13/09/2020 ….. Ravensthorpe Wildflower Show

Cocanarup Timber Reserve, Weekend away, Western Australian orchids

After spending a wonderful weekend with good friends, Warren and Tammy in Hopetoun, we venture north to Ravensthorpe as they are having their annual Wildflower Show, which we have not been to in the 20 years we have lived in Esperance.

The display of wildflowers in the shire hall was amazing so we took a few pics of the orchids they had on display. We then sat down for a cuppa, with scones, jam and cream before making our way to the local lolly shop, Yummylicious Candy Shack for an icecream. No ginger this time though 😦 so I chose macadamia then also purchased a small bag of mixed lollies. It is here we say goodbye to our friends as they head home to Esperance, as we have orchids to find.

So where do we go first, given we are already 185km east of home. You guessed it, another 15kms east to Kukenarup Memorial. As the picnic shelter is already occupied we head straight for the walk trail and immediately find some Lemon-scented sun orchids (Thelymitra antennifera) in bloom. These are by far the most widespread of the yellow sun orchids, as they occur on a line from Shark Bay to Israelite Bay and everywhere south of that line. The dark column lobes are a distinctive feature which also alludes to the Latin name: antennae, to bear .

Very close by another bright orchid of a different colour catches our eye. The Purple enamel orchid (Elythranthera brunonis) glistens in the bright sunshine.

Deb discovers a blue orchid and initially thought it would be a Blue beard however on closer inspection it was an orchid not found at this location before, which is exciting. It is a Blue china orchid (Cyanicula gemmata) which is quite widespread, ranging from Israelite Bay to Kalbarri.

I had just finished saying to Deb how it would be nice to find the Dragon orchids that were at the Wildflower Show, when what do we spy but a Common dragon orchid (Caladenia barbarossa) swaying in the breeze.

Right next door to the lone Dragon orchid we also find a lone Small mantis orchid (Caladenia attingens susp. gracillima) which is smaller than the related Fringed mantis orchid, which can also be found around Ravensthorpe. The labellum calli extend onto the red tip of the labellum, which is another distinguishing feature when comparing the two.

Making our way back to the walk track, as we have detoured a bit towards the Hwy, we come across another type of orchid. This little one appears to be the Short-sepaled spider orchid (Caladenia brevisura) due to the shortly clubbed later sepals and south-easterly location. The only other possibility is the Purple-veined spider orchid, which is pictured earlier at the wildflower Show, and the length of the sepals is definitely a distinctive feature of both types.

Towards the end of the walk trail we discover many more Lemon-scented sun orchids growing under the protection of bushes and also out on the granite growing in the Resurrection bushes.

Right at the end of the trail some Frog greenhoods (Pterostlyis sargentii) are found growing in the Resurrection bushes as well. These are a common inland greenhood growing between Northampton and Grasspatch.

We decide to go down south of the picnic shelter to see if we can locate the Red beaks we had found on previous years. Nothing at all found other than a small spent spider orchid on the edge of a track. We decide to walk along this track which heads west, toward the Phillips River. We are expanding this location as we have never ventured along this track before.

Interestingly, the first orchid found is the common Cowslip orchid (Caladenia flava sp. flava) which is unusual in that no others have been found today. One flower, 3 images.

Further along the track are some more Dragon and Purple enamel orchids.

Then on the south side of the track we stumble across some scattered Red beaks (Pyrorchis nigricans) growing in the white sand. An unusual find, given the area does not appear to have been burnt recently.

Then hiding under a bush is the smallest Blue china orchid I had ever seen. Actually looking at the labellum it appears to be a Granite china orchid (Cyanicula nikulinskyae) as it is also much paler than the typical Blue china orchid which was found earlier today.

After walking this track for about 30mins it seemed to go on forever, so we turned north to make our way back to the picnic area. Pushing up a rise we find many more Small mantis orchids as well as many Jug orchids (Petrostylis recurva), however most were finished for the season, though we took a photo just as a record.

