03/09/2021 ….. Northam to Bedfordale Pt2

Beelu NP, National Parks, Nature Reserves, Numerous days, Road Trip, St Ronans NR, Wandoo NP, Western Australian Orchids

After leaving Mokine Nature Reserve we make our way south down Wambyn Road to St Ronans Nature Reserve (Mud Map E 7). We park up at the NW boundary of the park and go exploring. My first orchid found is the Little pink fairy (Caladenia reptans subsp. reptans) which is a rather common orchid flowering between Northampton and Esperance. They are always a pleasure to find though and range from pale to vivid pink in colour.

Also found is a lone Green spider orchid (Caladenia falcata), which is referred to as a common wheatbelt orchid, given its distribution from Wongan Hills to Jerramungup. This specimen stands a good 300mm in height and they are recorded as growing to 400mm in height.

Next up a patch of yellow is seen. Getting closer it is confirmed to be a donkey orchid and appears to be a Small flowered donkey orchid (Diuris porrifolia) which can have up to 7 flowers per orchid. Florabase confirms they are located in the Northam and York shires so the location is covered. The other possibility is the common donkey orchid which is similar though larger in size. Thoughts??

Finally we come across a new orchid for the day. The bright white Sugar orchid (Ericksonella saccharata) is found as two scattered individuals, which is light on when compared to the dozens we have found growing elsewhere in previous seasons. Ericksonella is a another monotypic genus endemic to Western Australia.

The final orchid for this location is another yellow orchid. The reliable Cowslip orchid (Caladenia flava subsp. flava) is found with markings similar to the Brookton Highway cowslip orchid, though this orchid flowers from late September and is located further south. I have read that the boundaries are quite unpredictable with the subspecies but I’m happy to call it the plain cowslip.

We can’t spend an hour at each site, so we move onto Mount Observation in the Wandoo National Park to show Richard what we found here last year. Let’s hope they are flowering this season. On the drive in we spy a nice white spider orchid. I believe it to be the White Spider orchid (Caladenia longicauda subsp. longicauda) which is known to grow in the area and does occur in gravelly ground.

We then make our way up to the picnic area and park up, to go exploring. Not much around here but we did come across a couple of Blue beards (Pheladenia deformis) which is another monotypic genus, however this time is located along the whole of southern Australia including Tasmania. The most distinctive feature which alludes to the common name, is the dense mass of calli and short fringe segments to the upright labellum.

Walking back to the Tritons, Deb and I come across some Green spider orchids. Then a rocky incline, above the parking area, I find some more Small flowered donkey orchids.

Hidden by a log right where we parked is a couple of Jug orchids (Pterostylis recurva) which are a unique shaped orchid from the Pterostylis genus. They have also been referred to as the Recurved shell orchid, Antelope orchid and Bull orchid.

We now move on and stop at an area we have found other orchids before. The Clubbed spider orchid (Caladenia longiclavata) is again found growing on the verges. As the common names alludes both the sepals and petals are clubbed, with the former being long, thick, grooved clubs and the later small, thin clubs.

However some seem to be the often co-located Big clubbed spider orchid (Caladenia magniclavata) which is distinguished by having down-swept petals and lateral sepals and the clubs to the lateral sepals being approx 50% of the length. The Clubbed spider orchids clubbing is around 30% of the length in comparison.

More Little pink fairies were located as were some awesome Bird orchids (Pterostylis barbata) which are the most widespread of the bird orchids, ranging from Bindoon and Albany. I am amazed at the structure of these orchids with their beak, bloated body and feather duster like labellum.

Also found mixed in with the Clubbed spiders, Big clubbed spiders, Pink fairies and Bird orchids were more Blue beards and Jug orchids.

Finally we move on and close to the end of the track, near the Great Southern Highway we find some more donkey orchids and a Sugar orchid.

Turning south at Mundaring we travel along Mundaring Weir Road and make an on the spot decision to stop at Gungin Gully in the Beelu National Park for our last exploration of the day. We hit the bush and first orchid found is another Jug orchid quickly followed by a Bird orchid. In fact we find so many bird orchids, it is mind blowing.

Another Pterostylis sp. is found amongst the flock of Bird orchids. A small snail orchid is found, however I will not endeavour to name it based on one specimen. If you have any ideas on the ID please contact me.

Another Small flowered donkey orchid is found together with a very finished Hare orchid (Leporella fimbriata). I took photos of both just to record their location.

The highlight of today was finding numerous Silky blue orchids (Cyanicula sericea) which is a common orchid in the western part of its distribution whilst becoming rarer in the eastern parts. Distribution is Jurien Bay to Condingup. The black spotted labellum is a distinctive feature of this orchid.

It’s 3pm so time to make our way to Sandy and Noel’s place in Bedfordale, where we will crash the night. Over the next couple days I train down to Mandurah to visit my mum and sister Maxine, then catch up with the in-laws for a Father’s Day breakfast near the Swan River, then pop up to my brothers place in Dwellingup, where we grab another bed for the night.

Another great day with at least 17 species of orchid found.

03/09/2021 ….. Northam to Bedfordale Pt1

Mokine NR, Nature Reserves, Numerous days, Road Trip, Western Australian Orchids

After a nice, dry, warm sleep we awake to another beautiful spring morning. Leaving Northam we head south down Spencers Brook Road to near Mokine, where we turn into Mokine Road. Next we turn at Leaver Road and find Mokine Nature Reserve, our first stop for the day. The first orchid found for the day is the Green spider orchid or Fringed mantis orchid (Caladenia falcata) which is the most widespread of the falcata complex orchids. The prominently clubbed lateral sepals emit pheromone-like odours to attract male thynnine wasps who pollinate the flowers.

