26/06/2022 ….. Gibson locations checked

Sunday Drive, Western Australian Orchids

As has become our ritual, we enjoy breakfast at the Esperance Bird and Animal Park before checking out some orchid locations.

1st stop – Walker Street Bushland – Gibson, where we check out the burnt-out scrub. Along the edge of the north/south track we locate some greenhoods. The bright green ones must be the Banded greenhood (Pterostylis vittata) whilst the brownish coloured ones may either be the Dark banded greenhood (Pterostylis sanguinea) or the Mallee banded greenhood (Pterostylis arbuscula). All 3 species are recorded as being found this far east, however the references state the sp.vittata is found in soil pockets on granite this far east, which does not match the habitat these ones were found in.

2nd stop – Bush block opposite Stafford Road, further north on the Esperance-Coolgardie Highway. More Banded greenhoods found as well as a good patch of Hare orchid (Leporella fimbriata) leaves. The surprise find though was a large hood of Robust snail orchids (Pterostylis dilatata) growing under the protection of the shrubs. These orchids flower May to August between Northampton and Toolinna.

3rd stop – Boydell Road, even further north along the Highway. Nothing found other than more Hare orchid leaves so our final and 4th stop is our usual location on Fleming Grove Road. Further Banded greenhoods found, plus some Hare orchids still in flower. Past their best but easily recognisable.

Average day for orchids, however it was wonderful to get out under a beautiful blue winters sky. Nothing better than a Sunday drive with orchids as an added bonus.

04/06/2022 & 06/06/2022 ….. Winter Weekend Camping at Anderson Rocks

Dragon Rocks NR, Lake Hurlstone NR, Nature Reserves, Road Trip, Weekend away, Western Australian Orchids

Saturday 04/06/2022

We awake to a crisp winters’ morning at the Chicken Ranch in Varley. After a leisurely breakfast, we break camp and head straight for Dempster Rock to look for orchids. Nothing in bloom found. Disappointed, we move on and stop at a new location for us, in the Lake Hurlstone Nature Reserve.

This location may prove fruitful in later stages of the season, as it has a few different habitats to check out. We did locate some orchids this time as well, so all is good. First up appears to be the Mallee banded greenhood (Pterostylis arbuscula) due to its small size and colouring. Further specimens are found with more stem leaves, taller plants and more flowers, so some may be the Dark banded greenhood (Pterostylis sanguinea). I will post pics of all, so please assist with the identification if you can.

Also found lots of spent White bunny orchids, with a lone one still identifiable as such. This one had a crinkled edged stem leaf, so I initially thought it to be the Crinkled-leafed bunny orchid (Eriochilus dilatatus subsp. undulatus) which flowers during April and May, hence why only spent flowers were found, except for this late flowering one of course. However, using Florabase, the only listed bunny orchid found in both the Shire of Kulin and the Shire of Kondinin is the Blunt-leaved bunny orchid (Eriochilus dilatatus subsp. brevifolius) which flower May and June and only have up to 3 flowers. The leaf is also crinkled-edged so I am happy with this identification. Seems subsp. undulatus has been cancelled in Florabase and the common name of Crinkled-leaved bunny orchid given to subsp. brevifolius. The name game is never ending with native orchids. Also found on the way back to the Triton was a nice specimen of the Dark banded greenhood.

Leaving this new location, we head north to Hyden, where we enjoy an amazing hamburger for lunch. As Richard is running late, we make tracks for Anderson Rocks, our planned destination for this long-weekend.

During the weekend I would climb the rock and record the sounds of the frogs in the FrogID App and then attempt to upload my recordings. I received a reply from the Frog ID App on the 20/07/22 advising they had identified 2 species, so my uploads were successful. The species found were the Bleating Froglet (Crinia pseudinsignifera) and Crawling Toadlet (Pseudophryne guentheri).

Monday 06/06/2022

After a great long-weekend camping with Richard, Sandy and Noel at Anderson Rocks, it is time to travel home. As per usual we do not travel home in a straight line and try our best to take roads yet travelled. So, from Hyden we make our way to Allen Rocks Road, where we stop at an old rubbish dump it seems, as there is so much rubbish lying around. We found some old Gest cooldrink bottles and an old enamel pot to add to our collection. The only orchids found here were some yet to fully open shell orchids.