We have now returned close to the Hwy so head west towards the picnic area. Not much found until Deb excitedly comes across a beautiful leek orchid. I believe it to be the Frilled leek orchid (Prasophyllum sargentii) which grows in sandy soils from Kalbarri to Israelite Bay during August to October.

We make it back to the picnic shelter and right there in the shade of the taller shrubs is a patch of Common dragon orchids. Photos taken but no decent ones so will not post any, however the short video seems decent enough to post.

Needing food we head off east past Ravensthorpe and onto Munglinup Roadhouse to get another burger, as they were awesome last time. Much busier today so the wait will be longer, so Deb suggests I go exploring nearby for any orchids.

Great idea my wonderful wife had. I ventured over the road to the east and immediately spied yellow flowers that looked promising. The bright and beautiful Cowslips are flowering as are the Lemon-scented sun orchids. Also a red coloured Small mantis orchid and the usual greener ones are found together with some Purple enamel orchids.

To top off this location I found three different species of white spider orchids. First up is the Common spider orchid (Caladenia varians), followed by an Esperance white spider orchid (Caladenia longicauda susp. crassa) then finally a small orchid I cannot Identify. Any help with this is appreciated.

Back to the roadhouse I go and we enjoy eating the awesome burgers before we head off to our next location. We plan to visit the spot on Boydell Road where we had seen possible hammer orchid leaves on a previous visit. I am driving and we go past the spot and travel some 20 kms before realising. We turn around and locate our marker and pull into a farmers gate leeway as we are only in the Ford, so no 4WD capability to park off the road.

Whilst we start our search on the north of the road the farmer comes to check on what we are up to. They check our car, drive up and down the road a bit then obviously decide we are not a threat and leave us be. Unfortunately the leaves we planned to check out had not produced any flowers and were dying off, however we did locate some other orchids. First up was a beautiful pair of Heberle’s spider orchid (Caladenia heberleana) which occur from Augusta to Cape Arid during September and October. The long clubbed sections of the sepals and having clubbed petals are distinguishing features. Other specimens are also found upon further searching.

Other orchids were found as well. Red beaks were found, which confirms rare individuals will flower without a need for a recent bushfire. Purple enamel orchids and Dancing spider orchids (Caladenia discoidea) round off the day. A funky name however, it is derived from the Latin discoideus alluding to the rounded shape of the labellum.

It is now just after 5pm so we had better make tracks for home. As we are closer to the Cascade Road intersection than we first thought we decide to take it back down to the hwy as it is a sealed road.

A great day orchid hunting, to finish off a great weekend. Ravensthorpe Wildflower Show provided us with the nudge to explore the area and we were rewarded with at least 16 different orchid 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.

2019 Road Trip – Flat Rock Nature Reserve to Ravensthorpe

Lake Varley NR, Nature Reserves, Numerous days, Pallarup NR, Road Trip

07/09/2019

We wake up to a beautiful sunny spring morning. A leisurely breakfast was enjoyed as we know our destination today, so no need to rush. It’s after 9am before we finally leave Flat Rock Nature Reserve and head off in an easterly direction down the Kulin-Holt Rock Road. We reach Lake Varley and pull over on the side of the road and decide to check out the flat granite outcrop, which we later find is a part of the Lake Varley Nature Reserve.

Deb finds the first orchid growing under the scrub at the edge of the rock. The wonderful yellow donkey orchids are again flowering at the edge of the rock under the protection of the scrubs. The Western wheatbelt donkey orchid (Diuris brachyscapa) is know to grow in the region with sightings recorded in Atlas of Living Australia. Kulin shire is also one of the Local Government Areas (LGA) listed in Florabase as being a location for this orchid. Links to these resources are found via the “+” sign at the bottom of every page.

Close by some wispy spider orchids are found. Due the creamy colouring of the flowers they appear to be the Cream spider orchid (Caladenia horistes) which flowers from August to early-October over an easterly range from Fitzgerald River National Park to Balladonia, however Kulin LGA is listed in Florabase as a location for this orchid.

Another yellow orchid pops up. The wonderful Cowslip orchid (Caladenia flava subsp. flava) is such a cheerful orchid to find. Bright yellow flowers with such random markings; from spots, stripes, blotches to barely none at all. This little grouping has mainly spots. The view back to the Triton provides an indication of the habitat we are exploring.

