30/08/2020 ….. Hamersley Inlet to Home (Road Trip 2020)

Fitzgerald River NP, Munglinup NR, National Parks, Nature Reserves, Road Trip, Springdale NR, Western Australian Orchids

We awake to a cold morning however the sun is shining so it will be a great last day of our 2020 Road Trip. First up we check out the spider orchid we found in the fading light yesterday.

Hamersley Inlet

Western wispy spider orchid

(Caladenia microchila)

Camper packed up and time to move on. We get as far as 4 Mile Beach campground before we stop and have a scout around. We only find a few Pterostylis orchids.

4 Mile Beach

Ravensthorpe snail orchid or Coastal snail orchid

(Pterostylis grossa or P. sp. “coastal snail”)

We head into Hopetoun for a bite to eat. Our next point of call is just north of the South Coast Hwy, and is a favourite of ours. We again find a few orchids for our troubles.

Mills Road

Zebra orchid

(Caladenia cairnsiana)

??? hybrid spider orchid

(Caladenia x sp.)

Small mantis orchid

(Caladenia attingens subsp. gracillima)

Cream spider orchid

(Caladenia horistes)

3 orchid species and a hybrid is not a bad haul, however we must keep moving towards home. First up though we stop at the Munglinup Roadhouse for a burger lunch. Driving in we discover some orchids on the roadside, so I jump out to get some photos and Deb heads down to order lunch.

Munglinup Townsite

Esperance white spider orchid

(Caladenia longicauda subsp. crassa)

Common bee orchid

(Diuris decrementa)

Lunch purchased, we move on to Munglinup Nature Reserve to eat and explore.

Zebra orchid

(Caladenia cairnsiana)

Cowslip orchid

(Caladenia flava subsp. flava)

Common bee orchid

(Diuris decrementa)

Esperance white spider orchid

(Caladenia longicauda subsp. crassa)

Jug orchid

(Pterostylis recurva)

Five species found, so happy we made to time to explore the area. We now move on to revisit a location we checked out on Day 1 of this road trip. Lets see if there is anything different now flowering.

Springdale Nature Reserve

??? hybrid spider orchid

(Caladenia x sp.)

Red beaks

(Pyrorchis nigricans)

?? donkey orchid

(Diuris sp.)

??? hybrid spider orchid

(Caladenia x sp.)

Reaching spider orchid

(Caladenia arrecta)

Blue beard

(Pheladenia deformis)

Common bee orchid

(Diuris decrementa)

Esperance white spider orchid

Caladenia longicauda subsp. crassa)

Pink bunny orchid

(Eriochilus scaber subsp. scaber)

Esperance king spider orchid

(Caladenia decora)

Since it is after 3 pm and we still have more than 100kms to home, we decide to leave our orchid exploration at this fruitful location. The hour long drive was a great time to look back on our awesome road trip that started back on the 8th August. The Wheatbelt Way was a great loop that opened up the amazing Western Australian countryside.

Over the 3 weeks on the road we discovered many new locations as well as re-visiting favourite spots. So many orchid species were located along with numerous hybrids which was a pleasant surprise.

28/08/2020 ….. Nunijup Lake to Gnowangerup (Road Trip 2020)

National Parks, Road Trip, Stirling Range NP, Western Australian Orchids

We awake to a cool morning, so I take Deb around exploring the area whilst the camper dries out. We discover other orchids as well as the ones I found yesterday afternoon, so the wander around was worth the effort.

Nunijup Lake

Tangled white spider orchid

(Caladenia longicauda subsp. redacta)

Small flowered donkey orchid

(Diuris porrifolia)

Jug orchid

(Pterostylis recurva)

Tenterden yellow spider orchid

(Caladenia straminichila)

Common spider orchid

(Caladenia varians)

Banded greenhood

(Pterostylis vittata)

Little pink fairies

(Caladenia reptans subsp. reptans)

Leaping spider orchid

(Caladenia macrostylis)

Well our next planned location is the amazing Stirling Range National Park, which is quite a distance, so we pack up the camper. We spy more orchids as we slowly leave our campsite, so grab some photos. Finally on the road, with high expectations for the day.

