Helms Arboretum – We did miss you !!

25/09/2017

After a weekend of fishing we head out to Helms Arboretum (Mud Map SE35) on a long weekend Monday, to see what has changed whilst we were away on our Road Trip. First up are the usual suspects : Common bee orchids (Diuris decrementa), Cowslip orchids (Caladenia flava subsp flava), Lemon-scented sun orchid (Thelymitra antennifera), Purple enamel orchid (Elythranthera brunonis) and Esperance king spider orchid (Caladenia decora)

These guys were all found prior to our Road Trip as well, so the search now is for anything new. Well we are not disappointed, as we find a patch with many White spider orchids. Some appear to be the Rigid white spider orchid (Caladenia longicauda subsp. rigidula) as the petals and lateral sepals are stiffly spread. One had white fringe segments and the other red, same with the calli. This orchid is found between Ravensthorpe and Israelite Bay from August to early October.

Other white spider orchids were found which seem to be another species or subspecies. Some appear to be the Esperance white spider orchid (Caladenia longicauda subsp. crassa) which flowers August to early October as well, but ranges from Jerramungup to Cape Arid. The flowers are larger with broader petals and sepals.

The other appears to be the Reclining spider orchid (Caladenia cruscula) due to its short labellum and short petals and lateral sepals. This one flowers August to September and ranges between Salmon Gums and Mt Ragged. So we are a bit south of this range

With so many variables and possibilities my naming of the above orchids is quite likely incorrect, so please let me know your thoughts. However the next orchid is more recognisable. The Zebra orchid (Caladenia cairnsiana) can only be confused with the Dwarf Zebra orchid which is found in inland areas and has a incurved dorsal sepal.

Final orchids found were more Cowslip orchids in good numbers. Some pics taken then off we go to have our big catch of fish weighed.

This was our final orchid adventure of the 2017 West Australian orchid season.  I hope you have enjoyed reading about our adventures as much as we enjoyed having them. 2018 will prove a more challenging year as we move into our newly built home in April/May.  So we will be busy painting, putting up fences, laying lawn, landscaping and numerous other tasks. This will reduce the hours available for Orchid Adventures, so we will see how the new year progresses. Until then take care.

Last Hoorah of our Holidays

22/09/2017

As we came home early from our Road Trip we had to finish our holidays with a final orchid hunt. What better place to check out than Boyatup Hill (Mud Map SE40) . Like Helms Arboretum, Boyatup never disappoints. Arriving at 10am we immediately go exploring for orchids. Our first orchid is the Purple enamel orchid ( Elythranthera brunonis).  Closely followed by the small Diuris orchid, from the Bee orchid complex. From the habitat found and the small stature of the plants they appear to be the Common bee orchid (Diuris decrementa).

In close proximity we come across a Red beak (Pyrorchis nigricans), Cowslip orchids (Caladenia flava subsp. flava), more Purple enamel orchids and Common bee orchids.

Then prior to hopping back in the Triton we find some Lemon-scented sun orchids (Thelymitra antennifera) and what appears to be an Esperance king spider orchid (Caladenia decora) nearing the end of it’s season.

 We now pass through the gravel pit and head up the track to a spot that allows us to turn around, where we get out have morning tea, then head on up the overgrown track on foot,  towards the granite outcrop. Along this overgrown track we find some Pink candy orchids (Caladenia hirta subsp. rosea), more Cowslip orchids and Esperance king spider orchids, plus some of the small, Zebra orchids (Caladenia cairnsiana).

As mentioned Boyatup is a great location and as proof we have already found 8 varieties in the first half hour of looking. What will a few hours bring? We can’t wait to find out.

Next orchid found was a Pointing spider orchid (Caladenia exstans) which is only found between Esperance and Israelite Bay from September to early November.

More yellow spied. Cowslips and Lemon-scented sun orchids found.

Then to our surprise we find a Beautiful donkey orchid (Diuris pulchella), very near it’s season end, but still showing off it’s mauve colouring.

The further along we walk the more we find. More Zebra, Cowslip, Pink Candy, Pointing spider and Beautiful donkey orchids, then something new for the day. We break out of the overgrown track onto an open, damp, low granite rock space about the size of a soccer pitch and find a Blue china orchid (Cyanicula gemmata ), but exact identification is uncertain as 3 different species can be found in this location.

Next orchids found were a small grouping of a Caladenia hybrid. One parent is the Cowslip orchid but deciding the other was proving difficult. The other parent does not appear to be the usual Pink fairy orchids as the dorsal sepal hangs forward over the column, which is a feature of the Pink fans.  Reviewing the site esperancewildflowers.blogspot.com.au  and the Spider Orchids EBook 2018 it appears the other parent to be the Little pink fan orchid.  I would never have picked this due to the recorded location being  West of Bremer Bay. So in my research the EBook mentions a hybrid between these two orchids being photographed in Esperance and the Esperance wildflowers blog records finding the Little pink fan orchid within his 160km radius of Esperance. So I am recording these orchids as (Caladenia flava x Caladenia nana) an unnamed hybrid.

