After a quick breakfast we break camp and head into Corrigin to top up the Triton. We then head straight out to the Scenic Lookout Drive followed by the Corrigin Wildflower Trail which surrounds the airfield.
Western wheatbelt donkey orchid
Joseph’s spider orchid
Chameleon spider orchid
Spider orchid – Hypochromic / lutea form
Hairy-stemmed snail orchid
Mallee banded greenhood
Little pink fairy
(Caladenia reptans subsp. reptans)
Ant orchid, Clown orchid, Man orchid, Jack-in-the-box
Green spider orchid
Unidentified spider orchids
After spending a few hours at this location, which included running into a fellow orchid enthusiast, we headed off to Dowerin where we have planned to meet up with Richard, our road trip buddy. We called into Watercarrin (Deb’s grandfather farmed here) and checked out Minnivale before finding Richard at the Dowerin Short Stay Village. We stayed in a chalet which was fortuitous as it rained all afternoon into the night.
Only got to check out near Corrigin today and it was so windy but we found a few orchids. I have posted a video below to show how windy it was today which made getting clear photos very difficult.
Leaving Esperance at just after 7am we are finally on our way. This year I will be listing the orchids found at each stop on our journey. I will group the photos of a particular orchid together rather than post them in chronological order. If needed a little narrative about the trip may be added to a location based on anything that occurred on the way to it, during the visit itself or is planned after. Please provide me any feedback on this structure as I am open to suggestions how I can improve the blog or spice it up a bit… Thanks!!
Springdale Nature Reserve
This Nature Reserve was burnt out last summer and has proven this season to be successful in providing excellent orchid finds. Today is no exception.
Turning into Mills road off the South Coast Hwy, west of Munglinup, we stop at one of our regular road verge stops. To our dismay the area had been graded so the usual orchid habitat was destroyed. Luckily some orchids seem to like disturbed ground, whilst other areas had missed the destruction.
Cream spider orchid
Green Range donkey orchid
Mallee banded greenhood
Overshot Hill Nature Reserve
Parking at the free overnight camping area we venture into the creekline to look for the orchids we had found here previously. Again we were not disappointed. Of particular interest were the dual flowered and green coloured Dwarf shell orchids.
Dwarf shell orchid
Pallarup Nature Reserve
Another of our favourite spots, which always seems to have some orchids in flower.
Hairy-stemmed snail orchid
Pink candy orchid
(Caladenia hirta subsp. rosea)
Jug orchid, Bull orchid, Antelope orchid, Recurved shell orchid
Western wheatbelt donkey orchid
Mallee banded greenhood
This is only our 2nd visit to this location and I’m glad we made the effort. So many spider orchids with some others thrown in for good measure.
Hairy-stemmed snail orchids
Western wispy spider orchid, Small-lipped spider orchid
Chameleon spider orchid
Joseph’s spider orchid
Gorge Rock Picnic Area
Leaving Varley just after 3.15pm we make tracks for Gorge Rock, 14 kms east of Corrigin, for our overnight stay. Soup and toast for dinner then a well earned rest.
17 different orchid species found today, not too shabby.
After spending a wonderful weekend with good friends, Warren and Tammy in Hopetoun, we venture north to Ravensthorpe as they are having their annual Wildflower Show, which we have not been to in the 20 years we have lived in Esperance.
The display of wildflowers in the shire hall was amazing so we took a few pics of the orchids they had on display. We then sat down for a cuppa, with scones, jam and cream before making our way to the local lolly shop, Yummylicious Candy Shack for an icecream. No ginger this time though 😦 so I chose macadamia then also purchased a small bag of mixed lollies. It is here we say goodbye to our friends as they head home to Esperance, as we have orchids to find.
