So, before we get into our day of finding orchids, I need to catch-up on what’s been happening since the last post.
15/08/2022 ….. Early start as Sandy and Noel pack up and head off. A quiet morning is then enjoyed, where I go for a wander around the area near the homestead. The breakaway is amazing with its many colours. Richard then takes us for a drive up to Mt Elvire, well as high as we are game to go that is. The views are amazing. We also have fun fossicking in the black rocks of Lake Barlee.
16/08/2022 ….. I wake early for a change and go out to enjoy the sunrise. Well, that did not happen as the flies were so bad I had to wear the fly net and the sky was grey as, so no sun. It started to drizzle, then the sky grew darker. I woke up Richard and Deb so we could pack up before the rain got heavier. Fail. We pack up wet campers and head off. The track was already getting covered in water, so this will be interesting. We make it back to Evanston-Menzies Road turn west, then south down Evanston-Bullfinch Road. This road soon turned to a slippery hell ride. We could not go over 40km per hr and Richard lost control of his rig and spun 90 degrees on the track, causing damage to both camper trailer and Triton. After checking out his damage on a sealed intersection (mining roads) we take off too slowly and slide into the roadside ditch. One hr later after moving the MaxTrax many times Deb eventually gets the Triton and camper trailer back on the road. A long stressful while later the sealed road returns. Bullfinch not being much of a drawcard we head south to Southern Cross, where we are lucky enough to grab the last available room, a triple, at the Palace Hotel. Hot showers, hot meal, cold beer and warm beds are such a relief after this stressful day.
17/08/2023 ….. Waking up to a beautiful sunny, if somewhat cold day, we chuck our dirty clothes from yesterday into the washing machines, whilst we head across the highway to the local cafe for breakfast. Clothes added to the dryers Deb and I go for a walk around town, whilst Richard does some more cleaning of his rig. Check out at 10am, then we head down to do some extra cleaning as well, buy supplies from the local IGA before heading west towards Westonia.
We arrive at Westonia and grab ourselves two sites in the caravan park. Seems we needed to have booked but luckily for us the young lady who is the live-in caretaker organises for us to remain. After setting up camp we decide to go on the Woodlands & Wildflowers Heritage Walk Trail. Amazingly for us we actually start at Interpretive Sign No.1 and walk in the correct direction. We follow the trail until site 14 is reached, then due to the worsening weather we take the road back to our campers. We are lucky enough though to have stumbled across some orchids. The Hairy-stemmed snail orchid (Pterostylis setulosa) is a common inland orchid and is found growing from July to September. We find them growing singerly plus in small and large groups.
Of course, Deb gets ahead of myself and Richard as I take forever to get my photos. She calls out excitedly as she has found Rufous type greenhoods in various stages of growth, but not flowering. We quickly catchup and there are a few, so I had to grab some shots.
Again, whilst I’m taking photos Deb moves ahead and this time finds some spider orchids. From the creamy yellow colouring I believe these first orchids to be the Chameleon spider orchid (Caladenia dimidia) which flowers from July to September over an inland range, Paynes Find to Norseman.
Easier ones to identify are found next. With the Sugar orchid (Ericksonella saccharata) being first. This is a monotypic genus, so is the only species of its type. They flower August and September over a large area, Israelite Bay to Paynes Find.
Then a different type of spider orchid is found. The unusual Ant orchid (Caladenia roei) is found a couple of times. This little guy flowers from August to October, again over a large range, Eurardy Station to Norseman.
Next up a change in colour is found. The Dainty blue orchid (Cyanicula amplexans) also flowers August to October, over an inland range, Nerren Nerren Station to Norseman. They are also found in pure white form on rare occasions.
Another bright colour is sighted. The Pink candy orchid (Caladenia hirta subsp. rosea) ranges from near white to vivid pink in colour and flowers from late June through to September. They range from Kalbarri to Israelite Bay and occur further inland than the related Candy orchid.
Many more spider orchids were found, with the identification proving difficult. Some have long thin leaves, others are short and thin, whilst others are shortish and wide. Flower colours range from white to cream to pale yellow. Labellum width and markings are also varied between flowers. Many are possibly more Chameleon spider orchids as this species has variable-coloured flowers. Then possible Ironcaps and Glistening spider orchids are found. If you can assist with identification, please make comment.
Some of the orchids were definite Glistening spider orchids (Caladenia incensum) as they have broad, squat white calli and broad leaves. These orchids flower from late June right through to September over an inland range, Hyden to Nerren Nerren Station, which is north of the Murchison River.
Before reaching the road where we decide to head back due to the persistent drizzle, we find another species of orchid. The yellow donkey orchids jump out at us from the dull green, grey foliage. I feel this could be the Mottled donkey orchid (Diuris suffusa) which flowers during August and September in the recorded range, Wongan Hills to Kellerberrin. Our location is some 90kms east of the recorded range so if this ID is incorrect, please let me know.
Walking back along the road we spy more orchids, but as the rain is getting heavier, we do not stop to take any more photos. We enjoy our first night at the Westonia Caravan Park and make use of the campers’ kitchen. Let see what tomorrow brings.