07/09/2021 ….. Wellington National Park to Condinup Crossing

Collie SF, Condinup Reserve, National Parks, Numerous days, Other Reserves, Preston (Greater) NP, Road Trip, State Forest, Wellington NP, Western Australian Orchids, Wilga SF

Waking up in the middle of the bush is such an amazing way to start the day. After an enjoyable relaxing breakfast we venture into the bush for an explore. Close to our camp we stumble across some snail orchids. Possibly Red sepaled snail orchid (Pterostylis erubescens ) even though it is not recorded at this location in either the Atlas of Living Australia or Florabase. The uniformly thickened lateral sepals, pointed hood and red colouring though all allude to this identification. In the reference books, its location is listed as between Mandurah and Albany, which one would think includes Wellington National Park.

Further afield we find the colourful Little pink fairy (Caladenia reptans subsp. reptans) which is a common orchid found from Northampton to Esperance. The easiest way to distinguish them from the similar Pink Fairy is the colour to the reverse of their leaf. Little pink fairies are red whilst pink fairies are green.

Then we are very happy with our next find. The Bird orchid (Pterostylis barbata) is the most widespread of this complex, with it’s range occurring from Bindoon to Albany. The dorsal sepal and petals form a hood, whilst the lateral sepals are long and narrow. The featherlike labellum, appears to erupt from a burst belly.

Next up some more common pterostylis sp. orchids are found. The ever reliable Jug orchid (Pterostylis recurva) and the Banded greenhood (Pterostylis vittata) are found, but only one specimen of each, which is unusual.

Then more snail orchids are found and upon closer inspection they have crinkled edged leaves on their rosette. They must be the Slender snail orchid (Pterostylis crispula) which is found in forests between Perth and Albany.

Another colour then catches our eye. We find a Silky blue orchid (Cyanicula sericea) partly open so grab a snap. However a bit later on we find some fully open. These beautiful orchids flower over most of the southwest, from Jurien Bay to Fitzgerald River National Park. They are also listed as being found east of Esperance, which is interesting. A population separated from the main location is referred to as a disjunct occurrence.

Well finally time to move on, so we leave our overnight campsite and venture back south towards Mungalup road. Rather than go back to the dam we turn at River Road and make a stop just past the Transmission Tower north of Pile Road. Here we locate some more Red-sepaled snail orchids, Jug orchids and Little pink fairies.

Turning onto Pile Road we travel east and flow into Mungalup road. Further along we then turn off into the Collie State Forest, onto a gravel track named Lyalls Log Road and head into the unknown. At a small creek crossing we stop to investigate. Here we find some snail orchids growing on the banks. Due to the uniformly thickened lateral sepals and the hairy stem, they must be more Red-sepaled snail orchids.

We then move away from the crossing to pull off the track in case anyone else comes along. We then continue our investigation of the nearby open bushland. Here we find more beautiful Silky blue orchids which stand out in the gravely ground.

Then a Bird orchid is found looking like it is giving praise to the heavens. Later on further blooming Bird orchids are found.

The usual suspects for today are found again. Banded greenhood, Little pink fairy and Jug orchid. Ok, I wonder if anything else will turn up. We widen our search with fingers crossed.

Our hopes are rewarded, with some Clubbed spider orchids (Caladenia longiclavata) found interspersed between the trees. This orchid flowers from September to early November and is distributed between Perth and Albany growing in forests and woodlands. It grow up to 400mm in height and has a single , erect hairy leaf which can be up to 180mm in length. Now the orchids could also be the Big clubbed spider orchid (c. magniclavata) as the clubbed sections of the lateral sepals seem to be half the length which is a distinguishing feature, whilst the previously mentioned Clubbed spider orchid has clubs around 1/3rd the length of the sepals. What do you think is the right ID?

Then we are amazed to find another type of spider orchid as well. The Leaping spider orchid (Caladenia macrostylis) flowers from August to early November over a range between Albany and Bindoon. The species name refers to the broad wings to the column. Another distinguishing feature is the dense central cluster of deep, purplish calli.

After nearly 40 mins searching this location we decide we had best move on. We did not get to far along the road before we pull over again. Another new orchid for today is found. The small Midge orchid (Cyrtostylis huegelii) needs a steady hand to get a good shot. Unfortunately no steady hand between us 😦 , however will post the best pic. These little guys flower July to September so we are lucky to find some still in flower.