 Before leaving this open area we find our smallest orchid of the day. A Laughing leek orchid (Prasophyllum macrostachyum) which is found September through January in a range from Dongara to Cape le Grand. We are 50km East of this range however the flowers appear wider spaced, lateral sepals are shorter and dorsal sepal is wider, than the related Little laughing leek orchid, so I am happy with my classification.

The track becomes over grown again and we find a lone spider orchid. Appears to be a Western wispy spider orchid (Caladenia microchila) although this is far from certain

Then we come to the low prickly scrub which leads up to the Granite outcrop. Close to the base of the rock is a thick woodland but for now we are searching in thigh high bushes. Amazingly we find a Rattle Beak (Lyperanthus serratus) growing under one of the bushes bordering the track. Further along we find more Rattle beaks pushing through the prickly shrubs.

We don’t have time or inclination to bush bash to the granite rock so after a few more minutes finding further Purple enamel, Pointing spider, Esperance king spider and Zebra orchids we back track to the Triton and move on to another location closer to home, only just.

On a track named Bebenorin Rd we first come across what appeared to be another Esperance king spider orchid, but on closer inspection I believe it to be a Heberle’s spider orchid (Caladenia herberleana) due to the narrow clubbing of the lateral sepals. These flower September and October in a range from Augusta to Cape Arid which causes them to grow in the same area and at a similar time to the Esperance king spider orchid which makes it difficult to distinguish between them.

Close by we find some Dancing spider orchids (Caladenia discoidea) and more Cowslip orchids, this time with longer, thinner lateral sepals.

Another first for the day is the Common mignonette orchid (Microtis media) which flowers September through January and ranges from Shark Bay to Eyre, one of the largest ranges of the orchid family in WA.

Getting hungry so we head off to Thomas River for lunch, but not before taking a few more pics.

Just at the entrance to the National Park we find some more Rattle beaks, Lemon-scented sun orchids, Purple enamel orchids and Bee orchids, however only got good pics of the Rattle beaks.

We decide to have lunch at the top campground as they have undercover seating. First though we check out the beach and take a walk up the trail for a bit, looking for the patch of leaves we found months earlier. Nothing doing, so we head back to have lunch. On the track in, Deb spies some blue and we are lucky enough to find a solitary Coastal sun orchid (Thelymitra granitora) with a Lemon-scented sun orchid neighbour.

We park the Triton in one of the camping bays and quickly look around, finding  a Pointing spider orchid and a King spider orchid, species unknown due to it’s petals and lateral sepals being nibbled off.

After lunch we make our way to the Len Otte nature trail. At the base of the first rise we find a small Laughing leek orchid and further up a some Pink fairies (Caladenia latifolia) and  Common bee orchids.

Moving through a wooded part of the trail we find some Western wispy spider orchids, before coming out onto the next clearing. Here we get the fright of our life, with a big, black, curled up snake hiding in the low bushes. We keep to the track from now on, no bush bashing, so to speak.

Now to add to our day the heavens open up and it starts to rain. We try to hurry back but the I see another Blue sun orchid, which appears to be another Coastal sun orchid. Then just as the rain and wind picks up we find some Rabbit orchids (Leptoceras menziesii) in a new location for this nature trail. Photos with it raining and your lenses fogging up, is not an easy task.

Nearby Deb finds a lone Snail orchid. From location and the length of the lateral sepals I am naming it Ravensthorpe snail orchid (Pterostylis sp. ‘ Ravensthorpe’), which is found from Stirling Ranges to Esperance, flowering August and September.

Still getting wet, but unperturbed, we still search whilst walking quickly back and find some more spider orchids and cowslip orchids.  No good photos though, due to rain and fogging lenses, so will not post them. Well this was quite a day of orchid hunting, as our holidays draw to an end. However we did finish on a high – 22 species found in just over 4hours of searching.

Road Trip – Day 20 – Harrismith to Home

20/9/2017

After having breakfast we make our way north to Dudinin which was a quaint little town but with no real prospects for orchid hunting we move on further north to a place called Jitarning. We park next to the CBH wheat bins and head into the bush adjacent. The area proves to be thick with Donkey orchids with a small patch of Pink candy orchids (Caladenia hirta subsp. rosea) found.

The donkey orchids appear to be Yellow granite donkey orchids (Diuris hazeliae) as they are larger and brighter yellow than the ones found in Harrismith.