Next stop was on Dragon Rocks Road in the Dragon Rocks Nature Reserve. This roadside stop turned up some Dark banded greenhoods. Then further south on the Newdgate Road North at another roadside stop we only found some spent Pygmy orchids (Corunastylis fuscoviridis) which are also an early flowering orchid.

Final stop for the day other than to fuel up in Lake King and a toilet break in Munglinup. Arrived back in Esperance around 6.15pm and had dinner at our sons’ house, before heading home to unpack. A great weekend but not so great on the orchid front.

28/05/2022 ….. 4 Points East of Esperance

Beaumont NR, Day Trip, Nature Reserves, Western Australian Orchids

Well after all the stress of the last month or so, it was great to get out in nature again with my darling wife for a good old orchid hunt. We decided we would head out East and see if anything new has sprouted since our visit in April.

We went straight out to our Parmango Road location and found some beautiful Scented autumn leek orchids (Prasophyllum sp. ‘early’), which as the species name suggests, flower from April through to early July. Their stark white colouring stands out in the dull green greys of the surrounding foliage.

Another flowering orchid found was the Hare orchid (Leporella fimbriata) which commences flowering as early as March. They can have up to 3 flowers per orchid (rarely 4) so I will post 3 of our triple headers found.

. Only spiral leaves and buds were found of Pterostylis species, so no other photos taken. Beaumont Nature Reserve is our next location; however, orchids are very light on there as well. At least the first orchids found are new for the 2022 season. The common Banded greenhood (Pterostylis vittata) is found in isolated specimens of various sizes and stages of flowering.

The only other orchid found flowering was the Red-lipped bunny orchid (Eriochilus valens), which is also an early flowering orchid, starting in March and finishing in May, so we are lucky to find some still going. I believe this is our first recording of this species which is exciting. It was the leaf shape and petals clasping the column that allowed me to ID these. Also, the latest references now record their location as far east as Condingup whilst my older reference book has it occurring only as far east as Munglinup.

We now move back towards Esperance and pull into Condingup Peak. Snail orchid rosettes found with Sun orchid leaves growing out of the moss on the rocks. Bunny orchids are finished up here and we find a recognisable Hare orchid.

Final location for the day is Coolinup road, where we find some more orchids that are all past their prime as well. More Hare and Bunny orchids are found. The bunny orchids may be the newly named Eastern granite bunny orchid (Eriochilus dilatatus subsp. ‘eastern granites’) which is listed as being located between Esperance and Balladonia during the months of April and May. Growing on granite, smooth leaf and lack of pink colouring confirm this ID. Thoughts??

Well that is our day done. With only 5 species found it was not that great, however recording 2 different species of Eriochilus was exciting as both are new to us.

12/09/2021 ….. Jerramungup to Munglinup

East Naernup NR, Koornong NR, Nature Reserves, Numerous days, Road Trip, Western Australian Orchids

After an early breakfast we head out to our first location to continue our orchid hunt. Some of the first orchids found are still covered in dew, which exposes the cobwebs as well.

JERRAMUNGUP CEMETERY

Well, I glad we persevered at this location given we found nothing in the first 5 minutes. The hybrid found was our first with a Dragon orchid and the numbers of white spiders was amazing.

However, we must keep moving but we only make it some way up the SouthCoast Highway before pulling into Jacup Highway Park, a rest stop near to the Fitzgerald River crossing. Seems a bit overrun with weeds, but we make the effort and are rewarded big time.

JACUP HIGHWAY PARK

After some amazing finds, we jump back into the Triton and head east. We decide to check out another new location and pull over at Koornong Nature Reserve. Some of our finds may be outside the Nature Reserve boundary as the scrubland extends further along the roadside than we were originally aware of.

Koornong Nature Reserve

Four species found, so not too bad a spot. Worthy of a re-visit another time. Next stop is further along the highway. Here we pull into an old bitumen dump and venture into the surrounding scrub. Orchids found 🙂

East Naernup Nature Reserve

It is now way past lunch time, so we head to Munglinup Roadhouse for their amazing burger. Near the roadhouse I find a nice spider orchid and take a photo, which ends up being the last taken for the day.

