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)

Sugar orchid

(Ericksonella saccharata)

Common donkey orchid

(Diuris corymbosa)

Small flowered donkey orchid

(Diuris porrifolia)

Banded greenhood

(Pterostylis vittata)

Blue china orchid

(Cyanicula gemmata)

Little pink fairies

(Caladenia reptans subsp. reptans)

Frog greenhood

(Pterostylis sargentii)

Green spider orchid

(Caladenia falcata)

After a wonderful exploration of the woodland we make tracks further south, reaching Yornaning a small town on the highway. It is here we stop for a walk around the dam.

Yornaning Dam

Western wheatbelt donkey orchid

(Diuris brachyscapa)

Cowslip orchid

(Caladenia flava subsp. flava)

Dark banded greenhood

(Pterostylis sanguinea)

Hybrid caladenia

(Caladenia flava x C. reptans)

Blue beard

(Pheladenia deformis)

Green spider orchid

(Caladenia falcata)

It’s now after 3.30pm so we need to think about where we will camp the night. We travel west to the Montague State Forest. Taking a track in, we slowly drive along looking for a suitable place to camp. We come across some orchids and finally reach a large fence with a gate that is locked. There is a cleared area close by so we set up camp for the night.

Montague State Forest

Little pink fairies

(Caladenia reptans subsp. reptans)

Big clubbed spider orchid

(Caladenia magniclavata)

Sugar orchid

(Ericksonella saccharata)

Jug orchid

(Pterostylis recurva)

Small flowered donkey orchid

(Diuris porrifolia)

What a wonderful day orchid hunting today has been. We settle in for a secluded night under the stars in the middle of the forest.

Overnight camp

20/07/2020 ….. R.D.O. Ramble to Ravensthorpe

Cocanarup Timber Reserve, Day Trip, Esperance, National Parks, Nature Reserves, Pink Lake, Springdale NR, Stokes NP, Western Australian Orchids

I have taken an Rostered Day Off (RDO) today so I can spend some more time with my sister Lorraine and her hubby Ken. Yesterday we went north of the South Coast Hwy and detoured back east of Esperance. Today we are going west and staying within 50kms of the coast.

Our first point of call is along the edge of our famous Pink Lake. Here we discover some Mosquito orchids (Cyrtostylis robusta) growing in the dense undergrowth. These unusual orchids flower during the winter months over an area stretching from Perth to Israelite Bay.

Nothing more found other than Pterostylis rosettes, with some in bud, so we move onwards. Next stop is the Stokes National Park camping grounds. Actually we find orchids before the campground, just growing along the roadside. First up are some wispy type spider orchids. Due to the colouring of the flowers and the larger leaf width, I believe these orchids to be the Common spider orchid (Caladenia varians). As the name suggests it is a common orchid with a large distribution, Kalbarri to Cape Arid National Park. It also has a long season, flowering from July to mid-October.

Intermixed with the spider orchids were patches of yellow. Bright yellow South coast donkey orchids (Diuris sp. ‘south coast’) are found from Denmark to Munglinup during the winter months. They were first recognised as distinct in 1999 when collected near Munglinup, which is approximately 20kms to the west of our current location.

We finally make it to the campground and it was a let down with only a Dark Banded greenhood (Pterostylis sanguinea) in flower and a Banded greenhood (Pterostylis vittata) finished for it’s season. We did however stop and have morning tea overlooking the Stokes Inlet.

We move on further west along the South Coast Hwy, before turning south down Springdale Road. We pullover to the side of the road at Springdale Nature Reserve for a quick check. Straight away we find the Reaching spider orchid (Caladenia arrecta) which blooms from late-July till mid-October between Bindoon and Esperance. Prominently clubbed petals and sepals ,plus the dark red labellum with dark red calli are distinctive features.

Also found were the South coast donkey orchids, with many more to come. However we must push on as it is now past lunch time and we still have Munglinup Beach campground to check out.

Well first up we drive down to the Oldfield River and park up on the granite rock bank, so we can have a quick scout around. Other than one South coast donkey orchid and many leaves in bud, nothing much was found so we quickly move on.

We now venture down to the Munglinup Beach campground (Mud Map SE 33) and I go looking for the elusive helmet orchid, whilst Deb takes Lorraine and Ken down to the beach. I come across loads of leaves and then find some sprouting flowers, however they are not fully open. By this time Deb has made her way into the Agonis flexuosa grove and we both simultaneously find fully open ones in different patches. They are confirmed as being the Crystal helmet orchid (Corybas limpidus) which flowers from July to early-September in coastal locations between Walpole and Esperance. We had to lie flat on the ground to get the photos as they are only 20mm in height.

