13/08/2021 ….. Esperance to the Jam Patch, Nth Lake Grace

Esperance, Nature Reserves, South Buniche NR, Western Australian Orchids, Wind Farm

Day one of our annual road trip. This time however we are travelling with a larger group and are heading up into the Pilbara, where orchids are not located, so I will be recording only the days which include finding orchids. We leave home at 7.45am and head up to West Beach to say goodbye to our grandkids, then as we are over that way we call into the Wind Farm for a quick gander.

Here we find the Mosquito orchid (Cyrtostylis robusta), Curled-tongue shell orchid (Pterostylis rogersii) and Pink fairies (Caladenia latifolia). Deb grabs some quick snaps before we head off west towards Munglinup.

Deb drops me off at the cleared block near the Munglinup Roadhouse, whilst she goes to the toilet. Walking back to meet her I find some donkey orchids in flower. From my knowledge or the area they are either Green Range donkey orchids (Diuris littoralis) or South coast donkey orchids (Diuris brockmanii) which have very similar features and distribution.

From here we head to Ravensthorpe then north to Lake King, where we have a tavern lunch. With full bellies we head west toward Lake Grace. However along the way we look into the verge at South Buniche Nature Reserve. Here we locate 3 different species in the Pterostylis genre. First up is the common Jug orchid (Pterostylis recurva) followed by some snail orchids. These little guys could possibly be two different species due to their colouring and rosettes. The final orchid is the unique Frog greenhood (Pterostylis sargentii).

We now move onto our planned overnight stay, the Jam Patch, in North Lake Grace. We expected other campers to be here, however we lucked into being all alone. Before setting up camp fully we venture off on the Red loop walk trail in search of orchids. Hairy-stemmed snail orchids (Pterostylis setulosa) are the first orchid to be found.

At the edge of a flat granite rock I was lucky enough to stumble across some spider orchids. From the location alongside a granite rock I will take a stab and name these the Chameleon spider orchid (Caladenia dimidia) which occurs between Paynes Find and Norseman during July to September.

It was great to find some spider orchids as it was looking like a Pterostylis type of day. We kept walking the trail and came to the lake which provided great reflection shots and is where the featured image was taken. The only other orchids found though were a great bunch of more Hairy-stemmed snail orchids. So I have posted a photo just to show the number of orchids in such a small location. Also posted a pic of our camp for the night. Was a nice day to start our road trip. Not as many orchid stops as usual, but this trip we are travelling much larger distances.

08/08/2021 ….. Sunday afternoon coastal cache

Esperance, Western Australian Orchids, Wind Farm

Running solo again today as Deb has an afternoon shift. I decide to go back to the Wind Farm to see if the Bird orchids have flowered yet. I discovered many rosettes back on the 11/07/2021, so it’s been 4 weeks.

After parking up, I start at the left of the parking lot and find some snail orchids in flower. Very difficult to name snail orchids. The size of the rosette and it’s leaves, length of lateral sepals and plant height varied greatly so there may actually be at least 2 species. Possible options are the Coastal snail orchid (Pterostylis sp. “coastal snail”), Ravensthorpe snail orchid (Pterostylis grossa) or Thick-sepalled snail orchid (Pterostylis meridionalis).

I then started up the walking track and ran into a fellow orchid hunter, Kathy M. She was interested in the ID of a snail orchid she had found that had fawnish tones to it as well as one that seemed to have different rosette to others she had found. ID proves difficult and the species may be one of the previously listed options.

We spent quite a while checking out the Mosquito orchids (Cyrtostylis robusta) and the intermingled Bird orchid (Pterostylis sp.) rosettes, which unfortunately have yet to flower.

Kathy was going to check further down the road towards the coast, whilst I went into the scrub looking for the Pink fairy orchids (Caladenia latifolia) which Kathy had mentioned she had found. Three beautiful flowers found in full bloom. They were a very pale shade of pink, almost white in patches.

Flowering near the Pink fairies are some Curled tongue shell orchids (Pterostylis rogersii), which are a coastal shell orchid found from Binningup to Esperance.

I spend a few more minutes checking the area and come across further mosquito and shell orchids. I walk back to the car and head back towards the coast. A little ways down the track Kathy had parked up and was fossicking in the roadside scrub. I enquired if she had located much, to which she replied – there are some helmet orchids flowering. I pull over and take some photos of the small Crystal helmet orchid (Corybas limpidus) which flower during the period July to early September over a coastal range between Walpole and Esperance.

Other snail orchids found, which all have different features, which makes the task of identification very difficult. I have posted a flower and rosette shot for each distinct orchid and if you can provide any ideas on the likely identification, please do not hesitate to comment.

Now I head off to discover a new location to explore. Another orchid hunter Geoff R, advised me of this location on Twilight Beach Road near Observatory Point. Pulling over onto the limestone I jump out an immediately start exploring the low wind swept coastal scrub. Firstly had to watch my step as there are so many mosquito orchid leaves. Luckily I find one in flower as these orchids flower from June to August, so it is getting towards the end of their season.

Further into the scrub I come across some beautiful little snail orchids with dark sepals, both lateral and dorsal. Still unable to name these confusing little orchids. Moving back towards the car I find 3 Caladenia sp. orchids tempting me with there buds.

Along the vehicle track into the scrub, I come across many more snail orchids which only add to the confusion of ID.

Walking back however, I also discover some Banded greenhoods (Pterostylis vittata) still in flower. Closer to the Triton I push back into the scrub and are rewarded with a couple of Curled-tongue shell orchids, mosquito orchids and a Caladenia sp. orchid in bud.