Our 2021 orchid hunting road trip has come to an end as we head home from Munglinup. As usual it has been amazing to find so many beautiful orchids in the wonderful West Australian bush and woodlands. Many old favourites found as well as some new species, which is always very exciting. Quite a few hybrids found this time as well as a few lutea or polychromic variants.

11/09/2021 ….. Chirelillup Nature Reserve to Jerramungup

Chirelillup NR, Nature Reserves, Numerous days, Road Trip, Toompup NR, Warperup East NR, Western Australian Orchids

After a cool night, instead of packing up camp straight after breakfast, we go exploring the reserve, whilst the camper dries out. I had seen lots of orchids on my quick scout yesterday and now looked forward to having the time to explore with Debbie.

CHIRELILLUP NATURE RESERVE

As per last night the very first orchid found is the Green spider orchid (Caladenia falcata). Also commonly known as the Fringed Mantis orchid.

Then we stumble across a newly named orchid. The Little frog greenhood (Pterostylis occulta) was named in 2021 from specimens collected in 2005, west of Brookton. It is distinguished from P. sargentii by the shape and hairiness of the horn-like structures of the labellum.

Then an old favourite appears just asking us to take a photo. The Cowslip orchid (Caladenia flava subsp. flava) comes in varied shades of yellow. Then the reddish markings can be bold or pale and be dots or lines and everything in between.

Another yellow orchid is then spotted. Donkey orchids are another orchid that can be difficult to identify, as they are all so similar in appearance and overlap in their recorded locations. For this reason I will not attempt to name the ones found here.

Well I find donkey orchids hard to identify, now I need to try and identify spider orchids from the filamentosa complex. I believe some to be the Common spider orchid (Caladenia varians) whilst others may be the Joseph’s spider orchid (Caladenia polychroma) as both are recorded as being located in the Shire of Gnowangerup, and the features seem to match the reference books

An exciting find was the Purple-veined spider orchid (Caladenia doutchiae) which is found between Mullewa and Raventhorpe. The long tapers to the sepals distinguish it from other related orchids.

A common inland orchid is the Sugar orchid (Ericksonella saccharata) however only a few were found at this location. Also found was the ever reliable Jug orchid (Pterostylis recurva), again not in great numbers though.

We ran into some fellow orchid enthusiasts, Martina & Rick, who amazingly follow this blog via Facebook. They shared with us an app on their phone they use to record locations of interest. It also has the ability to overlay geology maps, that show different geology types, which they feel assists them in locating different orchid habitats. I have installed the Australian geology travel maps app and now regularly use it on our excursions.

The camper has now dried out sufficiently so we pack up camp and head off. We detour into Gnowangerup before heading east again. This time we venture into a new location which is not too great a detour off the main track. However we did have to take the Triton and camper through a bit of water to get back to the main Gnowangerup-Jerramungup Road. The water was in the middle of farmland, not the Nature Reserve though.

TOOMPUP NATURE RESERVE

Being a new location, we are excited to see what is found in Toompup Nature Reserve. We pull into an off road parking spot and immediately find some Green spider orchid (Caladenia falcata) which is also referred to as Western mantis orchid. The highly upturned lateral sepals are one of its distinguishing features.

Some small frog greenhoods are located next, however the photos we took are not clear enough to discern the species conclusively. I though, will name them the Little frog greenhood (Pterostylis occulta) due to the sharp of the horn-like structures on the labellum. Please correct me if you think I have erred in this ID.

Some yellow catches our eye. The faithful Cowslip orchid (Caladenia flava subsp. flava) is found. They certainly brighten up the dull West Australian bush.

Vying for having the most yellow in the bush are the donkey orchids, which are also found en masse. To make life difficult three species are recorded as being found in the Shire of Gnowangerup. I will take a guess that some are the Western wheatbelt donkey orchid (Diuris brachyscapa) and some other ones are the Small flowered donkey orchid (Diuris porrifolia). Florabase mentions D. brachyscapa whilst Atlas of Living Australia lists D. brachyscapa and D. porrifolia as being found in this Nature Reserve.