Other orchids found were a solitary Sugar orchid (Ericksonella saccharata) and Hairy-stemmed snail orchid (Pterostylis sp. ‘inland’) . Both have vast inland ranges and flower during September.

Then a perfect specimen of the Drooping spider orchid (Caladenia radialis) is found in all it’s glory. Another inland orchid but only found from Northampton to Jerramungup, so not as widespread as the Sugar or Hairy stemmed Snail orchids.

Well now the Ant orchid (Caladenia roei) turns up to entertain us. They are said to resemble a crucifix due to the petals and lateral sepals.

Then came across more Sugar orchids and a grouping of Western wheatbelt donkey orchids before finally heading back to the Triton. Last small orchids found were the Little laughing leek orchid (Prasophyllum gracile) which were camouflaged well in the moss on the granite rock.

Time to move onto our next place to explore. We detour a slight bit to check out Holt Rock. We drive into the day use area of Holt Rock but chose not to go for an exploration, though it looks like a great place to check out another time. Further south we arrive at Varley and go check out a place on the map named Dempster Rock. After a little searching we find a track into the approximate area. Looking out our windows we are rewarded with orchids.

Some old favourites were the first found. Sugar orchids and Jug orchids (Pterostylis recurva) . Both are common orchids but always a pleasure to find.

Then the spider orchids start jumping out of the woodlands. They have strong yellow tonings and therefore appear to be the Chameleon spider orchid (Caladenia dimidia) which flowers July to September in the range Paynes Find to Norseman. My references refer to them being yellow, cream or pink-red in colour with either a small pale yellow or pale white red striped labellum. Whiter specimens are found close by.

Identifying the spider orchids is difficult given many overlap in locations and they have similar features. The Western wispy spider orchid and the Ironcaps spider orchid both also have smaller labellums than others plus the Ironcaps spider orchid also varies in colour from creamy-white to pale yellow. All three orchids are shown as being located in the Varley area in the Atlas of Living Australia.

Now we do find other orchids as well, so I will mention these ones now before adding more varied spider orchid photos. Hairy-stemmed snail orchids, Blue beards (Pheladenia deformis), Little laughing leek orchids, sugar orchids and Western wheatbelt donkey orchids are found.

The most amazing find though was a Midget greenhood (Pterostylis mutica). The reason for my amazement – is it’s height of 190mm. The tallest I have ever seen. These orchids are found in all the states of Australia which is quite amazing.

Now back to these other spider orchids. Firstly we found more Drooping spider orchids or are they? Possible hybrid with the c. dimidia as the labellum is very pale in colour with smooth margins. So I will leave the actual identification for now.

Then other spider orchids found. Some in clumps and some in isolation but all beautiful as ever. Some white, whilst others had reddish tones. Any help in naming these would be appreciated.

Getting peckish, so we finally leave this great new location and head back to Varley then down to Lake King for a meal at the tavern. After a great counter lunch and beer, we cruise further south to one of our favourite patches, Pallarup Rock. Located in the Pallarup Nature Reserve this location proves a fruitful orchid patch on most visits. Today is no exception. Within minutes we locate the first of many orchids. The Pink candy orchid (Caladenia hirta subsp. rosea) is found in many colour variations. This first one is very pale but others are bright pink.

Next up we find some donkey orchids. The Western wheatbelt donkey orchid has been recorded in the Lake Grace shire whilst the other possible orchid, the Green Range donkey orchid is recorded in the Ravensthorpe shire which is nearer the coast. The basal leaves observed are not that wide which is causing me some angst in trying to ID them, so I will just posts the pics.

We now move onto the track to the water tank and at the junction find some more Sugar orchids. Then on the side of this track the first orchids found are Frog greenhoods (Pterostylis sargentii) which was named in honour of Oswald Sargent in 1905. He was an early West Australian orchidologist and pharmacist from York, where the specimen used to name it was collected in 1904.

