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.

04/07/2021 ….. North-eastern adventure

Burdett South NR, Day Trip, Esperance, Helms Arboretum, Mount Burdett NR, Nature Reserves, Western Australian Orchids

On a cold winters day, what better to do than go exploring for orchids!! We must be mad. With grey clouds and the possibility of rain, we head north to check out the northern boundary of Helms Arboretum (Mud Map SE 35). We wish to see how far the Southern Curly Locks (Thelymitra uliginosa) have progressed. We locate some of the spiral leaves but not in the same numbers as previous years, which is disappointing considering the great start to the season, weather wise. Another orchid found was a spent Scented autumn leek orchid (Prasophyllum Sp. ‘early’) which flower April to June, hence this orchid being finished for the season.

Nothing else found so we move eastwards to Dempster Road via Gibson Road then turn into Wittenoom Road. Rather than check out the blue metal dump which is one of our regular haunts we move further north and check out the old gravel pit near Scaddan Road. First up growing in the pushed back road verge we find some banded greenhoods. As they vary in colour they may be different species. Other specimens are found further afield so I am confident the larger greenish ones are the Banded greenhood (Pterostylis vittata) whilst the smaller brownish ones are the Mallee banded greenhood (Pterostylis arbuscula). Both flower during July and are shown as appearing in the Esperance region.

Then a wonderful patch of snail orchids being watched by a large fungi is found. From the rosettes and colouring of the snail orchids I believe they are Brittle snail orchids (Pterostylis timothyi). These small guys flower from July to September over an easterly distribution including Esperance.

We now move on further north and venture up a track that leads into Mount Burdett Nature Reserve. Further Brittle snail orchids are found or are they the similar Fawn snail orchids (Pterostylis parva) which are of smaller stature with shorter lateral sepals but fatter appearance.

Whilst we are taking photos of the snail orchids another 5 cars drive past on the track, so we decide to turn around and head to Mt Burdett (Mud Map SE36) for a detailed search. We reach our parking spot at the base of the granite rock an immediately find some greenhoods. From the height of the plants and the number of dark coloured flowers I believe they are Dark banded greenhoods (Pterostylis sanguinea) which flower June to September over a large range from Mullewa to Toolinna Cove.

Nearby found a lone Banded greenhood and then looking around some large snail orchids come into view. They are the Robust snail orchid (Pterostylis dilatata) which are distinctive, in that when flowering they lack a rosette.

I think the next snail orchid found is definitely a Fawn snail orchid as it is short statured , has bloated flowers and the rosettes have blue-green pointed leaves. The snail orchids are sharing the bright green moss with another small orchid as well. The Pink bunny orchid (Eriochilus scaber subsp. scaber) flowers early July, so these are on time as they are just starting to open. These little orchids are unique in that their flowering and non-flowering leaves differ in appearance.

Moving further up the rocky mount, we come across a patch of Mallee banded greenhoods which are similar to the Dark banded greenhoods but have less flowers and are shorter in stature.

We finally make it up to the summit, so to speak. We are excited to find a nice patch of shell orchids in flower. The Green-veined shell orchid (Pterostylis scabra) are a common inland shell orchid flowering over a huge range, Kalbarri to Esperance, during the months of May to August. They grow in varied habitats of woodlands and shrublands to shallow soil pockets on granite outcrops. The later describes our location.

Moving down the mount back to the Triton we come across more Fawn snail orchids. Nothing more so we move on in a south easterly direction this time.

So driving down Greens Road we notice a track leading into the Burdett South Nature Reserve. Quick check of Google Maps and we decide to check it out. It is quite overgrown so we end up walking mostly. Lucky find of a recognisable Hare orchid (Leporella fimbriata) as they finish their season in June.

We come to a salt lake that provides a great backdrop for our obligatory “Selfie”, however the only other orchids found in flower where the good old Banded greenhood, plus a snail orchid with its hood eaten off. Rosette of stalked pointed leaves, leads me to name it the Brittle snail orchid.

Well it’s now 3.45pm so we decide to walk back to the Triton for the drive home. It was a very cold day however we found some great orchids and enjoyed the fresh air.