Well we did find some orchids as a single specimen. A flowering Jug orchid (Pterostylis recurva) and Dancing spider orchid (Caladenia discoidea) , a budding Purple enamel orchid (Elythranthera brunonis) and a spent Hare orchid (Leporella fimbriata) were some such finds. Red beaks (Pyrorchis nigricans) and Sugar orchid (Ericksonella saccharata) were found in low numbers.

OK so we find so many different coloured spider orchids from the filamentosa complex that being certain of their identification is proving difficult.

So, I believe most to be the Joseph’s spider orchid (Caladenia polychroma) as they are a common orchid that occurs in variable colours of white, cream, yellow, red and pink. However, the Chameleon spider orchid (Caladenia dimidia) is also a possibility given it occurs in various colours, though it is not currently recorded as occurring in the Gnowangerup LGA.

Some spiders I cannot name are shown opposite. Either the calli are not broad, the colouring seems different, or the size of the flower and labellum don’t fit in with the Joseph’s species. Any help with an ID would be appreciated.

Then to add to the confusion with identification, some hybrids are found together with a lutea or hypochromic specimen.

Parents could be the Purple-veined spider orchid and either Joseph’s or Chameleon spider orchids as both are recorded hybrids.

The lutea or hypochromic specimen appears to be a Joseph’s spider orchid due to the broad calli on the labellum.

Also found were some larger white spider orchids. Now 2 sub-species of C. longicauda are recorded as being found nearby to this location. However, I believe the one I located to be the Stark white spider orchid (Caladenia longicauda subsp. eminens) due to the broad labellum with long fringe segments.

As with the smaller spider orchids, we also came across a couple that did not appear usual. They could just be variants, given the C. longicauda has 4 or more rows of calli. However, the colouring is not stark white either so if you can help with ID, again that would be appreciated.

Finally, time to move on towards Ongerup where we plan to grab a cuppa at the Malleefowl Centre. We came across some water covering the road, so I jumped out and walked through to test the depth. All good, so Deb pushes through and we arrive at the Yongergnow Malleefowl Centre.

Water covers Cleveland Road, so I jumped out and walked through to test the depth. All good, so Deb pushes through in the mighty Triton.

After another amazing cuppa and icecream we make tracks east towards Jerramungup. However along the Gnowangerup-Jerramungup Road we pull over at a patch of green on the map. It turns out to be Warperup East Nature Reserve. So we jump out the Triton and go exploring this new location.

WARPERUP EAST NATURE RESERVE

First up we find the Sugar orchid (Ericksonella saccharata), which has now been found at all 3 locations visited so far today.

Next up find some orchids of the Pterostylis genus. Most are way past their best, but I took photos just to record they are found at this location. Jug orchid (Pterostylis recurva), Banded greenhood (Pterostylis vittata) and Hairy-stemmed snail orchid (Pterostylis setulosa). These orchids all start flowering much earlier in the season.

Other green orchids are found but these belong to the Caladenia genus. First up we find the Small mantis orchid (Caladenia attingens subsp. gracillima), however later on larger flowers are found with longer fringe segments. These could be the Green spider orchid (Caladenia falcata) which occurs as far east as Jerramungup according to my references. The Small mantis orchid is stated as being located as far west as Jerramungup and as we are only 22kms west of Jerramungup both of these species could very well be located here.

Excitedly, we find a new species for the day. The Western tiny blue orchid (Cyanicula aperta) as the name suggests is only 50 – 150mm in height with flowers only 20 – 25mm across. For comparison the Stark white spider orchid is 300 – 600mm in height with flowers 80 -120mm across.

After blue comes the yellow. The reliable Cowslip orchid (Caladenia flava subsp. flava) is the next orchid to be spotted.

Another yellow orchid is also found. The Western wheatbelt donkey orchid (Diuris brachyscapa) is a common orchid found between York, Tenterden and Ravensthorpe. The lateral sepals are said to be crossed hanging, often reflexed, which my pictures confirm.

