10/9/2021 ….. Stirling Range National Park to Chirelillup Nature Reserve

Camel Lake NR, Chirelillup NR, National Parks, Nature Reserves, Numerous days, Road Trip, Stirling Range NP, Western Australian Orchids

Well after enjoying our 2nd night at the Stirling Range Retreat, we pack up and head out on our exploration of the Stirling Range National Park. We plan on taking the Stirling Range Drive to Red Gum Pass Road, then north to Salt River Road. Then heading east to Formby Road South where we will head north to Gnowangerup. Obviously we plan on making numerous stops to explore for orchids and to enjoy the wonderful outdoors.

First up we head into Bluff Knoll Road to check out the orchids in one further location. Maybe we will find something different without the threat of rain hanging over our heads. Not surprisingly, the orchids found were the same as the ones found yesterday, but photos were taken again of course.

Nearly 10am, so we make tracks toward our next location. On Stirling Range Drive, we make a split second decision to pull over on the side of the road. We manage to find a few orchids on the side of the road.

We jump back in the Triton and move a few hundred metres down the road before stopping at a spot that had seen a bushfire some time in the last year. Let us see if this has triggered orchids to grow for us to find.

Now it nearly 11am so onwards we travel, with our next stop being Talyuberlup Picnic Area. First up we check the picnic area side of the road then we head up the Talyuberlup Peak trail a wee bit, before scrambling back to the triton. As we had hoped, orchids are found.

Time to consider lunch, so we move onwards to White Gum Flat picnic area. We have a bite to eat and then go exploring the nearby area. We don’t venture to far before we find orchids. This time round we actually cross the road and find further orchids including new ones for the day. Turns out the King spider orchid is a new species for us, so that was an exciting find.

Still more of this National Park to check out so onwards we go. At the intersection of Red Gum Pass Road we turn left and check out some locations along the roadside. We found a few orchids including some new ones for the day.

We now head north along Red Gum Pass Road and make a quick stop into the picnic area, where we find a few orchids but move further north to another road side location where orchids are located as well.

We eventually reach Salt River Road and turn right. However we soon pull over at Salt Lake Nature Reserve for an explore, but after a quick check not much is located so we move on to Camel Lake Nature Reserve, with a road side stop along the way. At this final stop we are lucky to find some new orchid species for the day as well as previously found ones. Photos of all those found at the locations along the way were taken to record their discovery near the northern boundary of the National Park.

Wowsers, they were amazing first time locations for orchids. 13 possible species and 1 hybrid found, however we must move on as it’s past 4.30pm and we still have nearly 50kms to our planned destination. We arrive at Chirelillup Nature Reserve, set up camp and whilst Deb lights the campfire I have a very quick scout around in the waning sunlight.

09/09/2021 ….. Stirling Range National Park and surrounds

Formby NR, Mabinup Creek NR, National Parks, Nature Reserves, Numerous days, Road Trip, Stirling Range NP, Western Australian Orchids

We awake to a cold , wet and miserable day, but we won’t let that stop us from going exploring for orchids. Finally the rain stops, so after a bite of lunch, we head up to the Bluff Knoll lookout however the actual mountain is nearly covered in clouds. The feature picture show some of the amazing metal artwork installed there. Some close-up images are included here for your appreciation.

Bluff Knoll hidden in cloud

So now is the time to commence our exploration of the area. We have a very quick scout around the lookout and parking area, where we see a few orchids. However on the drive into the lookout we saw some possible spots to check out along the roadside. So it is at these couple of stops, in between showers, that we locate the following orchids.

It’s now past 2.30pm so we only have a few hours of daylight left to explore, so we will keep close to our base. Therefore we make tracks north of the National Park, to visit the nearby Formby Nature Reserve, which weirdly is still signposted as the Mabinup Creek Nature Reserve. The northern boundary of the park is found to be very weedy and the creek is overflowing, which does not thrill us too much. So we head back down Formby Road South and venture in on the eastern boundary. Next time we need to pack wellington boots as the place is flooded, but we venture in nonetheless, after applying insect repellent, as the mozzies may become troublesome. This place proves to be covered in orchids in large numbers and many species, which is amazing to us. Refer the following images of the orchids found.

I just had to pop in some photos to show how many orchids were at this location as well as the ones we found swimming.

It is now after 4.30 so we head back toward our base at the Stirling Range Retreat, but as per usual we make one more stop. We pull off the road before the Mount Trio turn-off and head down this gravel track. This is a new location for us in the park and it proves to be quite fruitful. Our quick stop though runs into another hour. Luckily the rain holds off. Here is what we found.

With the light running out fast we do a u-turn, head back to Formsby Road South and make tracks for our little cabin. What an amazing afternoon of orchid hunting we have had today, especially given the cold and wet morning we awoke to. I think we found 23 species and at least 3 hybrids which is mind blowing but this National Park and it’s surrounding are like an oasis in the middle of cleared land for agriculture.