Very happy to have found these beautiful small orchids flowering as they are listed for the Mud Map reference. Also found underneath the Agonis flexuosa trees are snail orchids. They appear to be the Coastal snail orchid (Pterostylis sp. ‘coastal snail’) which is found between Bremer Bay and Israelite Bay during the months of July and August. Distinctive features are bloated appearance and small thickened lateral sepals.

Leaving Munglinup Beach we now drive west towards Hopetoun our planned lunch stop. On the way we check out both Starvation Bay and Masons Bay campgrounds. Choosing the bakery for lunch we walk down to the foreshore and finally fill our bellies.

We now head north to Ravensthorpe where we grabbed a ginger ice-cream from Yummylicious Candy Shack. Sooooo good!! After showing Lorraine and Ken the Grain Silo’s, we head west out to Kukenarup Memorial, one of our regular orchid haunts.

Just past the Eagle Wings to the left is a wonderful little Dancing spider orchid (Caladenia discoidea) which is found between Israelite Bay and Kalbarri flowering during August, September and October.

Next up we find the Blue beard (Pheladenia deformis) which flowers over along season, May till October. They can occupy many different habitats, (woodlands, shrublands, granite outcrops and forests) over a range from Israelite Bay to the Murchison River. Many specimens are found at this location today.

On the return leg of the trail we find some donkey orchids. As mentioned in the Esperance Wildflowers blog (refer links) the Green Range and South coast donkey orchids overlap in their distribution and have very similar features which makes identifying them so much harder. I will call those found today South coast donkey orchids as the labellum mid lobe has light patches on the edges. However I am open to correction.

Final orchid for the day was the reliable Jug orchid (Pterostylis recurva) which occurs between Geraldton and Israelite Bay from August to October. As it is now past 5pm the light is fading fast, so the pics are not the best, however they still record the finding.

From here it is a quick dash to the lookout on Mt Desmond, east of Ravensthorpe, to catch the sunset. Another wonderful day showing Lorraine and Ken our beautiful SE coast and surrounds.

04/07/2020 ….. July Jaunt to the West

Day Trip, Lake Shaster NR, Munglinup NR, National Parks, Nature Reserves, Springdale NR, Stokes NP

Today we plan on visiting Munglinup Beach shire reserve and search for the shell orchids we have previously found there. Other than that we are going to wing it. It is a beautiful sunny winter morning when we head off. I am driving for a change as Deb has just finished night shift.

First point of call is Stokes National Park where we visit the camping area. Here we find many greenhoods. From the colouring of them, they appear to be the Dark banded greenhoods (Pterostylis sanguinea) which occur over a larger range, Mullewa to Esperance in WA as well as Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia. They may however be the newly named Mallee banded greenhood (Pterostylis arbuscula) which has a shorter stature and up to 5 flowers only per plant. These occur over a similar range, Northampton to Eyre as well as in South Australia. Both species vary in colour from dark green to brownish-green to reddish-brown.

We now move on and head further west along the South Coast Hwy. Turning south onto Torradup Road which curves west into Springdale Road. We pull over at a burnt patch of scrub, which apparently is Springdale Nature Reserve. A quick look around turns up many Thelymitra, Pyrochis and Caladenia leaves but nothing in bloom as yet.

Heading further west we turn down Munglinup Beach Road and head down to the Oldfield River. On the track in, Deb spies a flowering donkey orchid. So we both jump out to grab a photo of the South coast donkey orchid (Diuris sp. ‘south coast’) which occurs between Munglinup and Denmark. Differs to the Green Range donkey orchid in having a broad mid-lobe to the labellum.

We then drove to the river bank and parked up on the granite. After eating lunch we ventured around looking for orchids in flower. Lots of Caladenia leaves found and only one decent greenhood.

Off to the Munglinup Beach campground we go (Mud Map SE33), as this is our planned stop of the day. Heading into the stabilised dune system we immediately come across a snail orchid, which is not fully formed as yet. From the location and length of the lateral sepals I am going to name this the Ravensthorpe snail orchid (Pterostylis sp. ‘Ravensthorpe’) which occurs between Esperance and the Stirling Ranges. Also came across lots of what appears to be Corybas leaves.