A special find for this location was the hybrid orchids found. Three in total were found and I believe they are all the named hybrid, Wheatbelt spider orchid (Caladenia x cala). This is a cross between a White spider orchid (C. longicauda) and a Green spider orchid (C. falcata). Hybrids of C. attingens X C. longicauda are also recorded though un-named.

We then move a little further east before pulling up at the location of Needilup. A quick exploration around then takes place with some familiar orchids being found.

NEEDILUP

Well, we only pull over on the side of the road and explore a few meters in. First orchid to catch our eyes was the donkey orchid. Then a lone 2 headed Jug orchid is found, plus lots of Green spider orchids. I feel these ones are definitely Green spiders and not Small mantises due to the size of the labellum.

No more stops before we reach our final destination for the day. Jerramungup is a welcome sight after a long day orchid hunting. We check into the Jerramungup Motor Hotel and enjoy a good pub feed and a comfortable bed. At least 17 different species found with a few hybrids thrown in. A very pleasing day !!!!

10/9/2021 ….. Stirling Range National Park to Chirelillup Nature Reserve

Camel Lake NR, Chirelillup NR, National Parks, Nature Reserves, Numerous days, Road Trip, Stirling Range NP, Western Australian Orchids

Well after enjoying our 2nd night at the Stirling Range Retreat, we pack up and head out on our exploration of the Stirling Range National Park. We plan on taking the Stirling Range Drive to Red Gum Pass Road, then north to Salt River Road. Then heading east to Formby Road South where we will head north to Gnowangerup. Obviously we plan on making numerous stops to explore for orchids and to enjoy the wonderful outdoors.

First up we head into Bluff Knoll Road to check out the orchids in one further location. Maybe we will find something different without the threat of rain hanging over our heads. Not surprisingly, the orchids found were the same as the ones found yesterday, but photos were taken again of course.

Nearly 10am, so we make tracks toward our next location. On Stirling Range Drive, we make a split second decision to pull over on the side of the road. We manage to find a few orchids on the side of the road.

We jump back in the Triton and move a few hundred metres down the road before stopping at a spot that had seen a bushfire some time in the last year. Let us see if this has triggered orchids to grow for us to find.

Now it nearly 11am so onwards we travel, with our next stop being Talyuberlup Picnic Area. First up we check the picnic area side of the road then we head up the Talyuberlup Peak trail a wee bit, before scrambling back to the triton. As we had hoped, orchids are found.

Time to consider lunch, so we move onwards to White Gum Flat picnic area. We have a bite to eat and then go exploring the nearby area. We don’t venture to far before we find orchids. This time round we actually cross the road and find further orchids including new ones for the day. Turns out the King spider orchid is a new species for us, so that was an exciting find.

Still more of this National Park to check out so onwards we go. At the intersection of Red Gum Pass Road we turn left and check out some locations along the roadside. We found a few orchids including some new ones for the day.

We now head north along Red Gum Pass Road and make a quick stop into the picnic area, where we find a few orchids but move further north to another road side location where orchids are located as well.

We eventually reach Salt River Road and turn right. However we soon pull over at Salt Lake Nature Reserve for an explore, but after a quick check not much is located so we move on to Camel Lake Nature Reserve, with a road side stop along the way. At this final stop we are lucky to find some new orchid species for the day as well as previously found ones. Photos of all those found at the locations along the way were taken to record their discovery near the northern boundary of the National Park.

Wowsers, they were amazing first time locations for orchids. 13 possible species and 1 hybrid found, however we must move on as it’s past 4.30pm and we still have nearly 50kms to our planned destination. We arrive at Chirelillup Nature Reserve, set up camp and whilst Deb lights the campfire I have a very quick scout around in the waning sunlight.

09/09/2021 ….. Stirling Range National Park and surrounds

Formby NR, Mabinup Creek NR, National Parks, Nature Reserves, Numerous days, Road Trip, Stirling Range NP, Western Australian Orchids

We awake to a cold , wet and miserable day, but we won’t let that stop us from going exploring for orchids. Finally the rain stops, so after a bite of lunch, we head up to the Bluff Knoll lookout however the actual mountain is nearly covered in clouds. The feature picture show some of the amazing metal artwork installed there. Some close-up images are included here for your appreciation.

