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)

Frog greenhood

(Pterostylis sargentii)

After spending a few hours walking the trails around Foxes Lair we make a move as we need to find another secluded overnight stop, as our planned stop at the Highbury Tavern could not go ahead as it was closed. We turn off the highway on Highbury Road West passing Highbury Nature Reserve and reach Warren Rd. Turn south or keep going west? West it is. Reaching Tarwonga Road we turn south then take a track into Highbury State Forest. Here we camp up at the Telstra Tower and once set up, we scout around.

Highbury State Forest

Cowslip orchid

(Caladenia flava subsp. flava)

Little pink fairies

(Caladenia reptans subsp. reptans)

Sugar orchid

(Ericksonella saccharata)

Another day comes to an end. We settle in for the night around another camp fire and recount our wonderful day of exploration for orchids.

21/08/2020 ….. Pingeculling Nature Reserve to Montague State Forest (Road Trip 2020)

Goodenough NR, Horne NR, Hotham River NR, Montague SF, Nature Reserves, Pingeculling NR, Road Trip, State Forest, Western Australian Orchids

We pack up camp after breakfast and head back the way we came yesterday, as we don’t wish to encounter any more trees across the track by heading further west. Deb grabs some orchid photos on the way out and we inspect a farmers rubbish pile for any collectables.

Cowslip orchid

(Caladenia flava subsp.flava)

Common donkey orchid

(Diuris corymbosa)

As we didn’t find much in the rubbish dump we jump back in the Triton and head back to Moorumbine Road then turn south. Along this road we find our next stop, the Horne Nature Reserve. Weirdly the only access to the reserve is a sealed road which leads to a Telstra tower. So we park up at the tower and go exploring. We find some orchids, however more excitedly, we come across an Echidna.

Sugar orchid

(Ericksonella saccharata)

Frog greenhood

(Pterostylis sargentii)

Western wheatbelt donkey orchid

(Diuris brachyscapa)

Little pink fairy, dwarf pink fairy

(Caladenia reptans subsp. reptans)

Echidna playing hide n seek with us

It’s now after 11.30 in the morning, so we make tracks toward Pingelly. On the Aldersyde Pingelly Road we pull over on the side of the road, at the strangely named Goodenough Nature Reserve. We explore for orchids and are not disappointed.

Goodenough Nature Reserve

Green spider orchid, Fringed mantis orchid

(Caladenia falcata)

Blue beard, blue fairy orchid

(Pheladenia deformis)

Small flowered donkey orchid

(Diuris porrifolia)

Cowslip orchid

(Caladenia flava subsp. flava)

Red-veined shell orchid

(Pterostylis hamiltonii)

Banded greenhood

(Pterostylis vittata)

Feeling a bit peckish, we decide to head off and check out Pingelly for lunch. Whilst waiting for our counter meal, Deb relives our time at Las Vegas.

After enjoying an amazing lunch, we head south down the Great Southern Hwy. We only just leave the townsite when we pull over to check out some promising woodland. This proved to be a great decision.

Just South of Pingelly

Crimson spider orchid

(Caladenia footeana)

Blue beard

(Pheladenia deformis)

Green spider orchid

(Caladenia falcata)

Small flowered donkey orchid

(Diuris porrifolia)

Banded greenhood

(Pterostylis vittata)

Was very happy to have found a red coloured spider orchid, however we must move on. Our next stop is along Langes Road in the Hotham River Nature Reserve. We go exploring this wonderful woodland (Featured Image) and find a few orchids, which is a bonus.

Jug orchid

(Pterostylis recurva)