2018 Road Trip – Holland Track and Beyond – Day 3

26/08/2018

Foggy morning
Waiting for the campers to dry out

Woke up to thick fog, so this delayed our departure as we waited for the campers to dry out before we packed them away. Once on our way we followed the Trip Notes from the “Explore the Holland Track and Cave Hill Woodlines” Explorer Series: Western Australia No.1 3rd Edition  booklet and made our first stop at the side of the Katanning-Nyabing Road in Ewlyamartup. All 3 of us go exploring and we discover Cowslip orchids (Caladenia flava subsp. flava), Jug orchids (Pterostylis recurva), Western wheatbelt donkey orchid (Diuris brachyscapa) and Dark Banded greenhoods (Pterostylis sanguinea) all of which have been previously found this season.

Further along the road we stop at an old church, St Peters Church in Badgebup which was built in 1922. Toilet break in Nyabing, before heading to a Holland Track landmark, referred to as Holland Dam just off Guelfi  Road.  

We found the government water tank and a track into the scrub which lead to a cleared area, which may have been the remains of the so called dam. We quickly walked around and found further Jug orchids, Cowslip orchids, Dark banded greenhoods and Sugar orchids (Ericksonella saccharata).

Quick bite to eat before making tracks to the Holland Rocks Nature Reserve. Here we park up at the Water tank and search the south side of the road. First up I find more Dark banded greenhoods then excitedly the first wispy spider orchid is found. On the way over to see my orchid Deb also stumbles across some spider orchids.  I believe these to be Chameleon spider orchids (Caladenia dimidia) which range from Paynes Find to Scaddan and flower August to October. The upswept to horizontal petals, incurved dorsal sepal and dark tail filaments lead me to this classification. 

Very close by we also find Sugar orchids, then further afield Deb finds lots of them and Donkey orchids. From our location the donkey orchids must be Yellow granite donkey orchid (Diuris hazeliae) which is a common inland orchid flowering August to September in a range from Paynes Find to Salmon Gums

On the way back to the Triton we find other specimens of the Chameleon spider orchid. There is even a solitary pink-red variation.

 We keep following the Trip notes and make our way NE to Silver Wattle Hill Nature Reserve. We jump out and find the track leading to what we hoped was a spot where the original Holland Track had carved wheel ruts into the granite. No luck in finding the wheel ruts however we were lucky enough to find some orchids. On the walk we found Sugar orchids, Wispy spider orchids (unknown species) and a Cowslip orchid and Jug orchid.

So a bit disheartened that we did not find the old wheel ruts we also check south of the spot we had parked up. Lucky we did as I found a Blue beard (Pheladenia deformis) on the edge of the granite rock, a Drooping spider orchid (Caladenia radialis) which flower August to early October in a range from Northampton to Jerramungup, growing in the Resurrection Plant. Deb found another Wispy spider orchid also growing in a Resurrection Plant. Unable to confidently name the species though. 

Leaving Silver Wattle Hill N.R. we again follow the Trip notes and make our way through Lake Biddy (abandoned townsite)  into Dragon Rocks Nature Reserve from the south. We actually have to drive through a farmers property which felt a bit intrusive, but we then passed through a gate into the Nature Reserve. Less than 3km into the reserve we find the rock and set about setting up camp, lighting a fire, cooking dinner, having a few drinks, talking some BS and then hitting the sack. It has been a great day following the Trip Notes and finding at least 9 different orchid species, with a couple of unknown Wispy spiders thrown in.  

Camp fire
Clearing skies

Dempster Head on a windy afternoon

29/07/2018

On a fine but windy afternoon we decide to spend a couple hours traipsing around Dempster Head (Mud Map SE34) with the hope of finding some orchids in flower. I finally find a Mosquito orchid (Cyrtostylis robusta) in flower, underneath an overhanging bush in the quite bushy area just above the steps from the gazebo. Not that we walked the steps, we came from the other direction 🙂 Mosquito orchids flower June to August in a range from Perth to Israelite Bay.