Bluff Knoll hidden in cloud

So now is the time to commence our exploration of the area. We have a very quick scout around the lookout and parking area, where we see a few orchids. However on the drive into the lookout we saw some possible spots to check out along the roadside. So it is at these couple of stops, in between showers, that we locate the following orchids.

It’s now past 2.30pm so we only have a few hours of daylight left to explore, so we will keep close to our base. Therefore we make tracks north of the National Park, to visit the nearby Formby Nature Reserve, which weirdly is still signposted as the Mabinup Creek Nature Reserve. The northern boundary of the park is found to be very weedy and the creek is overflowing, which does not thrill us too much. So we head back down Formby Road South and venture in on the eastern boundary. Next time we need to pack wellington boots as the place is flooded, but we venture in nonetheless, after applying insect repellent, as the mozzies may become troublesome. This place proves to be covered in orchids in large numbers and many species, which is amazing to us. Refer the following images of the orchids found.

I just had to pop in some photos to show how many orchids were at this location as well as the ones we found swimming.

It is now after 4.30 so we head back toward our base at the Stirling Range Retreat, but as per usual we make one more stop. We pull off the road before the Mount Trio turn-off and head down this gravel track. This is a new location for us in the park and it proves to be quite fruitful. Our quick stop though runs into another hour. Luckily the rain holds off. Here is what we found.

With the light running out fast we do a u-turn, head back to Formsby Road South and make tracks for our little cabin. What an amazing afternoon of orchid hunting we have had today, especially given the cold and wet morning we awoke to. I think we found 23 species and at least 3 hybrids which is mind blowing but this National Park and it’s surrounding are like an oasis in the middle of cleared land for agriculture.

08/09/2021 ….. Dinninup to Stirling Range Retreat

Greater Kingston NP, Mickalurrup NR, National Parks, Nature Reserves, Numerous days, Road Trip, Six Mile Road NR, Unicup NR, Warrenup NR, Western Australian Orchids

After spending a wonderful night with our gracious hosts we pass through Dinninup and head down Six Mile Road and make our first stop at Six Mile Road Nature Reserve.

The ever reliable Jug orchid (Pterostylis recurva) is the first orchid found. These are a common orchid occurring over a wide range, from Geraldton to Israelite Bay. It is a unique species in the Pterostylis genus so has not been included in any of the 5 complexes. Other common names include the Bull orchid, Antelope orchid and Recurved shell orchid.

Very soon after the equally reliable Little Pink fairy (Caladenia reptans subsp. reptans) is found. They are commonly found growing in clumps and are distinguished from the Pink fairy by having a purplish/red colouring to the underside of their leaf, rather than green. Also quite a widespread orchid with populations found from Northampton To Esperance

Then another stunning orchid is found. The Silky blue orchid (Cyanicula sericea) which flowers between Jurien Bay and Esperance, is quite the stunner. The spotted labellum is very distinctive and the flowers can be up to 40mm in width, which are large enough to stand out in the bush.

Next found are numerous donkey orchids. These orchids are very difficult to identify due to all species being very similar in appearance plus many overlap in their distributions. Any help in identifying these orchids would be appreciated.

Leaving this Nature Reserve we move on, to who knows where as we are just winging our stops by using the Hema map book and Google maps. We locate a patch of bush, which is signposted as the Mickalurrup Nature Reserve but I cannot locate any reference to it online other than as a hotspot in eBird, so its location at the intersection of Westbourne Road is my only location detail for reference purposes.

A quick inspection does not turn up much. Some more donkey orchids (un-named), a Little pink fairy and some snail orchids (un-named). So onwards we go as it is now past 11am

Next stop is further south at the location Heartlea forest settlement, which is located in the Greater Kingston National Park. We head off with low expectations given the finds so far today, but are blown away by finding a brand new species for us. 🙂

The Little pink fan orchid (Caladenia nana subsp. nana) is a small orchid that flowers between Perth and Bremer Bay, in forest and woodland habitats. Being so small we struggled to get any decent pics but will share them anyways.

Other orchids found here were more Little pink fairies, donkey orchids (unnamed) and a Silky blue orchid.