So many donkey orchids but we need to move on. Well not to far as we cross the Williams-Kondinin Road and visit the bush the other side. The only orchid found over this side was the Midget greenhood (Pterostylis mutica). On walking back to the Triton we discover the area we had been exploring was in fact the Jitarning Nature Reserve.

Next stop is the North Jitarning Nature Reserve a few kilometres north on the western side of the road. After parking the Triton we make our way west into the bush and our first find is the ever faithful Purple enamel orchid (Elythanthera brunonis). In fact they were everywhere in this reserve.

Further hunting and we found some Frog greenhoods (Pterostylis sargentii) growing underneath some bushes.

Then even further hidden under bushes Deb spies a bird orchid. Further specimens found, which all appear to be Dwarf bird orchids (Pterosylis sp. ‘dwarf’) as they are found between Eurardy Station and Peak Charles during August and September. We first found this orchid back in August 2016 near Corrigin.

Further Fringe mantis orchids are found as are more Donkey orchids.

We were also lucky enough to find a spider orchid, which I am naming, Red thread spider orchid (Caladenia erythronema) as they flower August to early October in locations between Nyabing and Mukinbudin.

We then make tracks for Kulin, to fuel up, then head off on the Tin Horse Hwy. After checking out some of the great Tin horses we make our way to Buckley’s Breakaway for lunch.

On the walk from the car park / picnic area we find some Donkey orchids. Nothing else found on the walk around the breakaway, however it was an impressive sight.

We now head further east, till we again reach Dragon Rocks Nature Reserve. At the northern end of the reserve, whilst earlier on the trip we were at the southern end. We find what we hoped was the road south, which dissects the reserve, and travel along slowly with heads out the windows looking for orchids. They proved more elusive than before but we did find our first ones. A finished Jug orchid then some Frog greenhoods.

It was more than a half hour later, before any more orchids were found. Red beaks (Pyrorchis nigricans) were a surprise find.

Further south we come across some spider orchids. From their appearance I will name these Chameleon spider orchid (Caladenia dimidia) due to the yellowish colouring, dark brownish tail filaments and backswept slightly elevated petals.

A solitary Cowslip orchid (Caladenia flava subsp. flava) and Jug orchid (Pterostylis recurva) were found a little further down the track, however as time was slipping away and we had previously visited the south of the Dragon Rocks N. R., we headed straight for our last stop of the day, being the Rock View Nature Reserve.

It is now past 5.30pm when we arrive at Rock View N. R. so we quickly have a look around. First orchid I find is the Midget greenhood, whilst Debbie finds more spider orchids.

From the appearance I believe these to be further Chameleon spider orchids.

Due to the inclement weather we did not wish to set up camp, however as we were unable to find overnight accommodation, this stop proved to be the final stop of our  2017 Road Trip.

11 orchid species found on the final day.

Road Trip – Day 17 – Petrudor to Walyormouring

17/9/2017

We wake to another beautiful spring morning, have breakfast , break camp and head south to Ballidu for morning tea. We check out the area where we found numerous orchids last year in August, however this time we only find some donkey orchids. As they have erect petals and broad, spreading lateral lobes to the labellum, I believe them to be Pale donkey orchids (Diuris sp. ‘mid-north’).

Further south we go turning east at Kondut, then travelling south again to Reynoldson Flora Reserve. No orchids found but an unusual grevillea was prolific. Prickly Toothbrushes (Grevillea armigera). Verticordia the flower this reserve is famous for was just starting to flower as well.

We pop into Wongan Hills, buy some supplies, have a counter lunch at the pub then head up to the Wongan Wildflower Walk to see if we can be lucky with finding some orchids. Deb is the lucky one who finds some very small Frog greenhoods (Pterostylis sargentii)  growing under bushes. Last August we found many spider orchids under the same bushes. Not this year though.

Further along the walk we find some Purple enamel orchids (Elythranthera brunonis)  and some donkey orchids. From their features I am naming these Common donkey orchid (Diuris corymbosa) as they flower August to October and range from Gingin to Bunbury. Our location is a little ways Northeast however Atlas of Living Australia has a recorded sighting near Wongan Hills.

Further along we finally find something from the Caladenia family. Ant orchid (Caladenia roei) found under a prickle bush. Taking photos proved a challenge however we had to get a shot.  Next came patches of Cowslip orchids (Caladenia flava subsp. flava)

Then on the way back to the Triton we find more donkey and enamel orchids.

Leaving Wongan Hills we take the wrong turn which heads us south so we picked another route to take us back  north to Gathercole Nature Reserve. We spend the next 40 mins scouring over the granite outcrops looking for the elusive new find. More donkey orchids and Cowslips orchids were found plus a first for the day; (Prasophyllum gracile complex).  Unsure of exact species due to it being well past it’s prime.