Stirling Range National Park

Cowslip orchid

(Caladenia flava subsp. flava)

Dancing spider orchid

(Caladenia discoidea)

Hare orchid

(Leporella fimbriata)

Western wheatbelt donkey orchid

(Diuris brachyscapa)

Pink bunny orchid

(Eriochilus scaber subsp. scaber)

Little pink fairies

(Caladenia reptans subsp, reptans)

Silky blue orchid

(Cyanicula sericea)

Sugar orchid

(Ericksonella saccharata)

Jug orchid

(Pterostylis recurva)

Blood spider orchid

(Caladenia filifera)

Joseph’s spider orchid

(Caladenia polychroma)

Blue beard

(Pheladenia deformis)

Lemon-scented sun orchid

(Thelymitra antennifera)

Banded greenhood

(Pterostylis vittata)

Rabbit orchid

(Leptoceras menziesii)

Red beaks

(Pyrorchis nigricans)

Common bee orchid

(Diuris decrementa)

??? spider orchid

(Caladenia sp.)

Zebra orchid

(Caladenia cairnsiana)

Ravensthorpe snail orchid

(Pterostylis sp. ‘Ravensthorpe’)

Mosquito orchid

(Cyrtostylis robusta)

Frog greenhood

(Pterostylis sargentii)

Yawning leek orchid

(Prasophyllum hians)

Well we were not disappointed. At least 22 orchid species found which blows our minds. The bush fire caused devastation, however the regrowth of the Australian bush is amazing. It’s now 4pm so we had better move on and find our overnight camp.

Kingia in flower following the bush fire

We struggled to find a camping location so made the decision to book into one of the Gnowangerup Hotel units for the night. We enjoyed a wonderful bar meal and bevy.

08/08/2020 ….. Esperance to Corrigin (Road Trip 2020)

Nature Reserves, Overshot Hill NR, Pallarup NR, Road Trip, Springdale NR, Western Australian Orchids

Leaving Esperance at just after 7am we are finally on our way. This year I will be listing the orchids found at each stop on our journey. I will group the photos of a particular orchid together rather than post them in chronological order. If needed a little narrative about the trip may be added to a location based on anything that occurred on the way to it, during the visit itself or is planned after. Please provide me any feedback on this structure as I am open to suggestions how I can improve the blog or spice it up a bit… Thanks!!

Springdale Nature Reserve

This Nature Reserve was burnt out last summer and has proven this season to be successful in providing excellent orchid finds. Today is no exception.

Pink bunny orchid (Eriochilus scaber subsp. scaber)

Green Range donkey orchid

(Diuris littoralis)

Blue beard , Blue fairy orchid

(Pheladenia deformis)

Little pink fairy, Dwarf pink fairy

(Caladenia reptans subsp. reptans)

Reaching spider orchid

(Caladenia arrecta)

Mills Road verge

Turning into Mills road off the South Coast Hwy, west of Munglinup, we stop at one of our regular road verge stops. To our dismay the area had been graded so the usual orchid habitat was destroyed. Luckily some orchids seem to like disturbed ground, whilst other areas had missed the destruction.

Cream spider orchid

(Caladenia horistes)

Green Range donkey orchid

(Diuris littoralis)

Mallee banded greenhood

(Pterostylis arbuscula)



Overshot Hill Nature Reserve

Parking at the free overnight camping area we venture into the creekline to look for the orchids we had found here previously. Again we were not disappointed. Of particular interest were the dual flowered and green coloured Dwarf shell orchids.

Dwarf shell orchid

(Pterostylis brevichila)

Midget greenhood

(Pterostylis mutica)



Pallarup Nature Reserve

Another of our favourite spots, which always seems to have some orchids in flower.

Hairy-stemmed snail orchid

(Pterostylis setulosa

Blue beard

(Pheladenia deformis)

Pink candy orchid

(Caladenia hirta subsp. rosea)

Sugar orchid

(Ericksonella saccharata)

Jug orchid, Bull orchid, Antelope orchid, Recurved shell orchid

(Pterostylis recurva)

Western wheatbelt donkey orchid

(Diuris brachyscapa)

Mallee banded greenhood

(Pterostylis arbuscula)



Varley

This is only our 2nd visit to this location and I’m glad we made the effort. So many spider orchids with some others thrown in for good measure.