Pushing through to the base of the dunes Deb successfully discovers some shell orchids in flower. They are found all along the base of the dunes, with many more non-flowering rosettes than flowering orchids, but still flowering in good numbers. The Curled-tongue shell orchid (Pterostylis rogersii) is a coastal orchid found from Binningup to Israelite Bay during June, July and August. It varies in colour from Green to Brown, as the photos below show. There are 7 named species of shell orchids found in Western Australia.

Further snail orchids are found and many Corybas leaves, with some starting to bud. We will have to re-visit in the coming weeks to see if we can catch them in flower.

Time to move on, so Deb takes a track leading east which we assume will take us to another beach access. Whilst slowly driving along in 1st gear we are both peering out looking for any orchids that may catch our eye. Unbelievably I spy a lone little snail orchid. The Thick-sepalled snail orchid (Pterostylis meridionalis) occurs along the coast from Cape Arid to Esperance. My location is 100km west of this, however I feel its small stature, uniformly thickened lateral sepals and substantial rosette when compared to stature of orchid, confirms my ID. Please correct me if you disagree.

We have travelled into Lake Shaster Nature Reserve whilst heading east, which occurs both west and east of the Shire Reserve at Munglinup Beach. Further along the track we come across many more banded greenhoods, of varying colours and sizes.

Just before we reached the coastline another patch of snail orchids was found. These appear to be further Ravensthorpe snail orchids by their thinner lateral sepals. The bays we found on the coast were beautiful as always. It is now after 3pm so we had better make tracks home.

Backtracking the way we had come, we make a decision to head north up Fuss Road, so as to reach the Hwy sooner. Well that was the plan.

Just shy of the Hwy is the Munglinup Nature Reserve, where we find an access track that just beckoned us to stop. So parking up in an abandoned sand pit, we go on a little exploration down the track on foot. So glad we did as there on the edge of the track is a little spider orchid in bloom. The first one for the 2020 season. 🙂 The Common spider orchid (Caladenia varians) occurs between Kalbarri and Esperance, with flowering starting in July and progressing until mid-October. This was the only spider orchid found on todays adventure.

Further along the track we come across more banded greenhoods, which seem to be the orchid of the day. Again the variations make it difficult to decide if they are Dark banded, Mallee banded or just Banded.

The day however ended with discovering many donkey orchids in flower, in what appeared to be an abandoned gravel pit, that our track lead to. From the varying width of the mid lobe of their labellum we may have found two species. The South coast donkey orchid as previously found earlier today has a wide mid lobe, whilst the Green Range donkey orchid (Diuris littoralis) has a thinner mid lobe. Both species occur in coastal/near coastal locations from Denmark to Munglinup and Esperance respectively. Flowering times also overlap during the months of July and August.

Light is fading fast now, so we walk back to the Triton, enjoy a hot cuppa, then head home. The moon is already in the sky as we return to Fuss Road. Turning right onto the Hwy we head east as far as Young river where we check out a possible spot for orchids. Here we catch an amazing sunset over the river. What a great way to end a wonderful day trip searching for orchids. We are blessed.

20 – 21/06/2020….. Coastal tease

Weekend away

20/06/2020

A young friend has invited us out to Alexander Bay for an overnight fishing camp-out. After having a quick check of the shire campground we hit the beach and make our way onto the rocks where Billy and his boys are already fishing.

After eating our lunch I go on exploring with the boys as Billy and Deb move locations to try for some squid. On the way up the granite rocks I discover some nice greenhoods. Both the Banded greenhoods (Pterostylis vittata) and the Dark banded greenhoods (Pterostylis sanguinea) grow east of Esperance and can be found growing on granite outcrops. One has brown colouring whilst the others are green, so appears both may be present in this one location.

As the boys had run ahead, my searching is more focused on the walk back to Billy and Deb. I discovered many leaves and rosettes of orchids yet to sprout buds. Then under some bushes in the sand dunes behind the granite are some Caladenia leaves which have buds forming. Also found where some thin Thelymitra leaves and a lone Bird orchid.

Back to the fishing and Billy has caught 2 squid and it’s time to move on up the beach to find our possie for tonight. We finally found what we envisaged to be a great spot on the beach and set up camp. Campfire lit, a few fish caught, more seaweed caught, dinner cooked, a few drinks consumed then bed.