Well the next orchid is the bright yellow Common donkey orchid (Diuris corymbosa) which flowers from August to October and is distributed between Gingin and Bunbury, then inland to Brookton. Donkey orchids are also called Pansy orchids by some, and the shape of the flower matches both common names to a tee.

Next up is the ever faithful Cowslip orchid (Caladenia flava) which is arguably the most widespread species of terrestrial orchid in Western Australia. The location we find ourselves in, leads me to believe the orchids growing here are the subspecies “flava”, which is also the most widespread of the 4 named subspecies. These orchids can be found in their hundreds, however we only find scattered individuals and clumps.

Next up we find some Dark banded greenhoods (Pterostylis sanguinea) in both their green and brown forms. These orchids are nearing the end of their season as they are noted as flowering from June to September.

Another related orchid is also located. The distinctive Jug orchid (Pterostylis recurva) which is found from Geraldton to Israelite Bay, is another orchid that is regularly found on our treks. This orchid ranges in colour during it’s lifecycle from green to light brown, with the 3 pictured showing this feature.

Then another bright colour catches our eye. A dual-flowered Little pink fairy (Caladenia reptans subsp. reptans) is found growing on the road verge. The purple underside to the leaf is a feature to help distinguish it from the other pink fairies.

Further into the reserve I go to try and find anything else and as luck has it I come across a lone Dancing spider orchid (Caladenia discoidea), standing tall in the open. In fact they can be up to 450mm in height, however this specimen was around 270mm in height. The short, horizontal petals and lateral sepals are a distinctive feature of this small orchid. And just to record the sighting we did also find a still recognisable Hare orchid (Leporella fimbriata), which flower March to June.

What a great little spot this turned out to be. We have spent just over 1hr here and have found 8 orchid species. Next time we will need to explore further into the reserve as we were only a few metres in from the road this time. As it is now after 11am we make tracks for our next exploration site.

14/08/2021 ….. Jam Patch, Nth Lake Grace to Minnivale

Minnivale NR, Nature Reserves, Numerous days, Road Trip, Western Australian Orchids

Waking up to the sound of nature is an amazing experience. After breakfast we break camp and head straight to Kulin, to fuel up. Then we make our way to the Macrocarpa Wildflower Trail just out of town on the Corrigin Road. As usual we drive around the trail stopping as we spot an orchid and then one of us is usually walking it as well. The first orchid for the day is the ever reliable Jug orchid (Pterostylis recurva) which starts it’s season in August.

Next up some bright colours grab our attention. The Little pink fairy (Caladenia reptans subsp. reptans) stand out in the grey green colours of the surrounding scrub. Further specimens are found further around the trail, though I will record photos of each type only once, to minimise the size of this post.

Further along the small spider orchids start to appear. They do appear to be various species so will attempt to group them into separate lots. The first ones I’ll name are the Chameleon spider orchid (Caladenia dimidia) which is a variable coloured wispy type of spider orchid. The ones found and posted below are a creamy white, yellowish in colour with drooping sepals

Next up though is the Green spider orchid (Caladenia falcata) which was previously named the Fringed mantis orchid. These orchids are found between Wongan Hills and Jerramungup and have distinctive upswept narrowly clubbed lateral sepals.

Another small spider orchid, this time possibly the Joseph’s spider orchid (Caladenia polychroma) is found. As both the Chameleon and Joseph’s spider orchids are variably coloured I used the broader labellum to identify these ones as Joseph’s spider orchids.

In the middle of all these spider orchids we do find some small Hairy-stemmed snail orchids (Pterostylis setulosa). These little guys are the most common, inland, snail orchid being found between Kalbarri and Balladonia.

Also discovered was the Sugar orchid (Ericksonella saccharata) which is another common inland orchid. This orchid is a monotypic genus endemic to Western Australia. This means it is the only species in the genus Ericksonella.

Final orchid of the location was the small Frog greenhood (Pterostylis sargentii), which has recently been split into two species. The distinctive labellum is actually different between the two types. Some of the ones found have spikes to their appearance which I have not seen before.

I will post photos of Wispy style spider orchids found but I cannot name them with any certainty. So much variation in appearance with these little spider orchids makes it very difficult to ID them.

It is now after 12 so we had better keep moving as we still have a long way to travel today. Unfortunately, Deb starts to feel unwell so we end up driving directly to Minnivale, our planned destination for today, with no further stops for orchid searches. After reaching Minnivale and with the help of our friends Bob and Jan we set up camp. I then take a late afternoon stroll into the Minnivale Nature Reserve to see if I could find anything.

I come across some Frog greenhoods hiding in the undergrowth as well as some Hairy-stemmed snail orchids. Then after some 20 mins I finally found a new orchid for the day. From the lateral sepals being prominently reflexed I believe I have found the Dainty donkey orchid (Diuris refracta). It is recorded as being in the Dowerin local government area by Florabase.

Time to end the day in the company of good friends. Other friends arrive later, including Richard, our regular travelling companion. We hit the sack after a long day traveling with the knowledge we have got so much more to come.

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!!!