Sugar orchid

(Ericksonela saccharata)

Midget greenhood

(Pterostylis mutica)

Blue beard

(Pheladenia deformis)

Jug orchid

(Pterostylis recurva)

Hairy-stemmed snail orchids

(Pterostylis setulosa)

Western wispy spider orchid, Small-lipped spider orchid

(Caladenia microchila)

Chameleon spider orchid

(Caladenia dimidia)

Joseph’s spider orchid

(Caladenia polychroma)



Gorge Rock Picnic Area

Leaving Varley just after 3.15pm we make tracks for Gorge Rock, 14 kms east of Corrigin, for our overnight stay. Soup and toast for dinner then a well earned rest.


17 different orchid species found today, not too shabby.

Meanderings in May

Day Trip, National Parks, Road Trip, Stokes NP

09/05/2020

After a sleep in we pack up the Triton and head out east to our rock location off Merivale road. We arrive just in time for lunch, so getting our priorities right, we eat first. Whilst eating, we wander around the old abandoned picnic area and find spent White bunny orchid plants, so we may be a bit late in their season.

Just as we were to head off up the slope to the granite, 2 orchids are found in flower. Based on the leaf size I believe them to be Granite bunny orchids (Eriochilus pulchellus) which as the name suggests occur at granite outcrops from Northcliffe to Balladonia. They can grow up to 150mm in height and can have up to 10 flowers per plant. Further specimens were located as were searched around and on the granite.

On the other side of the granite outcrop I thought I had come across another bunny orchid species. This one though has larger leaves so appears to be the White bunny orchid (Eriochilus dilatatus subsp. dilatatus). However on closer inspection they appear to be more Granite bunny orchids. The leaves are just towards the larger size for the species which can be 5 to 15mm in length and 3 to 8 mm in width. Others were subsequently found, with one having 6 flowers and standing easily 150mm in height.

We then moved onto the other large granite outcrop, however nothing new was found just more Granite bunny orchids. Once we got back to the picnic area I went back to what I thought was a lone orchid growing in the made made embankment which channels the water flowing off the granite away from the picnic site. There turned out to be a bunch of plants with one reaching 430mm in height. Identification confusion as the bunny orchids that reach that height both grow in the south west corner not East of Esperance.

We now decide to move on and head a little further north to our Coolinup Road locations. At the small granite rock location further Granite bunny orchids are found. At our latest location we locate a newly flowering Banded greenhood (Pterostylis vittata) and some wonderful Hare orchids (Leporella fimbriata). At the granite section of this new location I am sure some of the bunnies found are White bunny orchids (Eriochilus dilatatus subsp. dilatatus) as the leaf on one of them is over 50mm in length. Took some photos with coloured card as backdrop to see if the orchid would stand out better. Please provide feedback in comments on preferences.

23/05/2020

Off to Stokes National Park today for a walk along the trail from the Day use area to the Benwenerup Campground. We collected a friend (Deb C.) in Esperance to join us on the adventure today. We arrived at the park and after grabbing a water bottle each we commenced the walk by climbing the stairs up the embankment. From here the compacted walk trail follows the embankment with 2 lookouts over the inlet before crossing over the access road for the section to the campground. Only orchids found flowering were the Banded greenhoods.

At the campground further greenhoods were found. So after a short rest we made our way back along the trail to the access road, which we followed back to the day use area. Pictures taken of the Showy Banksia (Banksia speciosa) flowers and Zamia palms (Macrozamia dyeri) which were found in good numbers along this section of the trail. After eating our lunch, we spent some time on the inlet banks, then made tracks back to Esperance. A wonderful day out in the sunny Autumn weather.

Granite outcrops bloom with orchid flowers in April

Day Trip, Dempster Head, Road Trip

04/04/2020

We head NE of Esperance today to see if we can find the elusive Hare orchid, which we did not locate in March. At our usual spot on Wittenoom Road we pull over and check around. First up we find another of the White bunny orchids. This time we have located the Crinkle-leafed bunny orchid (Eriochilus dilatatus subsp. undulatus).

As the name suggests the leaf has undulated margins. This orchid is located from Northampton to east of Esperance and can grow to 250mm in height.

Further into our search the elusive Hare orchid (Leporella fimbriata) turned up. So happy that we have now found the quartet of species for the start of the season in the Esperance area.