What caught our eye and made us stop at this spot was the large flock of Bird orchids. Also mixed in was a lone Little pink fairy. Photos taken we move on, but don’t get very far, coz a double headed Little pink fairy catches our eye.

Our road eventually terminates at a T junction with Mungalup Tower road and we head south. This road terminates at a tree plantation, so we skirt along the boundary of this plantation until we reach Lyalls Mill Road. So we end up stopping multiple times along the way as orchids catch our eye. A random selection of photos taken is posted for your enjoyment, as no new species were found.

Being close to Glen Mervyn Dam we decide to pull into the picnic area for our lunch. (Refer feature picture) Whilst enjoying lunch overlooking the beautiful water, we discover a nice little grouping of Little pink fairies and another jug orchid. However we do not venture far as we still have a ways to go before our planned overnight stay at Debbie’s cousin Kerry’ farm.

Still around 80-100kms to travel, however we only make it to Noggerup before stopping again. We take a road into the Preston National Park (Shown as Greater Preston NP in Maps) where we go for an exploration. We find orchids, however no new species which is disappointing, but hey, orchids are orchids, so of course we take many photos.

We head back to the Donnybrook Boyup Brook road and move south to Camballan Road, where we stop for another search, this time in the Wilga State Forest. At last we find a new species for the day. The quirky Dancing spider orchid (Caladenia discoidea) is found standing proud. It is quite unique in appearance, given the petals and lateral sepals are held horizontally. Another new species for the day is the Cowslip orchid (Caladenia flava subsp. flava) which is usually found everywhere, but we only find one lone specimen here. Other orchids found were the Little pink fairy and Jug orchid.

A little further along the road we make one final stop in the Wilga State Forest, as farmland is looming. Only found a Banded greenhood in our quick search though. So we moved on and pulled over on the verge of Condinup road for a slightly longer search (15 mins). Here we found some Little pink fairies, Cowslip and Jug orchids.

We were amazed by the large numbers of donkey orchids found here. There are 3 listed in Florabase as occurring in the Boyup Brook shire but only 1 of these is listed in Atlas of Living Australia. That one being the Purple pansy orchid , which they are definitely not, so I will just refer to them as Donkey orchids (Diuris sp.). As per usual, please comment if you can help identify the species.

Getting close to our destination, so we move on and go over Condinup Crossing, where we pull up at a previously known location. Deb heads off straight away looking for the white spider orchids, whilst I do my usual wander. She did find a couple of them and from the location I feel they could be the White spider orchid (Caladenia longicauda subsp. longicauda) which is recorded as growing in woodlands from Lancelin to Mount Barker.

No other new orchids for the day are found however I will post some pics to confirm the location they were found. The donkey orchids though look like the Small flowered donkey orchid (Diuris porrifolia) which is listed as being found around these parts. Thoughts?

Well it’s now after 4pm so we jump back in the Triton and head to Kerry’s farm, where we are staying the night.

Not too bad a day today. Travelled new routes and found many orchids. 14 species in fact, so an awesome day actually.

03/09/2021 ….. Northam to Bedfordale Pt2

Beelu NP, National Parks, Nature Reserves, Numerous days, Road Trip, St Ronans NR, Wandoo NP, Western Australian Orchids

After leaving Mokine Nature Reserve we make our way south down Wambyn Road to St Ronans Nature Reserve (Mud Map E 7). We park up at the NW boundary of the park and go exploring. My first orchid found is the Little pink fairy (Caladenia reptans subsp. reptans) which is a rather common orchid flowering between Northampton and Esperance. They are always a pleasure to find though and range from pale to vivid pink in colour.

Also found is a lone Green spider orchid (Caladenia falcata), which is referred to as a common wheatbelt orchid, given its distribution from Wongan Hills to Jerramungup. This specimen stands a good 300mm in height and they are recorded as growing to 400mm in height.

Next up a patch of yellow is seen. Getting closer it is confirmed to be a donkey orchid and appears to be a Small flowered donkey orchid (Diuris porrifolia) which can have up to 7 flowers per orchid. Florabase confirms they are located in the Northam and York shires so the location is covered. The other possibility is the common donkey orchid which is similar though larger in size. Thoughts??

Finally we come across a new orchid for the day. The bright white Sugar orchid (Ericksonella saccharata) is found as two scattered individuals, which is light on when compared to the dozens we have found growing elsewhere in previous seasons. Ericksonella is a another monotypic genus endemic to Western Australia.