Moving along the track the first of the spider orchids appear. The first one is an excellent example of the wispy complex. As there is one lonely specimen I will not attempt to name it, as there are too many variables with these wispy spider orchids. It could be one of three known to this location or a hybrid between two of them.

Close by is another spider orchid, but from the White spider orchid compex this time. As the sepals and petals are not that pendulous I believe this to be the Rigid white spider orchid (Caladenia longicauda subsp. rigidula) which is found between Ravensthorpe and Israelite bay from August to October. Florabase records Lake Grace and Dundas LGA’s as also being the location of this orchid, so 50kms north of Ravensthorpe in the Lake Grace shire seems appropriate.

EDIT: With thanks to Margaret’s assistance (refer comments) the ID has been clarified as an unnamed subspecies of Caladenia longicauda. I will provide my own common name as Pallarup Rock white spider orchid (Caladenia longicauda subsp. ‘Pallarup Rocks’). Exciting to find a new subspecies.

A small blue orchid catches Deb’s eagle eye. A lone china orchid is found. This pretty blue orchid has not been found in this location on any of our numerous prior visits, so this is an exciting find. Due to the darker blue colouring, scattered calli on labellum and the location this orchid must be the Blue china orchid (Cyanicula gemmata) which has the largest range of all china orchids in WA, being from Kalbarri to Israelite Bay. Flowering period is August to early-November. The one feature that did cause me confusion with the ID was the colour of the labellum, as the mostly blue labellum conflicted with the pictures in my references, which show the labellum as being mostly white or blue striped.

EDIT: With thanks to Margaret’s assistance (refer comments) the ID has been clarified as the Granite china orchid (Cyanicula nikulinskyae) which is restricted to a range between Fitzgerald River National Park and Israelite Bay. My location is 50kms north of this coastline. Flowering period is September to early-November.

Further white spider orchids were found and their features confirm my identification as Rigid white spider orchids. Also another wispy spider orchid is found and this one appears to be the Common spider orchid (Caladenia vulgata) which as the name suggests is found over a large area, from Kalbarri to Esperance, flowering during the period July to mid-October.

Next up we come across some Ant orchids. They are also known as Clown orchid, Man orchid and Jack-in-the Box.

More yellow patches are seen growing in the Pincushion plant (Borya constricta) and Sundew (Drosera). The Lemon-scented sun orchids (Thelymitra antennifera) are another widespread orchid which flower from July to October. The latin name antennifer (antennae) refers to the little lobes on the column.

Many more spider orchids are found together with patches of Cowslips and Blue beards popping up here and there. A wonderful kaleidoscope of colours.

A relative of the Ant orchid is also found in the scrub around the rock. The Short-sepaled spider orchid (Caladenia brevisura) is a common orchid found between Ravensthorpe to Israelite Bay. We have previously found these orchids east of Esperance at Condingup so we have now found them at both edges of their range.

Other orchids found in our exploration of Pallarup Rock are the Jug orchid, Little laughing leek orchid and Hairy-stemmed snail orchid (or is it?) .

4.30 in the afternoon so time to move on to Ravensthorpe for our overnight stay. We spend our last night of our road trip as we did on our first night. Staying with our son, Timothy in his little duplex unit in Ravensthorpe.

Went to bed happy to have discovered at least 19 species today, which is amazing. Also a tinge of sadness as tomorrow is our final day.

Last Hoorah of our Holidays

Day Trip, Road Trip

22/09/2017

As we came home early from our Road Trip we had to finish our holidays with a final orchid hunt. What better place to check out than Boyatup Hill (Mud Map SE40) . Like Helms Arboretum, Boyatup never disappoints. Arriving at 10am we immediately go exploring for orchids. Our first orchid is the Purple enamel orchid ( Elythranthera brunonis).  Closely followed by the small Diuris orchid, from the Bee orchid complex. From the habitat found and the small stature of the plants they appear to be the Common bee orchid (Diuris decrementa).

In close proximity we come across a Red beak (Pyrorchis nigricans), Cowslip orchids (Caladenia flava subsp. flava), more Purple enamel orchids and Common bee orchids.