Leporella is a monotypic genus which is found from southern Victoria to Western Australia. In WA the Hare orchids are found from north of Kalbarri to Israelite Bay.




10/04/2020

Today we head to another regular location to the east of Esperance; Coolinup Road which has increased in size due to previous explorations. Today we decide to check on the location we discovered last season.

Along the track in we are eagle eyed for orchids, however none were found before we reached the granite rock clearing. In the clearing we found many white bunny orchids that had finished flowering. Luckily there were still some in bloom.

The White bunny orchid (Eriochilus dilatatus subsp. dilatatus) is found growing in the moss under the protection of a hakea bush in the shallow soil on the granite rocks.

These orchids are found between Dirk Hartog Island and Israelite Bay during the months of March, April and May and can grow to 350mm in height.

#wildorchidwatch

Many other White bunny orchids are found before Deb comes across a small drove of Hare orchids. Only one of which is in flower. Each orchid may have up to 3 flowers with pairs fairly common.

#wildorchidwatch

27/04/2020

Today I visit Dempster Head which is a shire reserve that overlooks Esperance Bay and First and West beaches. (Mud Map SE 34). First up I located some White bunny orchids growing alongside the track below the water tanks.

The size and shape of their leaves attest to my identification. With a length of 40 to 100mm and width of 5 to 18mm, the leaf of the White bunny orchid is by far the largest of the bunny orchids growing in the Esperance area.

#wildorchidwatch

Later on the granite rocks above Lovers Beach another small bunny orchid is found growing in the moss and lichen.

The Granite bunny orchid (Eriochilus pulchellus) as the name suggests is found growing in shallow soil pockets on granite outcrops from Esperance to Balladonia and Northcliffe to Bremer Bay, with a disjunct population in the Darling Scarp.

The flowering season is over April and May with plants producing up to 10 flowers. It has a short stature of up to 150mm and produces a small smooth leaf only 5 to 15mm in length and 3 to 8mm in width.

Very happy to have found during the month of April, the 3 bunny orchid types, that flower in the Esperance area.

2020 – The season begins in March

Day Trip, Esperance, Helms Arboretum, Nature Reserves, Red Lake Townsite NR

11/03/2020

So have a guess where I went on the first official orchid hunt for the 2020 season? If you guessed Mud Map Ref: SE35 you are correct. Helms Arboretum is our so called “Rabbits foot” location and I was not let down entirely. Nothing in flower however White bunny orchids were in bud.

14/03/2020

However only 3 days later they had bloomed. Deb was with me today, so we both got to see the first orchids in flower for the season. White bunny orchid (Eriochilus dilatatus subsp.dilatatus) is found from Dirk Hartog Island to Israelite Bay. Flowering period is March to May so it is one of the first orchids to flower in WA.

28/03/2020

First up we checked out Helms Arboretum (Mud Map SE35) where we were excited to find the Leafless orchid (Praecoxanthus aphyllus). This orchid is the sole species in the genus and is endemic to Western Australia, where it is found between Pinjarra and Esperance during the months of March, April and May.

Leafless orchids may grow to 400mm in height






We then move further north and find some Pygmy orchids (Corunastylis fuscoviridis) in the Redlake townsite Nature Reserve. This orchid was originally named in 1883 and placed in the Prasophyllum genus however in 2002 it was moved to the Corunastylis genus. Then in 2018 it was re-named C. fuscoviridis as it was formally named C.tepperi, which is a species found in Victoria and South Australia. This is the sole West Australian species and is located from Corrigin to Eyre. It is also found in South Australia and Victoria, hence the naming issues.

Pygmy orchids may grow to 250mm in height but they are very difficult to spot in the leaf litter.

March proved to be the month when the Orchid season began in my local area. Four species are recorded as flowering during March around the Esperance area. We were lucky enough to find three of the four, with the Hare orchid the being the elusive species.

Boyatup Bounty after Bush Fire

Day Trip

10/08/2019

A weekend away, out East of Esperance, is planned. So after breakfast we hitch up the camper and head out Fisheries Road. Our first point of call is our Coolinup road site. (Mud Map SE 37,38) There is finally some water around, so we make our way into the site and first up find the small Western wispy spider orchid (Caladenia microchila) still covered in rain drops. There also appears to be some Cream spider orchids (Caladenia horistes) intermixed in. These orchids flower August to early October in a southerly range from Fitzgerald River National Park to Balladonia. These two spider orchids have overlapping locations and both belong to the Caladenia filamentosa complex. They differ in flower colour and wispiness of petals and sepals.