The final orchid for this location is another yellow orchid. The reliable Cowslip orchid (Caladenia flava subsp. flava) is found with markings similar to the Brookton Highway cowslip orchid, though this orchid flowers from late September and is located further south. I have read that the boundaries are quite unpredictable with the subspecies but I’m happy to call it the plain cowslip.

We can’t spend an hour at each site, so we move onto Mount Observation in the Wandoo National Park to show Richard what we found here last year. Let’s hope they are flowering this season. On the drive in we spy a nice white spider orchid. I believe it to be the White Spider orchid (Caladenia longicauda subsp. longicauda) which is known to grow in the area and does occur in gravelly ground.

We then make our way up to the picnic area and park up, to go exploring. Not much around here but we did come across a couple of Blue beards (Pheladenia deformis) which is another monotypic genus, however this time is located along the whole of southern Australia including Tasmania. The most distinctive feature which alludes to the common name, is the dense mass of calli and short fringe segments to the upright labellum.

Walking back to the Tritons, Deb and I come across some Green spider orchids. Then a rocky incline, above the parking area, I find some more Small flowered donkey orchids.

Hidden by a log right where we parked is a couple of Jug orchids (Pterostylis recurva) which are a unique shaped orchid from the Pterostylis genus. They have also been referred to as the Recurved shell orchid, Antelope orchid and Bull orchid.

We now move on and stop at an area we have found other orchids before. The Clubbed spider orchid (Caladenia longiclavata) is again found growing on the verges. As the common names alludes both the sepals and petals are clubbed, with the former being long, thick, grooved clubs and the later small, thin clubs.

However some seem to be the often co-located Big clubbed spider orchid (Caladenia magniclavata) which is distinguished by having down-swept petals and lateral sepals and the clubs to the lateral sepals being approx 50% of the length. The Clubbed spider orchids clubbing is around 30% of the length in comparison.

More Little pink fairies were located as were some awesome Bird orchids (Pterostylis barbata) which are the most widespread of the bird orchids, ranging from Bindoon and Albany. I am amazed at the structure of these orchids with their beak, bloated body and feather duster like labellum.

Also found mixed in with the Clubbed spiders, Big clubbed spiders, Pink fairies and Bird orchids were more Blue beards and Jug orchids.

Finally we move on and close to the end of the track, near the Great Southern Highway we find some more donkey orchids and a Sugar orchid.

Turning south at Mundaring we travel along Mundaring Weir Road and make an on the spot decision to stop at Gungin Gully in the Beelu National Park for our last exploration of the day. We hit the bush and first orchid found is another Jug orchid quickly followed by a Bird orchid. In fact we find so many bird orchids, it is mind blowing.

Another Pterostylis sp. is found amongst the flock of Bird orchids. A small snail orchid is found, however I will not endeavour to name it based on one specimen. If you have any ideas on the ID please contact me.

Another Small flowered donkey orchid is found together with a very finished Hare orchid (Leporella fimbriata). I took photos of both just to record their location.

The highlight of today was finding numerous Silky blue orchids (Cyanicula sericea) which is a common orchid in the western part of its distribution whilst becoming rarer in the eastern parts. Distribution is Jurien Bay to Condingup. The black spotted labellum is a distinctive feature of this orchid.

It’s 3pm so time to make our way to Sandy and Noel’s place in Bedfordale, where we will crash the night. Over the next couple days I train down to Mandurah to visit my mum and sister Maxine, then catch up with the in-laws for a Father’s Day breakfast near the Swan River, then pop up to my brothers place in Dwellingup, where we grab another bed for the night.

Another great day with at least 17 species of orchid found.

26/08/2020 ….. Mornington to Dinninup (Road Trip 2020)

Condinup Reserve, Mumballup SF, Other Reserves, Road Trip, State Forest, Western Australian Orchids

Waking up to more conveyor belt noise we enjoy breakfast in the beautiful sunshine before we head off exploring the bush. We have time to kill as we have a rather damp camper, which needs to dry out before being packed up.

Mornington

Little pink fairies

(Caladenia reptans subsp. reptans)

Banded greenhood

(Pterostylis vittata)

Jug orchid

(Pterostylis recurva)

Warty hammer orchid

(Drakaea livida)

So excited to have found a new genus, Drakaea. Initially found orchids with buds opening then moved on to finding other types of orchids. Heading back to the campsite we stumbled across a patch with Drakaea orchids in full flower. The Warty hammer orchid is an amazing little orchid.