Back towards where the boardwalk steps down I find the wonderful little Eastern granite snail orchid (Pterostylis voigtii) which only occurs between Esperance and Israelite Bay in the months July to early September. These are the smallest of the snail orchids in WA, reaching a height of only 50mm.

Other snail orchids and mosquito orchids found. We did not find the Shell orchids from the previous year though 😦

 

 

East of Esperance

16/06/2018

Today we head east along Fisheries Road to turn north at Coolinup Road for our first exploration out Condingup way for this season. Our first stop at the small granite outcrop on the side of the road proved flowerless, however spent bunny orchids and leaves of orchids yet to flower were found. Maybe next visit will prove more successful. Next we check out the track  (Mud Map SE 38) however the verges had recently been slashed so nothing found. We move on further north to a gravel pit to have a bite of lunch whilst walking around. Again no surprises found. Well onwards to a location that proved successful last season to see if anything can be found. 

Thank goodness we find something in flower. Albeit a little past their prime. A snail orchid, species unknown and a Hare orchid seem to be all we can find so I take a photo just to show we actually found something. 

However, ever the optimists, we keep looking and woo hoo a new species for the season is found. Autumn leek orchid (Prasophyllum parvifolium), which flowers June to August in a range from Eneabba to Mt Ragged. 

Reinvigorated we continue our search. Next up we find some Banded greenhoods (Pterostylis vittata)

Then we find another leek orchid, Scented autumn leek orchid (Prasophyllum sp. ‘early’) which flowers April to June in a range from Bunbury to Israelite Bay. As the name suggests these flower earlier than the related Autumn leek orchid and also do not have the red colouring. 

Its now after 3pm so we make tracks back to the Triton, however on our way back we find some more Banded greenhoods so just had to get some more shots.

We pull into our abandoned picnic area on Merivale Road, grab a piece of fruit and go exploring.  Nothing found until we get onto the granite outcrop to the west of the picnic site. Deb finds a small bunny orchid. Scattered specimens found which appear to be the Granite bunny orchid (Eriochilus pulchellus) as these flower April to May in a range from the Darling Range to Balladonia in 3 separate areas. Esperance to Balladonia being one of these specific locations. 

It is now after 4.30pm so we make tracks back to the Triton. Deb finds a snail orchid so we attempt to get some shots in the fading light. Unable to distinguish the species of this orchid due to lack of rosette, 3 stems leaves and thin appearance. 

4 names species found so proved quite a successful day out. Tomorrow we plan to head West to see what is flowering out that way.

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 18 – Walyormouring to Tutanning Nature Reserve

18/09/2017

After breaking camp we head through Goomalling to our first planned stop, Cunderdin Hill lookout. Lots of broken glass and pink everlastings with blue cornflowers thrown in, were the only finds. We made our way down to town centre and visited the famous Ettamogah Pub for lunch.

 After lunch we head off towards Quairading, however we notice a sign for Toapin Weir (Featured Image) so decide to check it out. What an amazing hidden gem this is. Great granite outcrop to explore, flushing toilets, fresh water supply, gas BBQ and picnic tables. We would have stayed here the night had it not been so early in the day.

Now off to explore for orchids with our first find being some spent Prasophyllum gracile complex orchids closely followed by some donkey orchids. Location would suggest them to be Western wheatbelt donkey orchid (Diuris brachyscapa). 

Next up we start finding Sun orchids that have yet to open which is frustrating given our long wait in Charles Darwin Reserve. However we finally stumble across some that have opened. The Granite sun orchid (Thelymitra petrophila) which blooms August to November from Mullewa to South Australia was a sight for strained eyes.

 Much better specimens of the Little laughing leek orchid (Prasophyllum gracile) including single plants to small clumps of plants were found on the walk back to the Triton.

