Dempster Head on a windy afternoon

29/07/2018

On a fine but windy afternoon we decide to spend a couple hours traipsing around Dempster Head (Mud Map SE34) with the hope of finding some orchids in flower. I finally find a Mosquito orchid (Cyrtostylis robusta) in flower, underneath an overhanging bush in the quite bushy area just above the steps from the gazebo. Not that we walked the steps, we came from the other direction ūüôā Mosquito orchids flower June to August in a range from Perth to Israelite Bay.

Back towards where the boardwalk steps down I find the wonderful little Eastern granite snail orchid (Pterostylis voigtii) which only occurs between Esperance and Israelite Bay in the months July to early September. These are the smallest of the snail orchids in WA, reaching a height of only 50mm.

Other snail orchids and mosquito orchids found. We did not find the Shell orchids from the previous year though ūüė¶

 

 

Peak Charles National Park

 

 

13/07/2018

Packed up the camper and headed off up the Coolgardie-Norseman Hwy for a long overdue weekend camping trip. We chose Peak Charles National Park as we had not visited since 2015.  This years dry winter allows us to visit, as the roads are usually impassable if wet. Consequently we had never visited this early in the season before, so who knows what orchids may be in flower. Although this dry start will also impact the orchids themselves, so it is a two edged sword. Our first stop on the Hwy is Scaddan, where we find Diuris plants with leaves but no flowers as yet. So off we head further north, with next stop being Salmon Gums. 

We checked out our usual spot and was lucky enough to find some Midget greenhoods (Pterostylis mutica) which are found from Wongan Hills to the SA border flowering July to October. Fewer flowers than last years visit (15/07/2017) however still happy to find some.  Only other finds were spent Pygmy orchids (Corunastylis tepperi). 

We pulled into the travel stop in Salmon Gums and had our lunch, before heading off for Peak Charles. On the drive in just before the Lake King – Norseman Road intersection we checked out a granite rock location and found a lone Dark banded greenhood (Pterostylis sanguinea) with an unusual light orangey-brown colouring. Nothing else found.

Dark banded greenhood
Unusual colouring

Upon arrival at the Peak Charles National Park camping ground we were amazed to find it empty, so we enjoyed setting up camp before heading out on a late afternoon check of the surroundings. We went to the place we had found orchids previously and after a lot of searching we finally found some in flower. Hairy-stemmed snail orchid (Pterostylis sp. ‘inland’) is a common inland orchid found from Kalbarri to Balladonia, flowering late June to September. Also know as Pterostylis setulosa and found in SA and NSW. An extremely variable species. We explored onto the granite but due to fading light no more sightings made.¬†

Back to camp for dinner, which happened to be lamb chops cooked on the little BBQ, which was a Christmas gift from Jace, Amber and Oliver. 

14/07/2018

We awoke to a beautiful sunny winters day and enjoyed a bacon and egg breakfast before heading off to explore further. Deb wanted to check out the snail orchids again to get some photos with the Olympus M5, so we headed back to the spot we found them yesterday afternoon.

We then ventured onto the granite rocks and climbed up looking for anything else that may be flowering. The old faithful Resurrection plant was flowering and more snail orchids were found, however they were very few and far between with so many rosettes having only very small buds. Late season it seems. 

What?, another Pterostylis but not a snail this time. I found a lone double headed Dark Banded greenhood.

Looking back towards Peak Charles itself, we decided to venture up a wooded slope which incorporated a run-off creek bed. It started out quite open and there were yellow daisies flowering however once the Sheaok trees started the daisies stopped. Deb then stumbles across a nice, small hood of snails which was exciting as the previous ones found were all very spaced apart. Hairy-stemmed snail orchids

We then pushed into the creek-bed which is strewn with boulders, logs and other debris and Deb yells in excitement. She has never seen so many Cyrtostylis leaves, however only a few were in bud and not yet fully blooming. Oh well we did say earlier, the season appears late at this location.

We spent the next 30 mins or so clambering up and over rocks, logs and between trees and bushes on a 30 degree hill slope in the vain hope of finding some in flower. Alas it was not meant to be ..Many Pterostylis rosettes were found as well.

Back to camp for a late lunch and we now had company as 3 sites had been occupied. Later that afternoon the wind picked up so we rested and watched 4WDs, motorbikes, buggies and quads arrive for what may turn into a rowdy night. However they all disappeared to another camping spot as they numbered too many for this location. Thankyou!!!! After some soup for dinner we climbed into the camper and played cards before crashing into bed. It was a wet n windy night so not a great sleep was had. 