It is now past 11 am so we packed up quickly and headed off, driving over that noisy conveyor belt, as we headed west. We stopped at the Harris Dam (Lake Ballingall) and had lunch, before moving on towards Collie. Just before heading into town, we stop at a bush block that had walk trails through it and went for a wander.

Collie – Harris River Road

Banded greenhood

(Pterostylis vittata)

Little pink fairies

(Caladenia reptans subsp. reptans)

We now pop into Collie and go shopping for supplies before heading southeast toward McAlinden. A random stop on the roadside in the Mumballup State Forest turned out to be a great idea.

Mumballup State Forest

Leaping spider orchid

(Caladenia macrostylis)

Little pink fairies

(Caladenia reptans subsp. reptans)

Bird orchid

(Pterostylis barbata)

Another State Forest location proved successful. However, we must move on if we are to reach our planned overnight destination. Reaching McAlinden we turn east, then take the Boyup Brook Road North south to Sandalwood Road. Here we check out a bush block.

Sandalwood Road

Little pink fairies

(Caladenia reptans subsp. reptans)

Big clubbed spider orchid

(Caladenia magniclavata)

Jug orchid

(Pterostylis recurva)

As it is nearing 3.30 pm we move onward toward our planned overnight stop, which takes us over Condinup Crossing, a concrete causeway over Dinninup brook. No water flowing over the causeway and no orchids found on our quick scout around. We then pull over on the roadside for a quick explore of Condinup Reserve. Orchids found so a slightly longer stop than planned.

Condinup Reserve

Donkey/pansy orchid

(Diuris sp.)

Jug orchid

(Pterostylis recurva)

Tangled white spider orchid

(Caladenia longicauda subsp. redacta)

Little pink fairies

(Caladenia reptans subsp. reptans)

Cupped banded greenhood

(Pterostylis concava)

Well, we are so close to our planned overnight stay and it is getting close to 4.30 pm so we decide to move on. We arrive at the farm of Deb’s cousin and are welcomed by Kerry, the kids, and their dog. After a quick hello, I am granted permission to go exploring whilst the cousins catch up. No need to set up the camper, as we have a nice warm bed ready for us. The farm where we are staying backs onto the Condinup Reserve, so I have some nice bush to check out within walking distance from the farmhouse.

Dinninup – Cousins Farm

Little pink fairies

(Caladenia reptans subsp. reptans)

Donkey/pansy orchid

(Diuris sp.)

Cupped banded greenhood

(Pterostylis concava)

As well as finding orchids in their bush block I also came across some old bottles. Weirdly enough these bottles were my highlight of this final exploration of the day. Now time to enjoy country hospitality and a warm cosy bed.

22/08/2020 ….. Montague State Forest to Highbury State Forest (Road Trip 2020)

Foxes Lair, Highbury SF, Montague SF, Other Reserves, Road Trip, State Forest, Western Australian Orchids

Where better to wake up than in the middle of a forest!! After eating breakfast, listening to all the birds chirping and chittering, we pack up the camper before exploring our surroundings, for an hour or so.

Montague State Forest

Sugar orchid

(Ericksonella saccharata)

Slender snail orchid

(Pterostylis crispula)

Small flowered donkey orchid

(Diuris porrifolia)

Jug orchid

(Pterostylis recurva)

Cowslip orchid

(Caladenia flava subsp. flava)

Little pink fairies

(Caladenia reptans subsp. reptans)

Banded greenhood

(Pterostylis vittata)

Frog greenhood

(Pterostylis sargentii)

Hairy-stemmed snail orchid

(Pterostylis setulosa)

Rosette

Clubbed spider orchid

(Caladenia longiclavata)

We finally get back on the road around midday and head to Narrogin to obtain some supplies. We will lunch at our next orchid hunting location, which is on the outskirts of town.

Common donkey orchid

(Diuris corymbosa)

Jug orchid

(Pterostylis recurva)

Little pink fairies

(Caladenia reptans subsp. reptans)

Banded greenhood

(Pterostylis vittata)

Dark banded greenhood

(Pterostylis sanguinea)

Cowslip orchid

(Caladenia flava subsp. flava)

Blue beard

(Pheladenia deformis)

Sugar orchid

(Ericksonella saccharata)

Primrose spider orchid

(Caladenia xantha)

Small flowered donkey orchid

(Diuris porrifolia)

Cupped banded greenhood

(Pterostylis concava)

Hairy stemmed snail orchid

(Pterostylis setulosa)