Then prior to hopping back in the Triton we find some Lemon-scented sun orchids (Thelymitra antennifera) and what appears to be an Esperance king spider orchid (Caladenia decora) nearing the end of it’s season.

 We now pass through the gravel pit and head up the track to a spot that allows us to turn around, where we get out have morning tea, then head on up the overgrown track on foot,  towards the granite outcrop. Along this overgrown track we find some Pink candy orchids (Caladenia hirta subsp. rosea), more Cowslip orchids and Esperance king spider orchids, plus some of the small, Zebra orchids (Caladenia cairnsiana).

As mentioned Boyatup is a great location and as proof we have already found 8 varieties in the first half hour of looking. What will a few hours bring? We can’t wait to find out.

Next orchid found was a Pointing spider orchid (Caladenia exstans) which is only found between Esperance and Israelite Bay from September to early November.

More yellow spied. Cowslips and Lemon-scented sun orchids found.

Then to our surprise we find a Beautiful donkey orchid (Diuris pulchella), very near it’s season end, but still showing off it’s mauve colouring.

The further along we walk the more we find. More Zebra, Cowslip, Pink Candy, Pointing spider and Beautiful donkey orchids, then something new for the day. We break out of the overgrown track onto an open, damp, low granite rock space about the size of a soccer pitch and find a Blue china orchid (Cyanicula gemmata ), but exact identification is uncertain as 3 different species can be found in this location.

Next orchids found were a small grouping of a Caladenia hybrid. One parent is the Cowslip orchid but deciding the other was proving difficult. The other parent does not appear to be the usual Pink fairy orchids as the dorsal sepal hangs forward over the column, which is a feature of the Pink fans.  Reviewing the site esperancewildflowers.blogspot.com.au  and the Spider Orchids EBook 2018 it appears the other parent to be the Little pink fan orchid.  I would never have picked this due to the recorded location being  West of Bremer Bay. So in my research the EBook mentions a hybrid between these two orchids being photographed in Esperance and the Esperance wildflowers blog records finding the Little pink fan orchid within his 160km radius of Esperance. So I am recording these orchids as (Caladenia flava x Caladenia nana) an unnamed hybrid.

 Before leaving this open area we find our smallest orchid of the day. A Laughing leek orchid (Prasophyllum macrostachyum) which is found September through January in a range from Dongara to Cape le Grand. We are 50km East of this range however the flowers appear wider spaced, lateral sepals are shorter and dorsal sepal is wider, than the related Little laughing leek orchid, so I am happy with my classification.

The track becomes over grown again and we find a lone spider orchid. Appears to be a Western wispy spider orchid (Caladenia microchila) although this is far from certain

Then we come to the low prickly scrub which leads up to the Granite outcrop. Close to the base of the rock is a thick woodland but for now we are searching in thigh high bushes. Amazingly we find a Rattle Beak (Lyperanthus serratus) growing under one of the bushes bordering the track. Further along we find more Rattle beaks pushing through the prickly shrubs.

We don’t have time or inclination to bush bash to the granite rock so after a few more minutes finding further Purple enamel, Pointing spider, Esperance king spider and Zebra orchids we back track to the Triton and move on to another location closer to home, only just.

On a track named Bebenorin Rd we first come across what appeared to be another Esperance king spider orchid, but on closer inspection I believe it to be a Heberle’s spider orchid (Caladenia herberleana) due to the narrow clubbing of the lateral sepals. These flower September and October in a range from Augusta to Cape Arid which causes them to grow in the same area and at a similar time to the Esperance king spider orchid which makes it difficult to distinguish between them.

Close by we find some Dancing spider orchids (Caladenia discoidea) and more Cowslip orchids, this time with longer, thinner lateral sepals.

Another first for the day is the Common mignonette orchid (Microtis media) which flowers September through January and ranges from Shark Bay to Eyre, one of the largest ranges of the orchid family in WA.

Getting hungry so we head off to Thomas River for lunch, but not before taking a few more pics.

Just at the entrance to the National Park we find some more Rattle beaks, Lemon-scented sun orchids, Purple enamel orchids and Bee orchids, however only got good pics of the Rattle beaks.