15/07/2018

Woke up to blue skies but the wind was still gusty. Had eggs n bacon again then slowly packed up. The camper roof was damp so used our gas heater to assist in the drying. Finally got a move on just after 11am. We quickly checked some granite outcrops on the drive back to the HWY but nothing found. Pulled into the Salmon Gums Roadhouse and grabbed a coffee and a meat pie, before making a beeline for Eldred Road. Nothing found near the HWY so we moved to the spot East of the largest lake where we found many Dark banded greenhoods, mainly at he base  of the larger trees. 

Moving further south we next visit the Red Lake Townsite Nature Reserve where Pterostylis again reign supreme. More Dark banded greenhoods found with the unusual colouring like back at Peak Charles N.P. Also found were some Frog greenhoods (Pterostylis sargentii), which had formed their hood but had yet to open up the lateral sepals. Also found a lone flowering Midget greenhood. 

Final stop was at Truslove Townsite Nature Reserve where we looked for something other than a Pterostylis. Thank goodness we found them. Some donkey orchids were found with others yet to flower. I will name these as Green Range donkey orchid (Diuris sp. ‘Green Range’) which flower July to early September in a range from Denmark to Esperance.¬†

Green Range donkey orchid
So many yet to flower

We enjoyed our camping weekend exploring North of Esperance. Pterostylis reigned supreme but we did find our first Diuris species for the season. The number of rosettes and Cyrtostylis leaves found blew our minds. We must get back one day to see if they translate into flowers.

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….

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

 

Coolinup calling – Pt 2

16/7/2017

We move to a different location on the other side of Coolinup Road and have a bite to eat for lunch. Whilst eating and having a cuppa after taking a selfie on a mound of gravel, we notice some snail and greenhood orchids. On closer inspection they are Dark banded greenhood (Pterostylis sanguinea) and Fawn snail orchid (Pterostylis parva). Then right next to the Triton Deb spies another Spider orchid which appears to be a Western Wispy spider orchid (Caladenia microchila) as the calli on the labellum have red colouring to them. This is promising!!!!

On the walk around we locate more snails, spiders and greenhoods. I even came across a dodgy looking hare orchid.

We then move onto the small granite rock area on Coolinup Road. (Mud Map SE 38) We again had to bush bash our way in as the recent rain had created a large puddle over our access. Once through Deb finds some Mosquito orchids (Cyrtostylis robusta) in flower under the bushes so we do the best we can to get some photos. Only 1 OK one though taken.

The we head home via one more stop. The granite rock at the corner of Le Grande Road and Merivale Road. The east side track was taken up to an abandoned picnic area. Here I find a solitary snail orchid well past its prime.

We then venture up the incline and find many many Cyrtostylis leaves,  a few Pyrorchis leaves and groups of Caladenia leaves. Finally find some Mosquito orchids in flower and one Red Beak orchid budding up.

The wind is blowing a gale and it is freezing with light fading fast so we make tracks back to the Triton and head back down the track to Merivale Road. One lone Spider orchid I spy so jump out for some quick photos as the rain starts. Great timing to finish the day.

Final orchid of the day but today confirms the time of the SPIDERS has arrived

Solo search

9/7/2017

Quick visit to Dempster Head ( Mud Map SE 34 ) to check on the progress o the orchids found last visit and to see if anything new has popped it’s head up. First batch of round leaves had buds growing but nothing in full flower. From the buds they will be a Cyrtostylis species. Found the spot where the Mosquito orchid (Cyrtostylis robusta) was last time and on the other side of the bush I found some better specimens.

The shell orchid found partially out was located now fully in bloom and confirmed to be a Curled-tongue shell orchid (Pterostylis rogersii) with a few more partially formed neighbours. I then took into the bush on a wider inspection of the area in the hope of finding something new. Found more shell and mosquito orchids and a large area of what appears to be Rabbit orchid leaves.

Almost forgot to check on the Eastern granite snail orchid (Pterostylis sp. ‘miniature’ ) to see if he had any buddies yet. Located him and he happened to have one new friend. Nothing new found today so will re-visit in a few weeks to see what can be found as there were many leaves of what appear to be Diuris and Caladenia species.