20/06/2021 ….. Munglinup weekend .. Day 2

Cascade NR, Fields NR, Munglinup NR, Nature Reserves, Road Trip, Speddingup NR, Springdale NR, Weekend away, Western Australian Orchids

Waking to another beautiful morning at Munglinup Beach Camping Ground we enjoy a leisurely morning before packing up the camper and moving to Springdale Nature Reserve for our first orchid hunt. No orchids found so we move onto Munglinup Nature Reserve to see if we have better luck.

We park up just inside the track and venture in on foot. First orchid for the day is the Dark banded greenhood (Pterostylis sanguinea) which is a widespread orchid flowering June to September.

Once we reach the old gravel pit Deb heads off to the area she had previously found Hare orchid (Leporella fimbriata) leaves. She was lucky to find some in flower even though they are way past their best.

Also found a very promising leaf about 4mm across. It appears to be from the Drakaea genus however the only species mentioned as being located near this location has a smooth heart shaped leaf. This leaf has small hairs over it’s surface so may be another species not listed for this location. Again any assistance you can provide to the correct identification would be appreciated.

Nothing more found at this location so we move onto one of our regular haunts along the highway. At the intersection of Mills Road we go exploring, though not expecting too much to be found. However we find our first orchid from the Diuris genus, which is exciting. The Green Range donkey orchid (Diuris littoralis) is found in large numbers, however there are only a few early flowering ones, given that they are said to flower from July to September.

Also found some dark greenhood orchids and well as some lighter green in colour. They may be two species or colour variant’s of the same. Possible identification: Dark banded greenhood (Pterostylis sanguinea), Mallee banded greenhood (Pterostylis arbuscula) or Banded greenhood (Pterostylis vittata). Give me your thoughts.

We next move along Mills Road to our next location (Mud Map SE32). We first explore the north side of the road and come across a Hairy-stemmed snail orchid (Pterostylis setulosa) flowering all alone. Another solo specimen is later found. Crossing to the south side of the road proves fruitless so we move on.

We head further north, as we have chosen to check out Cascade Nature Reserve. Here we pull into the old quarry/gravel pit and go exploring. First up we find more banded greenhoods, then discover a shell orchid in bud. It should be a Dwarf shell orchid (Pterostylis brevichila), which flower from July to September, as it is just starting to flower. All other inland shell orchid species commence flowering in May.

If we get a chance we will return later to catch the shell orchids in full flower. However we must keep moving, so even further north we check out Fields Nature Reserve. This is a new location so very unsure what may be here. Unfortunately we only find more greenhood orchids. These appear to be a mixture of species, which is cool.

The only other species found was a single, early flowering, Brittle snail orchid (Pterostylis timothyi) which have a small rosette of pointed leaves and the flower is green and fawn in colour. They are said to flower from July, hence this one is not fully formed as yet.

We now head east and at the Scaddan / Dalyup boundary, we check out Speddingup Nature Reserve. We had visited here back on the 22/5/21, when we located many pterostylis rosettes, so we hope some have now flowered.

Well first up we found what appeared to be a Midget greenhood (Pterostylis mutica) in bud. Then as expected we finally find some Dwarf shell orchids (Pterostylis brevichila) in flower. In fact they were even growing on the edge of the track. These are an inland shell orchid which flowers from July, so we are lucky some early flowering specimens were here.

I venture across the road and find more banded greenhoods. Again the species may be variable.

It is now 4pm so time to make tracks for home. A great day with some good finds. The season is starting out great. I can’t wait till the next adventure.

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.

01/06/2020….. Winter is here!!

Cascade NR, Day Trip, Nature Reserves

First day of Winter so where should we go today for our orchid hunt? Let us go north. So we head off up the Coolgardie-Norseman Hwy and get as far as Fleming Grove Road before we stop to have our first explore. Loads of Hare orchid leaves and spent flowers are found. Then Pterostylis rosettes start to appear and finally some Banded Greenhoods (Pterostylis vittata) are found in flower.

Nothing else found so we head back to the Highway to continue north. However we make a last minute change and head over the Hwy into Boydell Road, heading west. Driving along we pull over to the side of the road and check out a bit of scrubland that appeared to contain some granite rock. This proved incorrect however we did find some possible King-in-his-carriage orchid (Drakaea glyptodon) leaves. Left a marker on the road in the hope of returning to find it flowering in August. Hare orchid (Leporella fimbriata) leaves also found, with some spend orchids to confirm flowering had occurred. As they can flower from as early as March it was great to find some recognisable hare orchid flowers. Finally for this new location a Banded greenhood was also found and photographed.

Travelling further east on Boydell road we turn right at the Cascades Road intersection. Our planned stop is Cascade Nature Reserve which we had visited a few years back and found some shell orchids. Unfortunately it appears to be too early for the shell orchids to be flowering this year. Just found some very small rosettes with the buds just sprouting. After exploring for a time we find many spent Pygmy orchids (Corunastylis fuscoviridis) which flower during April and May. Banded greenhoods are found just before we head back to the Triton. Cascade Falls off Loop road will be our final destination of the day.

Parking above the falls we walk down along the bank to the falls, which are just flowing at this stage of the season. From here we check out the parking area , then walk back along the track to the Triton. No flowering orchids found so we head back to the South-coast Hwy via Coomalbidgup for the drive back home. Not too bad a way to kill off 4 hours or so on a public holiday Monday.