21/06/2020

We awake to a very cold morning where the waves crashing on the beach seem to be causing steam to rise from the ocean. It is a beautiful sunny morning but you would not know it as it is so cold. After breakfast we slowly pack up and move back towards the Alexander Bay campground.

We pull up to a spot where we try for some sand whiting or flathead but not much is happening. A call of nature causes me to go exploring at the base of the sand dunes. Whilst walking back I check very closely under the scrub and find some rosettes. Upon closer inspection there are snail orchids starting to bud. A further tease for the season ahead it appears.

Results from the overnight fishing trip: Camping: Great, Fishing: Average, Orchids: Tease. If time permits a re-visit in a few weeks may prove worthy.

Searching between the Showers

Day Trip, Myrup

20/07/2019

Today I head east to check our how the orchid season in the southeast coast of WA is progressing. As it is winter I expect to be exploring in between rain showers.

My first stop is a bitumen dump off Wittenoom Road in Neridup. I overlooked this location on my trip out here a few weeks back, so Deb reminded me off this spot. My exploration will be restricted to the edge of the clearing as the bush is dripping wet from all the rain.

As I am in the Ford Falcon today, I park just in the southern entrance to the bitumen dump, as the bushes growing in the middle of the track are too large to drive over. I begin my search moving north along the western boundary. Underneath the bushes I find a single Dark Banded greenhood (Pterostylis sanguinea) and very close-by some snail orchids. The snail orchids appear to be Brittle snail orchids (Pterostylis timothyi) due to the small rosette of pointed veined leaves and the tinge of fawn in the green and white flower. These little guys flower July through September in a range from Lake Cronin to Esperance.

Some Hare orchids (Leporella fimbriata) are found next, however are way past their best, with obvious signs of being pollinated. Hoping for something better I move onwards, when I spy some Caladenia orchids in bud. Kneeling down to grab a photo, something white catches my eye. Less than 1 metre away are some Western wispy spider orchids (Caladenia microchila) in full bloom. So exciting to find some spider orchids in flower. These guys flower July through October over a wide range from Kondinin to Madura.

Continuing my search to the north of the blue metal hill, I come across a nice hood of snail orchids, then closer to the northern entrance a Banded greenhood (Pterostylis vittata) is found.

Moving out of the track onto the road verge, a donkey orchid in flower is finally found. Based on the location and colouring these must be Green Range donkey orchids (Diuris littoralis) which flower July to early September in a south coastal range from Denmark to Esperance.

Walking along the entire verge back to the southern entrance I come across further Donkey orchids, snail orchids and banded greenhoods. So after taking some further photos, which I will not post, I decide to move to another location.

Pulling into what I believe to be the old Neridup Tennis Courts, I sit up in the car and have a bite to eat and drink, whilst a rain shower passes. I then have a quick look around and only find more Caladenia orchids budding up. Nothing in flower found unfortunately.

So onwards I go via a few more possible locations before pulling into our new Coolinup road location. Walking down this so called track the first orchid found is another Brittle snail orchid. Then I find some more Hare orchids which are also past their prime. I then move into the scrub where I come across a nice hood of snail orchids.

Upon reaching the low granite outcrop the first finding was a Cyrtostylis orchid in bud growing at the base of a bush.

In the bushes off the granite to the north I find many Banded greenhoods before stumbling across some Caladenia in bud.

It is past 2.30 in the afternoon so I start making my way back to the Ford, when I stumble across more Banded greenhoods and Brittle snail orchids. However I am nearly back at the car when some other greenhoods are found. From their size and colouring they may be Mallee Banded Greenhoods (Pterostylis arbuscula) which flower June to early September in an mostly inland range from Northampton to Eyre. Distinguishing features are short stature and few flowered inflorescence.

I move on to the original Coolinup Road site of the small granite outcrop. Due to the lack of rain this season the puddle blocking access had not yet been filled, so access was much easier than this time last year. Whilst looking underneath the bushes for Mosquito orchids I was amazed to find some spider orchids, as I have never found them here before. They appear to be further Western wispy spider orchids, given the size of their labellum’s

Upon further searching I found more greenhoods and snail orchids. Bird orchids had started but were a long way from flowering, so were the mosquito orchid, plus the larger spider orchids were also a few weeks away from flowering. Grabbed a few snaps of the Pterostylis orchids then moved on.