Then underneath the thick tea tree bushes Debbie comes across some Mosquito orchids (Cyrtostylis robusta) which flower between Perth and Israelite Bay in the months June to August. These differ to the similarly located Midge orchid by the broad labellum.

Nearby more spider orchids are found with neighbouring Blue beards (Pheladenia deformis) which are yet to fully open.

Also nearby are the Banded greenhood (Pterostylis vittata) and Mallee banded greenoods (Pterostylis arbuscula) which differ in the number of flowers, colouring of flowers and overall height of the plant.

Venturing across the road more greenhoods are found as are many spider orchids in large groupings, especially protected under the tee tree bushes. The surprise finding was a recognisable Hare orchid (Leporella fimbriata) way passed its prime, but still another species located for the day. A nice solo Jug orchid (Pterostylis recurva) is found plus Deb stumbles across a small beautiful Pink bunny orchid (Eriochilus scaber subsp. scaber). This one was only 20mm in height.

Such great finds already and we have yet to arrive at our planned camping area, so we can set up and have lunch. So off we head towards Thomas River campground.

Oh no! The road to Cape Arid National Park is closed so we cannot reach Thomas River. Now what?

As we are close to Boyatup Hill (Mud Map SE 40), we decide to go there first and figure out where to camp later. Luckily Deb had pre-made lunch so we quickly have a bite to eat then make tracks for Boyatup.

At out usual first stop, along the track in, we immediately find a Dancing spider orchid (Caladenia discoidea) on the right hand side together with an unusually coloured donkey orchid. Both are still covered in rain drops.

Moving to the left hand side of the track, as it is less bushy, we find some Cream spider orchids, Western wispy spider orchids, Dancing spider orchids and Jug orchids.

Finally a different spider orchid is found. Appears to be from the King spider orchid complex. From it’s appearance I believe it to be a Esperance king spider orchid (Caladenia decora), which flowers August to October between Bremer Bay and Cape Arid. May be the closely related Heberle’s spider orchid which has a similar appearance and range.

Time to walk further along the track towards the old gravel pit. Mallee banded greenhoods, another spent Hare orchid and some Western tiny blue orchids (Cyanicula aperta) are found. These little blue orchids flower from August to October between Dumbleyung and Mt Ragged.

As we reach the other side of gravel pit the landscape turns black. A bush fire had swept through the area last summer, so this is why we planned a visit to this location. We have yet to witness the orchid bloom after a summer fire. Fingers crossed the devastation of the bush fire does lead to new life and we will finally get to observe this.

Immediately to the left as we exit the gravel pit is a lonely Dancing spider orchid growing in the blackened soil. Deb finds some Blue beards nearby which stand out easily against the black.

Then the first pink speck is sighted. Pink bunny orchids begin to appear in scattered groups all over the place. Many more blue beards are found, some growing in clumps. Other Mallee banded greenhoods and Western tiny blue orchids are also found. We are able to explore a much greater area as the fire has cleared away all the undergrowth, leaving just blackened bushes and trees.

We reach the spot we usually park the Triton as the track gets very thin and would scratch the hell out of the paintwork. However we have the camper in tow, so cannot turn around here. So we have to drive further up the track to the granite rocks so we can attempt to turn around. Not that we drive only, as we park and go exploring every five minutes or so. We chew up time but get to explore so much more ground.

Our usual orchid at this part of the track is the Mosquito orchid however only a few leaves are visible in the burnt bushes at the edge of the track. It is not until we venture further afield do we locate some in flower. Also found in this part of the search were more Blue beards and Western wispy spider orchids.

We make it to the turn around spot of the flat granite however the ground between the rock is very soft, so it is a very boggy event, however Deb as always gets us through. Now we are facing the way out we can breathe a bit easier. So why not keep on expanding our search towards the hill itself.

Woohoo we have found our first Cowslip orchid (Caladenia flava subsp. flava) of the day. These bright yellow beauties always brighten up the day. Then at the base of the hill we discover a vast patch of Western Wispy spider orchids growing under the protection of a bush.