3.47 pm so time to move on. Plan was to pop up to Dempster Head and see if the Spectacled donkey orchid was flowering, however I change my mind and pull into Chapmans Point instead. Nothing found on the lookout walk so just made my way down towards the point and checked out underneath shrubs and around the granite rocks.

Have a guess what I found first. That’s right, some more confusing snail orchids. Also found other mosquito orchids in flower. It was an amazing warm sunny winters afternoon, so finding the orchids that I have, just made the day even better. Now time for home.

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.

27/08/2020 ….. Dinninup to Nunijup Lake (Road Trip 2020)

Condinup Reserve, Nature Reserves, Other Reserves, Road Trip, Scotts Brook NR, Six Mile Road NR, Tone Perup NR, Western Australian Orchids

After an amazing sleep we enjoy breakfast with Kerry and her family before we are taken on a drive to the farm cemetery, which may actually be located in Condinup Reserve. In the bush surrounding the cemetery we find some orchids.

Family farm cemetery

Small flowered donkey orchid

(Diuris porrifolia)

Little pink fairies

(Caladenia reptans subsp. reptans)

Thanking Kerry for her hospitality we head south to Dinninup and make our first stop at the intersection of Six Mile and Harrison roads.

Six Mile and Harrison Rds

Donkey orchid

(Diuris sp.)

Little pink fairies

(Caladenia reptans subsp. reptans)

Silky blue orchid

(Cyanicula sericea)

Jug orchid

(Pterostylis recurva)

Next up we pullover at Six Mile Road Nature Reserve for a quick look.

Purple pansy orchid

(Diuris longifolia)

Jug orchid

(Pterostylis recurva)

Little pink fairies

(Caladenia reptans subsp. reptans)

Slender snail orchid

(Pterostylis crispula)

Banded greenhood

(Pterostylis vittata)

Cowslip orchid

(Caladenia flava subsp. flava)

Silky blue orchid

(Cyanicula sericea)

Diuris sp.

It is now past noon so we had better move on. We head south through Mayanup and take Scotts Brook Road toward the Tone Perup Nature Reserve. Pulling up on the roadside, we were surprised and elated as we got to see a real life Numbat (Myrmecobius fasciatus) sitting on a log. After calming down we ventured into the woodland to search for orchids.

Tone Perup Nature Reserve

Common donkey orchid or Small flowered donkey orchid

(Diuris corymbosa or D. porrifolia)

Jug orchid

(Pterostylis recurva)

Little pink fairies

(Caladenia reptans subsp. reptans)

Common spider orchid

(Caladenia varians)

Tenterden yellow spider orchid, Straw-coloured spider orchid

(Caladenia straminichila)

Lake Muir spider orchid, Red-veined spider orchid

(Caladenia validinervia)

Joseph’s spider orchid

(Caladenia polychroma)

Silky blue orchid

(Cyanicula sericea)

Just after 1.30pm we move on. However, only minutes down the road we come to Scotts Brook Nature Reserve. As it appears to have seen a bushfire recently, we pull over for a quick scout around.

Joseph’s spider orchid

(Caladenia polychroma)

Purple pansy orchid

(Diuris longifilia)

Common spider orchid

(Caladenia varians)

Primrose spider orchid

(Caladenia xantha)

??? spider orchid

(Caladenia sp.)

Little pink fairies

(Caladenia reptans subsp.reptans)

Silky blue orchid

(Cyanicula sericea)

It’s been nearly 1 hr since we pulled up to Scotts Brook N.R. so we had better get a move on. We didn’t get far before a change in habitat had us pull into a side road for a scout around.

Chowerup – Scotts Brook Road verge

Slender snail orchid

(Pterostylis crispula)

Silky blue orchid

(Cyanicula sericea)

??? donkey/pansy orchid

(Diuris sp.)

Little pink fairies

(Caladenia reptans subsp. reptans)

Jug orchid

(Pterostylis recurva)

Time flies when you’re having fun. Nearly 3 pm, so we head onward looking for an overnight camping site. We discover a wonderful abandoned cemetery, so we had to pull over to explore.

Lichen covered sign

Little pink fairies

(Caladenia reptans subsp. reptans)

Western wheatbelt donkey orchid

(Diuris brachyscapa)

Nice little stop with a couple of orchids growing between the gravesites. Onwards we go, further south-east, checking out nature reserves for places to camp. Nothing found, so we finally pull up to our backup overnight stay.

Nunijup Lake

Small flowered donkey orchid

(Diuris porrifolia)

Tenterden yellow spider orchid

(Caladenia straminichila)

Jug orchid

(Pterostylis recurva)

Tangled white spider orchid

(Caladenia longicauda subsp. redacta)

Well, we can finally rest up and enjoy the campfire. A wonderful day on the road with many orchids found. Some new locations explored and a favourite overnight spot revisited. At least 15 species found, which is amazing. Roll on tomorrow!!!

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.

25/08/2020 ….. Meelon to Mornington (Road Trip 2020)

Dwellingup SF, Meelon NR, Nature Reserves, Road Trip, State Forest, Western Australian Orchids

Thankyou to Megan for allowing us to camp on her Meelon property for a couple nights. It was great to catch-up with family and friends. Finally being able to visit my dear old mum in her nursing after all the COVID-19 lockdowns, was extra special. We say our goodbyes to little Harley and start our homeward journey, albeit in a very roundabout fashion, which is the way we like it. 🙂

Meelon Nature Reserve

Common bee orchid

(Diuris decrementa)

Meelon Nature Reserve proved to be very wet and weedy however some orchids found, so a good start to the day. We now back-track a few hundred metres and turn down Burnside Road. This road side stop proves to be fruitful.

Burnside Road

Cowslip orchid

(Caladenia flava subsp. flava)

Crowded banded greenhood

(Pterostylis atrosanguinea)