pallarup Rock N.R. It was just after 7am and it was freezing. There was a lot of water around so I had to watch my step. First orchid found was a little Blue beard or Blue fairy orchid (Pheladenia deformis). Took a pic and then ventured across the flowing water onto the granite rock. Some more Blue beards found and then further

into the scrub some yellow caught my eye. Donkey orchids. Now which type??

I believe them to be Western wheatbelt donkey orchid (Diuris sp. ‘western wheatbelt’) which occur July through September and range from York to Ravensthorpe. Walking back more Blue Beards and Donkey orchids are found as was a lone Jug orchid yet to fully develop.

On the track back to the sealed road I spy one poor specimen of a Snail orchid

My next stop for a quick orchid hunt is the Lookout at Lake Grace. As expected I found some Wispy spider orchids. Also as expected it is too hard to attempt to identify them all but I believe two types to be Chameleon spider orchid (Caladenia dimidia) and Common spider orchid (Caladenia vulgata). The Chameleon is found July to September from Paynes Find to Norseman whilst the Common is found July to October from Kalbarri to Esperance.  

Also found up here were Dark banded greenhood (Pterostylis sanguinea), Jug orchid and another Donkey orchid.

Moving on, the next quick check was on the Piesseville Tarwonga Rd turn-off. There were so many Caladenia orchids in bud, but could not for the life of me find one in flower. In the ditch to the side of the road I  found many snail orchids, including Hairy-stemmed snail orchid (Pterosylis sp. ‘inland’) and whilst photographing them I also found some Banded greenhoods (Pterostylis vittata) and Dark banded greenhoods.

On Albany Hwy just past Williams I was stuck behind a slow moving truck, so I decided to check out the Williams Nature Reserve. It was a promising place however I was running out of time, so a few quick checks before heading off to meet up with Deb and Kirstie in Perth.  Only found some great Dark banded greenhood specimens.

Boyatup – 1st visit of the 17/18 Season

30/7/2017

Mid morning we head off along Fisheries Road east to Boyatup. Our first point of call is a gravel pit just past where the bitumen runs out. After driving slowly in and checking the spot where we found Redbeaks last year, we come up empty, with nothing worthy found. So we head back to Boyatup Hill ( Mud Map SE 40 ) and head in on the track. First find is a Donkey Orchid which has something foreign stuck on it’s labellum, while his stem mate has his labellum nibbled off a bit. Green Range donkey orchid (Diuris sp. ‘Green Range’).

Further along the track Deb spots the first Spider orchid, so we park up and have a good look around. Western wispy spider orchid (Caladenia microchila)  is the only species I am certain of that is included in our finds, however they would all belong to the Filamentosa complex.

Profile comparison photos – Wispy spider orchids, unsure of exact species though.

Whilst I am on the ground taking photos Deb yells with excitement. She has found the first King Spider orchid of this season, in full flower. Only the one, but a great find. Esperance king spider orchid (Caladenia decora) 

Many more variations of Wispy spider orchids found so had to take more snaps

Further along the track we finally find some different orchids. Deb spots the first fully formed Jug Orchid (Pterostylis recurva). A sole snail orchid of unknown species is also found.

Then a patch of blue grabs our attention. A Blue beard (Pheladenia deformis) which appears to be double headed, however two very close stems prove this to be two individuals flowers.

This is how we get our photos. Very close to the subject. Wind and shadows can be tricky

The track is getting a bit overgrown so Deb parks the Triton up and whilst waiting for me, who is walking the track, she finds some Mosquito orchids (Cyrtostylis robusta) . A bite to eat then we both set off on foot towards Boyatup Hill.

First finding is another Jug orchid which is nearly fully opened, followed by some more Mosquito orchids and then a Robust snail orchid (Pterostylis dilatata).

Further along more Jugs, Mosquitoes growing in the median strip of the track and Blue beards in a wet mossy area.

We then break out from woodlands into open health and find some more donkey orchids and a patch of snails Fawn snail orchid (Pterostylis parva) again in the median strip of the track. Also a lone Hare orchid (Leporella fimbriata) and some more Spider orchids are found.

We now keep trekking along and start skirting the hill looking for a way up as the rocks look very steep from this side. Unfortunately the track runs out so we bash our way through and scramble onto the rock only to be driven back by a bees nest. So we push around the base of the rock and cross over a vegetated gully, where we find some Banded greenhoods (Pterostylis vittata),  to finally get on the rock.

After looking around the rock we make our way to the side where our bush track is and Deb finds a likely way down. No orchids were found on the rock which was disappointing however the views are amazing. We made the way down the rocks on our backsides as it was very steep and slippery. Safely on the ground we now bash through the bush and find the track back to the Triton. More photos of Spiders, Snails and Blue Beard orchids taken on the walk back along the track.