So where do we go first, given we are already 185km east of home. You guessed it, another 15kms east to Kukenarup Memorial. As the picnic shelter is already occupied we head straight for the walk trail and immediately find some Lemon-scented sun orchids (Thelymitra antennifera)in bloom. These are by far the most widespread of the yellow sun orchids, as they occur on a line from Shark Bay to Israelite Bay and everywhere south of that line. The dark column lobes are a distinctive feature which also alludes to the Latin name: antennae, to bear .
Very close by another bright orchid of a different colour catches our eye. The Purple enamel orchid (Elythranthera brunonis) glistens in the bright sunshine.
Deb discovers a blue orchid and initially thought it would be a Blue beard however on closer inspection it was an orchid not found at this location before, which is exciting. It is a Blue china orchid (Cyanicula gemmata) which is quite widespread, ranging from Israelite Bay to Kalbarri.
I had just finished saying to Deb how it would be nice to find the Dragon orchids that were at the Wildflower Show, when what do we spy but a Common dragon orchid (Caladenia barbarossa) swaying in the breeze.
Right next door to the lone Dragon orchid we also find a lone Small mantis orchid (Caladenia attingens susp. gracillima) which is smaller than the related Fringed mantis orchid, which can also be found around Ravensthorpe. The labellum calli extend onto the red tip of the labellum, which is another distinguishing feature when comparing the two.
Making our way back to the walk track, as we have detoured a bit towards the Hwy, we come across another type of orchid. This little one appears to be the Short-sepaled spider orchid (Caladenia brevisura) due to the shortly clubbed later sepals and south-easterly location. The only other possibility is the Purple-veined spider orchid, which is pictured earlier at the wildflower Show, and the length of the sepals is definitely a distinctive feature of both types.
Towards the end of the walk trail we discover many more Lemon-scented sun orchids growing under the protection of bushes and also out on the granite growing in the Resurrection bushes.
Right at the end of the trail some Frog greenhoods (Pterostlyis sargentii) are found growing in the Resurrection bushes as well. These are a common inland greenhood growing between Northampton and Grasspatch.
We decide to go down south of the picnic shelter to see if we can locate the Red beaks we had found on previous years. Nothing at all found other than a small spent spider orchid on the edge of a track. We decide to walk along this track which heads west, toward the Phillips River. We are expanding this location as we have never ventured along this track before.
Interestingly, the first orchid found is the common Cowslip orchid (Caladenia flava sp. flava) which is unusual in that no others have been found today. One flower, 3 images.
Further along the track are some more Dragon and Purple enamel orchids.
Then on the south side of the track we stumble across some scattered Red beaks (Pyrorchis nigricans) growing in the white sand. An unusual find, given the area does not appear to have been burnt recently.
Then hiding under a bush is the smallest Blue china orchid I had ever seen. Actually looking at the labellum it appears to be a Granite china orchid (Cyanicula nikulinskyae) as it is also much paler than the typical Blue china orchid which was found earlier today.
After walking this track for about 30mins it seemed to go on forever, so we turned north to make our way back to the picnic area. Pushing up a rise we find many more Small mantis orchids as well as many Jug orchids (Petrostylis recurva), however most were finished for the season, though we took a photo just as a record.
We have now returned close to the Hwy so head west towards the picnic area. Not much found until Deb excitedly comes across a beautiful leek orchid. I believe it to be the Frilled leek orchid (Prasophyllum sargentii) which grows in sandy soils from Kalbarri to Israelite Bay during August to October.
We make it back to the picnic shelter and right there in the shade of the taller shrubs is a patch of Common dragon orchids. Photos taken but no decent ones so will not post any, however the short video seems decent enough to post.
Needing food we head off east past Ravensthorpe and onto Munglinup Roadhouse to get another burger, as they were awesome last time. Much busier today so the wait will be longer, so Deb suggests I go exploring nearby for any orchids.
Great idea my wonderful wife had. I ventured over the road to the east and immediately spied yellow flowers that looked promising. The bright and beautiful Cowslips are flowering as are the Lemon-scented sun orchids. Also a red coloured Small mantis orchid and the usual greener ones are found together with some Purple enamel orchids.