Now we head off for our over night stay location which we have not decided upon just yet.. How unusual for us.. NOT. We bypassed Quairading instead driving through Dangin and south past Lake Mears to Tutanning Nature Reserve, located in the Dutarning Range. Totally unaware if any suitable camping site would be found we headed West into the reserve and on the drive in we spied some Cowslip orchids (Caladenia flava subsp. flava). However as light was fading fast, given it was after 5pm, we didn’t stop to take photos as we wanted to find our overnight stop first.  By chance we came across a wonderful cleared site, which must have been some sort of farm or townsite, now abandoned. We quickly set up camp then went exploring. First up we both came across more Cowslips.

Next orchid found by Deb was a Blue china orchid (Cyanicula gemmata), which flower August to early November in a range that stretches from Kalbarri to Israelite Bay.  My next orchid on the other hand was an Ant orchid (Caladenia roei). We then quickly moved to each others location to grab some photos.

Also found were Sugar orchids (Ericksonella saccharata) . Light is fading fast so we make our way back to camp when we stumble across another Blue china orchid.

Seven species found for the day

Road Trip – Day 9 – Day 14 Charles Darwin Reserve to Canna

9/9 After checking out of Charles Darwin Reserve we make one more trip to the spot on the track to Mongers Well, to see if the sun orchid had finally flowered. Yeehah it has. It is very small Granite sun orchid (Thelymitra petrophila). Nearby is another one not 100% open, but a darker colouring, so I took photos of it as well.

I couldn’t pass up some last photos of a Dainty blue orchid (Cyanicula amplexans)

First day we travelled North up to Paynes Find before heading East towards Sandstone. We camped just off  the road this night.

10/9 In the morning, Deb and Richard tried their hand at some prospecting using a very old metal detector. We lunched at the National Hotel in Sandstone, then after filling up our water tanks, we took the tourist loop around Sandstone before heading West to our next overnight stop at Jundoo Dam on the road to Mount Magnet.

11/9 After stopping at Paynesville cemetery we made it to Mount Magnet for an awesome hot beef roll in the Grand Hotel. After a visit to the Dept of Mines for maps etc to help with the prospecting, we take the tourist route with a planned overnight stop at Garden Rock, near Cue.

12/9 After a walk over the granite rock we head into Cue to check out the town. Very nice old buildings but very empty streets. We now head south looking for the spot we picked from the maps for some prospecting. After having a go finding gold mid afternoon, we find at place to camp for the next 2 nights.

13/9 Deb and Richard have a day gold detecting nearby, whilst I remain at camp. Writing notes for this blog and just relaxing.

14/9 Today Deb and Richard show me some of the areas they visited yesterday and then we make tracks for Yalgoo and further south, Canna for our overnight stop.

Fingers crossed we find some more orchids soon as I’m getting withdrawal pains!!!

Road Trip Day 7 – Camel Soak

7/9/2017

As Charles Darwin Reserve is proving to be very light on orchids this year we have decided to take a day trip to Camel Soak (Mud Map N34) which is to the west. Last year it was a place we found many different species so fingers crossed for this year.

At Lake Monger lookout, on Rabbit-proof Fence Road, just off Wanarra East Road the first orchid found was the  Dainty blue orchid (Cyanicula amplexans). However in the breakaway we also found many sun orchids yet to open fully.

Travelling down Rabbit-proof Fence Rd we turn East and arrive at Camel Soak. This granite catchment, also known as The Rock Hole was sunk as a watering point for men and their camel teams working on the No 2 Rabbit Proof Fence from 1903 to 1905.

Now to search for some orchids! The Yellow granite donkey orchid (Diuris hazeliae) is found all around the granite outcrop which is wonderful to see.

I stumble across a new orchid for this far north. Pink candy orchid (Caladenia hirta)All alone but still a different species finally.

More Donkey orchids and Dainty blue orchids found

Another species found in good numbers. Cowslip orchid (Caladenia flava sp. flava)

Richard then spies a Little laughing leek orchid (Prasophyllum gracile) and further specimens are found.

Some unopened Yellow and Blue sun orchids were the only other species found.

Many more Dainty blue orchids and Yellow granite donkey orchids were found and photographed.

5 species identified today with 2 Thelymitra species found that had yet to flower for identification.