We decide to have lunch at the top campground as they have undercover seating. First though we check out the beach and take a walk up the trail for a bit, looking for the patch of leaves we found months earlier. Nothing doing, so we head back to have lunch. On the track in, Deb spies some blue and we are lucky enough to find a solitary Coastal sun orchid (Thelymitra granitora) with a Lemon-scented sun orchid neighbour.

We park the Triton in one of the camping bays and quickly look around, finding  a Pointing spider orchid and a King spider orchid, species unknown due to it’s petals and lateral sepals being nibbled off.

After lunch we make our way to the Len Otte nature trail. At the base of the first rise we find a small Laughing leek orchid and further up a some Pink fairies (Caladenia latifolia) and  Common bee orchids.

Moving through a wooded part of the trail we find some Western wispy spider orchids, before coming out onto the next clearing. Here we get the fright of our life, with a big, black, curled up snake hiding in the low bushes. We keep to the track from now on, no bush bashing, so to speak.

Now to add to our day the heavens open up and it starts to rain. We try to hurry back but the I see another Blue sun orchid, which appears to be another Coastal sun orchid. Then just as the rain and wind picks up we find some Rabbit orchids (Leptoceras menziesii) in a new location for this nature trail. Photos with it raining and your lenses fogging up, is not an easy task.

Nearby Deb finds a lone Snail orchid. From location and the length of the lateral sepals I am naming it Ravensthorpe snail orchid (Pterostylis sp. ‘ Ravensthorpe’), which is found from Stirling Ranges to Esperance, flowering August and September.

Still getting wet, but unperturbed, we still search whilst walking quickly back and find some more spider orchids and cowslip orchids.  No good photos though, due to rain and fogging lenses, so will not post them. Well this was quite a day of orchid hunting, as our holidays draw to an end. However we did finish on a high – 22 species found in just over 4hours of searching.

Road Trip – Day 18 – Walyormouring to Tutanning Nature Reserve

Nature Reserves, Numerous days, Road Trip, Tutanning NR

18/09/2017

After breaking camp we head through Goomalling to our first planned stop, Cunderdin Hill lookout. Lots of broken glass and pink everlastings with blue cornflowers thrown in, were the only finds. We made our way down to town centre and visited the famous Ettamogah Pub for lunch.

 After lunch we head off towards Quairading, however we notice a sign for Toapin Weir (Featured Image) so decide to check it out. What an amazing hidden gem this is. Great granite outcrop to explore, flushing toilets, fresh water supply, gas BBQ and picnic tables. We would have stayed here the night had it not been so early in the day.

Now off to explore for orchids with our first find being some spent Prasophyllum gracile complex orchids closely followed by some donkey orchids. Location would suggest them to be Western wheatbelt donkey orchid (Diuris brachyscapa). 

Next up we start finding Sun orchids that have yet to open which is frustrating given our long wait in Charles Darwin Reserve. However we finally stumble across some that have opened. The Granite sun orchid (Thelymitra petrophila) which blooms August to November from Mullewa to South Australia was a sight for strained eyes.

 Much better specimens of the Little laughing leek orchid (Prasophyllum gracile) including single plants to small clumps of plants were found on the walk back to the Triton.

Now we head off for our over night stay location which we have not decided upon just yet.. How unusual for us.. NOT. We bypassed Quairading instead driving through Dangin and south past Lake Mears to Tutanning Nature Reserve, located in the Dutarning Range. Totally unaware if any suitable camping site would be found we headed West into the reserve and on the drive in we spied some Cowslip orchids (Caladenia flava subsp. flava). However as light was fading fast, given it was after 5pm, we didn’t stop to take photos as we wanted to find our overnight stop first.  By chance we came across a wonderful cleared site, which must have been some sort of farm or townsite, now abandoned. We quickly set up camp then went exploring. First up we both came across more Cowslips.

Next orchid found by Deb was a Blue china orchid (Cyanicula gemmata), which flower August to early November in a range that stretches from Kalbarri to Israelite Bay.  My next orchid on the other hand was an Ant orchid (Caladenia roei). We then quickly moved to each others location to grab some photos.