Then just as we were leaving this spot a single spider orchid is spotted. From the options available for the range and colourings I believe it is a Joseph’s spider orchid (Caladenia polychroma) which flowers in September & October between Fitzgerald River National Park and Boyup Brook.

As our planned destination for the day is still some 200kms away and it now 12.30, we return to the road. As is usual for us we don’t make it far before stopping to have a quick look around, this time at a layby near Tonebridge.

We again find some donkey orchids which I will not attempt to ID, but more excitingly we come across some more spider orchids. Theses appear different to the one found earlier and are most likely the Tenterden yellow spider orchid (Caladenia straminichila) which is pale yellow to creamy yellow in colour with basally backswept petals.

Next stop is Unicup Lake which is located in the Unicup Nature Reserve. It appears a Water Ski club used to exist here, as there is an old tin shed still in existence. We have lunch here before exploring the nearby area for orchids.

First up the Little pink fairy is found followed up by Midge orchids (Cyrtostylis huegelii) and some more Snail orchids (unnamed). The round, green, ground hugging leaves of the Midge orchid are found in great numbers however as the midge orchid flowers are very well camouflaged, you need to stand still and look closely to see them.

A very exciting find is the Crab-lipped spider orchid (Caladenia plicata) which I believe is a new species for us. This little orchid flowers from September to early November in woodlands, forests and Mallee-heaths. Located between Nannup and Hopetoun, this orchid reaches up to only 350mm in height and is distinguished by it’s unusual shaped labellum and spreading fringe segments.

With further searching we find more orchids but nothing really new for the day. Snail orchids are found but naming them is just too difficult so if you have any idea of their identification, please comment on this post. Also some Corybas sp. leaves were found with some showing old withered flowers.

As we need to keep moving we head back to the Triton and hit the road again. We only get as far as Kulunilup Nature Reserve before pulling over to the side of the road. On a quick check nothing is found so we move on. Further along a bit we pull off the road at Kenny’s Tank which is located in the Warrenup Nature Reserve and take the 5 min walk towards the tank. However we are beaten back by the swarms of mozzies but do find loads of orchids, which is great.

First orchids discovered were donkeys orchids, however naming these is also difficult. Using Florabase and Atlas of Living Australia they may be one of 2 species. (D. corymbosa or D. porrifolia). Nearby the donkey orchids was the old faithful Jug orchid.

The large white spider orchids then start appearing in numbers as do the mozzies. As none are founds in clumps and based on the location I feel they are the White spider orchid (Caladenia longicauda subsp. longicauda). Listed in Florabase as being found in the Cranbrook local government area, plus with a photographic record in the Spider Orchid EBook 2018 from Frankland WA, I am confident in the ID.

Also found were Little pink fairies, Cowslip orchids (Caladenia flava subsp, flava) and Banded greenhoods (Pterostylis vittata), which are all quite common orchids. Also seen was a sole Lemon-scented sun orchid in bud and masses of spent Mosquito or Midge orchids.

From nowhere, a sole Joseph’s spider orchid is seen, so some pics were taken.

I go across the road to check out a particular sign and discover some White spider orchids in clumps as well as one that looks a little different. The clumping ones must be some Stark white spider orchids (Caladenia longicauda subsp. eminens) whilst the unusual one could be a Tangled white spider orchid (Caladenia longicauda subsp. redacta), which is smaller in size and has shorter fringe segments than other longicauda complex orchids.

So even though we were fighting off the mozzies, the orchids found made it worth it. However we must move on, so we jump back into the Triton but only get 5 mins down the road when masses of White spider orchids on the roadside force us to pull-over. We are near the Yeriminup Road intersection.

These must be more Stark white spider orchids due to their clumping habit. Also found was another donkey orchid and another Lemon-scented sun orchid (Thelymitra antennifera) which is trying to open up.

OK, it’s now past 4pm and we still have close to 100kms to get to our planned overnight stop. So foot to the petal and off we go. We arrive at the Stirling Range Retreat, check-in, then unpack ourselves into our small cabin. At least we will stay dry as the weather moves in.