29/08/2020 ….. Gnowangerup to Hamersley Inlet (Road Trip 2020)

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

A much earlier start to the day as we did not need to wait for the camper to dry out. We arrive at our first location by 8.30am and explore widely this time, as we have had quick visits on other occasions.

Chirelillup Nature Reserve

Green spider orchid

(Caladenia falcata)

Frog greenhood

(Pterostylis sargentii)

Western wheatbelt donkey orchid

(Diuris brachyscapa)

Jug orchid

(Pterostylis recurva)

??? greenhood

(Pterostylis sp.)

Sugar orchid

(Ericksonella saccharata)

Small mantis orchid

(Caladenia attingens subsp. gracillima)

Joseph’s spider orchid

(Caladenia polychroma)

Cowslip orchid

(Caladenia flava subsp. flava)

Slender spider orchid

(Caladenia pulchra)

Well after our extensive search of the reserve we decide it is time to move on. We don’t get far before we pull over at a patch of scrub, due to seeing a large colony of donkey orchids whilst driving past.

Gnowangerup-Jerramungup Rd

Western wheatbelt donkey orchid or Small flowered donkey orchid.

(Diuris brachyscapa or D. porrifolia)

Stark white spider orchid

(Caladenia longicauda subsp. eminens)

Wheatbelt spider orchid

(Caladenia x cala)

Cowslip orchid

(Caladenia flava subsp. flava)

Jug orchid

(Pterostylis recurva)

Short-sepaled spider orchid

(Caladenia brevisura)

Banded greenhood

(Pterostylis vittata)

Purple-veined spider orchid

(Caladenia doutchiae)

??? Hybrid

(Caladenia x sp.)

Western wheatbelt donkey orchid or Small flowered donkey orchid.

(Diuris brachyscapa or D. porrifolia)

Green spider orchid

(Caladenia falcata)

Wowsers! what an awesome random roadside stop that was. Hybrids plus numerous species found. We do though have to move on, so onwards to Ongerup we go.

Ongerup

Cowslip orchids

(Caladenia flava subsp. flava)

Western wheatbelt donkey orchid

(Diuris brachyscapa)

Green spider orchid

(Caladenia falcata)

Sugar orchid

(Ericksonella saccharata)

Drooping spider orchid

(Caladenia radialis)

Frog greenhood

(Pterostylis sargentii)

Blue china orchid

(Cyanicula gemmata)

Time for lunch so we head for the nearby Yongergnow Australian Malleefowl Centre, where we have enjoyed a nice meal on previous visits. This visit was no exception. With a full belly we move on towards the Fitzgerald River National Park.

Calyerup Rocks

Western tiny blue orchid

(Cyanicula aperta)

Sugar orchids

(Ericksonella saccharata)

Jug orchid

(Pterostylis recurva)

Cowslip orchid

(Caladenia flava subsp. flava)

Common bee orchid

(Diuris decrementa)

Whoops, we somehow drove into the Park Rangers residence, and were chastised for this. Oh well we know better next time. As we plan to camp at Hamersley Inlet we move further along the South Coast Hwy until we reach West River Road. Due to failing light we stop only at the lookout, before pulling into our overnight campground. After setting up we go for a quick walk and of course look out for any orchids that catch our eye. The inlet is very dry compared to when we last visited a few years back.

Hamersley Inlet

Western wispy spider orchid

(Caladenia microchila)

Sunset over the inlet

After enjoying the beautiful sunset over the inlet we head back to the camper to rustle up some dinner. We then enjoyed a game of Tri-ominos before hitting the sack. Random stops today proved very successful with many orchids found, so we don’t always have to plan everything upfront.

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)

The Crowded banded greenhoods were a new find for us, so it was a perfect random stop. However it is time to move on, so we venture to the South West Hwy and head down to Yarloop. From here we head west looking for suitable habitat to checkout, however we are not very successful. So we head back through Cookernup to cross the highway and head to Lake Brockman, where we have lunch at the caravan park which overlooks the Logue Brook dam. After enjoying lunch on the verandah with a friendly 28 parrot for company we go for a walk around the camping ground.