Arrived back at the Triton and had a cuppa then decided it was time to head home as it is getting on to 4pm. We get back onto Fisheries Rd and head west, when we decide to check out the track just before the line of pine trees. This  patch was shared with us by Deb Witt, a fellow orchid and nature lover. A short way in we pull over for a look but nothing grabs our attention. I decide to walk ahead whilst Deb continues her search on the opposite side of the track. Only found a few rosettes before I see a flower that looks orchid like so I check it out.. WooHoo it is a Dancing spider orchid (Caladenia discoidea).

The further along we go the more we find, however some look at little different with longer sepals and colour variations. Hybrids??? It is now getting late so we turn around and on the way back we even find some Wispy Spider orchids. Then low and behold a solitary Donkey orchid. Being 5pm the light is fading fast so last photos taken with flash.

Boyatup Hill lives up to the reputation of my Mud Map reference book as we found:

Green Range donkey orchid (Diuris sp. ‘Green Range’).

Western wispy spider orchid (Caladenia microchila)  

Esperance king spider orchid (Caladenia decora)

Jug Orchid (Pterostylis recurva)

Blue beard (Pheladenia deformis)

Mosquito orchids (Cyrtostylis robusta)

Robust snail orchid (Pterostylis dilatata)

Fawn snail orchid (Pterostylis parva)

Hare orchid (Leporella fimbriata)

Banded greenhoods (Pterostylis vittata)

Dancing spider orchid (Caladenia discoidea)

plus snail and wispy spider orchids which I was not confident to name and the possible Hybrid Dancing spider orchids.

Condingup calling

22/7/2017

Again we head Eastwards but this time we head out to Condingup with a detour down to the coast at Duke of Orleans Bay (The Duke). On the drive down to The Duke we pass the boundary of  Cape Le Grand National Park, which has been burnt off, so we find a track and go in to check it out. We find nothing driving North so we venture deeper into the park by following a track West. Amazingly I spied a Snail orchid so we stop to investigate this are a further. Not real sure of the species and only one decent pic taken however Deb finds a lone Spider orchid further into the scrub.

With it’s small labellum it may be a Western wispy spider orchid (Caladenia microchila) or a Common spider orchid (Caladenia vulgata) due to white calli.

Looking further afield nothing much is found, however on moving back to the Triton I find a lone snail orchid which appears to have been knocked over by a kangaroo or other animal. Standing him back to attention I grab some snaps and then realise he is a Robust snail orchid (Pterostylis dilatata) due to having no rosette. A non flowering rosette though is very close by.

Deb them gives me a call as she has found some more Spider orchids. These now appear to be Western Wispy’s.

We move down to the coast and even though we go to numerous different locations we find nothing in flower. The closest we get is a large spider orchid close to the creek so I just had to record this.

So we leave the coast and head back inland to Condingup, however we decide to take a track just south of town and follow this till we reach a dead-end in a gravel pit. Nothing in flower again so we make tracks to our old stomping ground, Condingup Peak. (Mud Map SE 39)

First point of call is the rocky outcrop at the top of the hill. Leaves spotted again so we are getting a bit disheartened, when I spy this wonderful hood of snail orchids growing in the moss on the rock. It appears to be a hood of Brittle snail orchids (Pterostylis timothyi) 

Close by are some smaller snail orchids which appear to be Eastern granite snail orchids (Pterostylis sp. ‘miniature’) . I capture a photo of a possible pollinator as it disappears into the orchid after I capture the shot.

Whilst I busy taking photos of the snails Deb looks around and finds a sole Mosquito orchid (Cyrtostylis robusta) in flower in a patch of many leaves.

Away from the rocks now on a sandy track are more snail orchids. The rosette is small and bluish with small flowers, so appears to be Fawn snail orchid (Pterostylis parva).

We then make our way back to the Triton for arvo tea, then I walk back along the sand track towards the gravel road down the hill and notice some more snail orchids at the side of the track. As I stand upright I glance to the other side of the track and there all on it’s lonesome is a Beautiful donkey orchid (Diuris pulchella).

Deb then comes along in the Triton, so I hop in for a drive down the gravel road to a spot we have found Bird orchids before. Deb jumps out and finds 4 small rosettes of sprouting bird orchids, quite a way from flowering yet, so we need to revisit in a few weeks to try and catch the flower in full bloom.

We then move down to our usual spot on the hill, but as we only have 15 mins to spare we only find a late Hare orchid (leporella fimbriata). Time to make tracks as Deb starts work at 5pm.

Hare orchid
Twins saying goodbye to the season