Myrup Rd is my next destination for a quick search. Some very nice Banded greenhoods are found first followed by many emerging Caladenia orchids. Just a tad early to catch anything in flower though.

Another solo search has ended with a few orchids found. 7 species in fact

A time when the Pterostylis ruled the Woodlands

Day Trip, Helms Arboretum, Nature Reserves, Red Lake Townsite NR, Truslove North NR, Truslove Townsite NR

13/07/2019

Finally after what seems like ages, we head off on a drive to search for some orchids. First stop is the wonderful Helms Arboretum, (Mud Map SE35 ) at the snail orchid plot. Well in previous years it was the snail orchid plot, however we may be a little early this year.

Eventually we come across some rosettes and then a few are in flower. Appears to be the species found 30/07 last year which could not be named. Western Australian Native Orchids Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/517329235050125/ identified these as an unnamed snail orchid from the South East.

Also found the leaves oF the spider orchids from previous years , so will be coming back later in the season to check on them. Moving along the track we find some Banded greenhoods (Pterostylis vittata) and Dark banded greenhoods (Pterostylis sanguinea) growing on the verge. The lateral sepals are fleshier in the Dark banded greenhood, as the below pictures illustrate. 

More of the same found so we decide to proceed to our next planned stop – Fleming Grove Road. Here we find lots of Hare orchids (Leporella fimbriata) in the final stages of flowering.

Pushing through the scrub we stubble across more Banded greenhoods growing under bushes for protection from being eaten by  the kangaroos.

Then nearby  we are lucky enough to find a solitary donkey orchid barely in flower. Based on location this must be a Green Range donkey orchid (Diuris littoralis) which flowers July to early September over a near coastal range from  Denmark to Esperance. Then another more open flower is found closer to the greenhoods.

Moving on again this time to Truslove Townsite Nature Reserve which unfortunately turns up orchidless. However Truslove North Nature Reserve turns up some Dark banded greenhoods.

Next stop is Red Lake Townsite Nature Reserve where we take a break for lunch. Deb finishes her lunch first and heads off up the track by foot on her search. I have a quick look around , finding more Dark banded greenhoods, and then jump in the Triton to move up to Deb as she has found something new. Dwarf shell orchids (Pterostylis brevichila) are her find, which flower July to September in a range from Hyden to Mt Ragged. Great pickup Deb!!

 Next up Deb finds a Midget greenhood (Pterostylis mutica) so close to flowering. These little guys are found July to October from Wongan Hills to the SA border.  Also within coo wee are some yet to fully open Frog greenhoods (Pterostylis sargentii) which flower July to October in an inland range from Northampton to Grass Patch. Better specimens are found down another track.

Then some more greenhoods are found, so last minute photos taken before moving on.

Our final destination for today is Eldred Rd near Salmon Gums, where we check out the woodlands surrounding a clay pan lake. (see Feature Image). Only orchids found were more greenhoods, but some appear to be the newly named Mallee banded greenhood (Pterostylis arbuscula) which flowers June to September in an inland range from Northampton to Eyre. All orchids  were restricted to the bases of the larger trees.

Mallee banded greenhoods
Short stature and few flowered inflorescence.

So today was a day that the Pterostylis orchids ruled. At least 7 species found.  

?? Snail

Dwarf Shell

Banded Greenhoods x 3

Midget Greenhood

Frog Greenhood

The Diuris and Leporella are bonus orchids in a woodland of Pterostylis.

New Coolinup location found

Day Trip, Road Trip

22/06/2019

Have time for a quick spin out to Coolinup road (Mud Map SE 37/38 ) due to Debbie’s work roster. After a wonderful cooked breakfast we pack up the Triton for our day trip. Heading east with foreboding black clouds all around, we arrive at our usual first destination on Coolinup Road.

Stormy weather

Looking down Coolinup Rd to Fisheries Rd intersection

I push into the scrub to find some greenhoods, as they are always here. Debbie though skirts the bushes to see what she can find. I locate a Banded greenhood (Pterostylis vittata) which flowers April to September in a range between Perth and Balladonia. Also found are Dark banded greenhoods (Pterostylis sanguinea) which flower June to September , however range inland between Mullewa and Toolinna Cove.  Only a few plants fully formed though which must be down to the dry start to our orchid season.

Debbie finds some greenhoods as well underneath the bushes in the granite runoff.  Then she discovers the Bird orchid leaves are sprouting with greenhoods nearby.