We then move North East to Dingo Rock Nature Reserve where further donkey and leek orchids are found. Exact species again not known which is a little disappointing, but we are no experts.

We then made tracks East to Manmanning Nature Reserve, however no real place to pull over and as time was moving along we decided to travel south west to Oak Park picnic area to camp for the night. This little place has toilets facilities and picnic table and was situated on the banks of a creek that flows into Walyormourning Lake. A quick look around but nothing found.

6 named species found and others unable to be named. Not too bad a day. Here’s to tomorrow.

Road Trip – Day 16 – Arrino to Petrudor

16/9/2017

From our camp in Arrino we back track west then south to Hydraulic Road where we make our first stop of the day. Nothing found so we drive further east to a creek crossing then stop for another look. Wow there are so many Purple enamel orchids (Elythranthera brunonis) and then on the other side of the creek Deb finds some Cowslip orchids (Caladenia flava subsp. flava). 

This was also the area we were directed to find some spider orchids. Spent Pterostylis found first then some spider orchids well passed their best.

So back to Three Springs to fuel up and onwards through Carnamah to Bunjil. Turning south we travel through Latham and make a orchid hunting stop at Buntine Rock. (Mud Map N38) We park the Triton and make our way to the rock by foot. Lemon-scented sun orchids (Thelymitra antennifera) are the first to be found , quickly followed by many small Donkey orchids. They appear to be Pale donkey orchids (Diuris sp. ‘mid-north’) as they are very pale in colour and small in size.

Other donkey orchids found that I am unable to name. They did not fit the description given to the two species that are recorded from around these parts.

Confusing aspects such as : More colourful;  lateral sepals that hang rather than being reflexed; reflexed or upright petals; upright dorsal sepal. Pictures posted as evidence of these variations.

Our next orchid hunting stop was at Miamoon Reserve (Mud Map N40), which is southwest of Wubin. We walked around this flat granite outcrop which still had some wet areas which allowed us to find a new species for this trip. First up though were more donkey orchids which now appear to be Dainty donkey orchids (Diuris refracta), which flower late July to early September between Bindoon and Northampton. Also found were more Lemon-scented sun orchids.

The new species found is Common bee orchid (Diuris decrementa) which flowers from late August to early November in an area from North of Perth to Esperance. We must be in the northern margins of its territory.

Final orchids found for the day were some spent Little laughing leek orchids and more Lemon-scented sun orchids.

We then made tracks heading south through Dalwallinu and turning east at Pithara. Finally we turn south down Petrudor Rd and make camp at Petrudor Rock. Before the sun sets we go for a walk around the rock but find no orchids.

6 species flowering with 3 other s past their prime. Not too bad a day.

Road Trip – Day 15 – Canna to Arrino

15/9/2017

After breakfast I take a little walk around our campsite in Canna (Mud Map N30) and finally find some orchids. It has been many days since we left Charles Darwin Reserve where the last orchids found were located. Pale donkey orchid (Diuris sp. ‘mid-north’) appears to be the orchid found, with only a few scattered individuals encountered. These orchids flower late August to late September and are found between Moora and Mingenew. Canna being only 60kms NW of Mingenew.

We say our goodbyes to Richard at the Canna Hall, then before heading off, we decide to take the Wildflower walk to Canna Church Rock. First up were more donkey orchids but then we find some Dainty blue orchids (Cyanicula amplexans). At the rock picnic area we come across some Lemon scented sun orchids (Thelymitra antennifera) and some Cowslip orchids (Caladenia flava subsp. flava), plus more donkey orchids.

After the walk we had awesome showers for a donation, then made our way south to Bilya Rock. No real parking area, so we pull alongside the track as best we could with camper trailer in tow. Onto the rock and the only colour immediately visible is Yellow. Lemon-scented sun orchids, Pale donkey orchids and Cowslip orchids were found. Some of the donkey orchids could be Dainty donkey orchids due to the reflexed petals however it is very difficult to tell.

We checked out War Rock which was surrounded by paddocks, so was overrun with weeds. Time to make tracks for Three Springs as we had to get to the bank. We also took the time to have another counter lunch, this time at the Commercial Hotel. We asked for orchid locations at the Tourist bureau and was given a map with places marked for possible sightings, however the lady informed us it has not been a great year and things flowered earlier than usual this season. We made our way around Dookanooka Nature Reserve and was lucky enough to find some Cowslip orchids early on, then much later some Purple enamel orchids (Elythanthera brunonis). First for this season as they flower August to early November on a large range from Kalbarri to Israelite Bay.

Nothing else found so we make tracks to Arrino for our next overnight camp.               Only 5 known species found today, which was a slow start to our orchid hunting as we move south away from the dry north.