Lake Brockman Tourist Park

Cowslip orchid

(Caladenia flava subsp. flava)

Jug orchid

(Pterostylis recurva)

Small banded greenhood

(Pterostylis orbiculata)

Little pink fairies

Caladenia reptans subsp. reptans)

Slender snail orchid

(Pterostylis crispula)

Bird orchid

(Pterostylis barbata)

What a great variety of orchids found at the campground. The Small banded greenhood is another new orchid for us. We decide to move on toward Hoffman Mill where we plan to camp the night. Unfortunately the campground is closed so we decide to check out the walk trail that crosses the creek, to see if we can find anything new.

Hoffmans Mill

Slender snail orchid

(Pterostylis crispula

Jug orchid

(Pterostylis recurva)

Banded greenhood

(Pterostylis vittata)

Walk trail finished, however only Pterostylis orchids found. As we can’t camp here we head off looking for somewhere to stay in the middle of the State forest. Heading towards Collie we finally find a track leading into the bush. This track leads into a loop where we decide to pull up and set up camp.

Mornington

Little pink fairies

(Caladenia reptans subsp.reptans)

After setting up the camper and getting a campfire ready to light, we check out the inner loop of our camping area. We find a few little pink fairies but do not venture much further as we will check out this location in the morning. We were distracted by the rumbling sound that just started out of the blue and did not stop for hours. It turned out to be the conveyor belt leading to Worsley Alumina Refinery.

23/08/2020 ….. Highbury State Forest to Meelon (Road Trip 2020)

Highbury SF, Road Trip, State Forest, Western Australian Orchids

We wake up to another beautiful morning in the forest. After breakfast we pack up the camper and head back along the track. Before leaving the state forest though we have one more exploration.

Highbury State Forest

Small flowered donkey orchid

(Diuris porrifolia)

Jug orchid

(Pterostylis recurva)

Dark banded greenhood

(Pterostylis sanguinea)

Primrose spider orchid

(Caladenia xantha)

Little pink fairies

(Caladenia reptans subsp. reptans)

Lemon-scented sun orchid

(Thelymitra antennifera)

Pterostylis sp.

Mosquito orchid

(Cyrtostylis robusta)

Dancing spider orchid

(Caladenia discoidea)

Blue beard

(Pheladenia deformis)

Cowslip orchid

(Caladenia flava subsp. flava)

Sugar orchid

(Ericksonella saccharata)

In my little black book I recorded finding 2 wispy complex spider orchids and 2 greenhoods, however whilst making this post I am now unsure so I only posted one of each. Please let me know your thoughts on if there is 1 or 2 types.

Ok so now we move onward to our next location. Piesseville is one of our favourite locations as we regularly find numerous species of orchids. Let us hope this visit proves successful.

Piesseville-Tarwonga Road

Blue beard

(Pheladenia defromis)

Cowslip orchid

(Caladenia flava subsp. flava)

Joseph’s spider orchid

(Caladenia polychroma)

Small flowered donkey orchid

(Diuris porrifolia)

Green spider orchid

(Caladenia falcata)

Chapman’s spider orchid

(Caladenia chapmanii)

Sugar orchid

(Ericksonella saccharata)

?? banded greenhood

(Pterostylis sp.)

Banded greenhood

(Pterostylis vittata)

Well as usual the Piesseville location did not disappoint, however we must move on. We head back to the Albany Highway and head north to Williams, where we turn west towards Quindanning. Our next stop is in a patch of bush along the Pinjarra – Williams Road where we have found orchids on previous visits.

Pinjarra-Williams Road

Silky blue orchid

(Cyanicula sericea)

Dark banded greenhood

(Pterostylis sanguinea)

??? donkey orchid

(Diuris sp.)

Banded greenhood

(Pterostylis vittata)

Leaping spider orchid

(Caladenia macrostylis)

Little pink fairies

(Caladenia reptans subsp. reptans)

Jug orchid

(Pterostylis recurva)

Slender snail orchid

(Pterostylis crispula)

Common spider orchid

(Caladenia varians)