Not too shabby a day with 14 species found, plus un-named Donkey and Snail orchids. Also the Crab-lipped spider orchid and Little pink fan orchids were brand new species for us, so that was exciting.

07/09/2021 ….. Wellington National Park to Condinup Crossing

Collie SF, Condinup Reserve, National Parks, Numerous days, Other Reserves, Preston (Greater) NP, Road Trip, State Forest, Wellington NP, Western Australian Orchids, Wilga SF

Waking up in the middle of the bush is such an amazing way to start the day. After an enjoyable relaxing breakfast we venture into the bush for an explore. Close to our camp we stumble across some snail orchids. Possibly Red sepaled snail orchid (Pterostylis erubescens ) even though it is not recorded at this location in either the Atlas of Living Australia or Florabase. The uniformly thickened lateral sepals, pointed hood and red colouring though all allude to this identification. In the reference books, its location is listed as between Mandurah and Albany, which one would think includes Wellington National Park.

Further afield we find the colourful Little pink fairy (Caladenia reptans subsp. reptans) which is a common orchid found from Northampton to Esperance. The easiest way to distinguish them from the similar Pink Fairy is the colour to the reverse of their leaf. Little pink fairies are red whilst pink fairies are green.

Then we are very happy with our next find. The Bird orchid (Pterostylis barbata) is the most widespread of this complex, with it’s range occurring from Bindoon to Albany. The dorsal sepal and petals form a hood, whilst the lateral sepals are long and narrow. The featherlike labellum, appears to erupt from a burst belly.

Next up some more common pterostylis sp. orchids are found. The ever reliable Jug orchid (Pterostylis recurva) and the Banded greenhood (Pterostylis vittata) are found, but only one specimen of each, which is unusual.

Then more snail orchids are found and upon closer inspection they have crinkled edged leaves on their rosette. They must be the Slender snail orchid (Pterostylis crispula) which is found in forests between Perth and Albany.

Another colour then catches our eye. We find a Silky blue orchid (Cyanicula sericea) partly open so grab a snap. However a bit later on we find some fully open. These beautiful orchids flower over most of the southwest, from Jurien Bay to Fitzgerald River National Park. They are also listed as being found east of Esperance, which is interesting. A population separated from the main location is referred to as a disjunct occurrence.

Well finally time to move on, so we leave our overnight campsite and venture back south towards Mungalup road. Rather than go back to the dam we turn at River Road and make a stop just past the Transmission Tower north of Pile Road. Here we locate some more Red-sepaled snail orchids, Jug orchids and Little pink fairies.

Turning onto Pile Road we travel east and flow into Mungalup road. Further along we then turn off into the Collie State Forest, onto a gravel track named Lyalls Log Road and head into the unknown. At a small creek crossing we stop to investigate. Here we find some snail orchids growing on the banks. Due to the uniformly thickened lateral sepals and the hairy stem, they must be more Red-sepaled snail orchids.

We then move away from the crossing to pull off the track in case anyone else comes along. We then continue our investigation of the nearby open bushland. Here we find more beautiful Silky blue orchids which stand out in the gravely ground.

Then a Bird orchid is found looking like it is giving praise to the heavens. Later on further blooming Bird orchids are found.

The usual suspects for today are found again. Banded greenhood, Little pink fairy and Jug orchid. Ok, I wonder if anything else will turn up. We widen our search with fingers crossed.

Our hopes are rewarded, with some Clubbed spider orchids (Caladenia longiclavata) found interspersed between the trees. This orchid flowers from September to early November and is distributed between Perth and Albany growing in forests and woodlands. It grow up to 400mm in height and has a single , erect hairy leaf which can be up to 180mm in length. Now the orchids could also be the Big clubbed spider orchid (c. magniclavata) as the clubbed sections of the lateral sepals seem to be half the length which is a distinguishing feature, whilst the previously mentioned Clubbed spider orchid has clubs around 1/3rd the length of the sepals. What do you think is the right ID?

Then we are amazed to find another type of spider orchid as well. The Leaping spider orchid (Caladenia macrostylis) flowers from August to early November over a range between Albany and Bindoon. The species name refers to the broad wings to the column. Another distinguishing feature is the dense central cluster of deep, purplish calli.