To top off this location I found three different species of white spider orchids. First up is the Common spider orchid (Caladenia varians), followed by an Esperance white spider orchid (Caladenia longicauda susp. crassa) then finally a small orchid I cannot Identify. Any help with this is appreciated.
Back to the roadhouse I go and we enjoy eating the awesome burgers before we head off to our next location. We plan to visit the spot on Boydell Road where we had seen possible hammer orchid leaves on a previous visit. I am driving and we go past the spot and travel some 20 kms before realising. We turn around and locate our marker and pull into a farmers gate leeway as we are only in the Ford, so no 4WD capability to park off the road.
Whilst we start our search on the north of the road the farmer comes to check on what we are up to. They check our car, drive up and down the road a bit then obviously decide we are not a threat and leave us be. Unfortunately the leaves we planned to check out had not produced any flowers and were dying off, however we did locate some other orchids. First up was a beautiful pair of Heberle’s spider orchid (Caladenia heberleana) which occur from Augusta to Cape Arid during September and October. The long clubbed sections of the sepals and having clubbed petals are distinguishing features. Other specimens are also found upon further searching.
Other orchids were found as well. Red beaks were found, which confirms rare individuals will flower without a need for a recent bushfire. Purple enamel orchids and Dancing spider orchids (Caladenia discoidea) round off the day. A funky name however, it is derived from the Latin discoideus alluding to the rounded shape of the labellum.
It is now just after 5pm so we had better make tracks for home. As we are closer to the Cascade Road intersection than we first thought we decide to take it back down to the hwy as it is a sealed road.
A great day orchid hunting, to finish off a great weekend. Ravensthorpe Wildflower Show provided us with the nudge to explore the area and we were rewarded with at least 16 different orchid species.
I have taken an Rostered Day Off (RDO) today so I can spend some more time with my sister Lorraine and her hubby Ken. Yesterday we went north of the South Coast Hwy and detoured back east of Esperance. Today we are going west and staying within 50kms of the coast.
Our first point of call is along the edge of our famous Pink Lake. Here we discover some Mosquito orchids (Cyrtostylis robusta) growing in the dense undergrowth. These unusual orchids flower during the winter months over an area stretching from Perth to Israelite Bay.
Nothing more found other than Pterostylis rosettes, with some in bud, so we move onwards. Next stop is the Stokes National Park camping grounds. Actually we find orchids before the campground, just growing along the roadside. First up are some wispy type spider orchids. Due to the colouring of the flowers and the larger leaf width, I believe these orchids to be the Common spider orchid (Caladenia varians). As the name suggests it is a common orchid with a large distribution, Kalbarri to Cape Arid National Park. It also has a long season, flowering from July to mid-October.
Intermixed with the spider orchids were patches of yellow. Bright yellow South coast donkey orchids (Diuris sp. ‘south coast’)are found from Denmark to Munglinup during the winter months. They were first recognised as distinct in 1999 when collected near Munglinup, which is approximately 20kms to the west of our current location.
We finally make it to the campground and it was a let down with only a Dark Banded greenhood (Pterostylis sanguinea) in flower and a Banded greenhood (Pterostylis vittata) finished for it’s season. We did however stop and have morning tea overlooking the Stokes Inlet.
We move on further west along the South Coast Hwy, before turning south down Springdale Road. We pullover to the side of the road at Springdale Nature Reserve for a quick check. Straight away we find the Reaching spider orchid (Caladenia arrecta) which blooms from late-July till mid-October between Bindoon and Esperance. Prominently clubbed petals and sepals ,plus the dark red labellum with dark red calli are distinctive features.
Also found were the South coast donkey orchids, with many more to come. However we must push on as it is now past lunch time and we still have Munglinup Beach campground to check out.
Well first up we drive down to the Oldfield River and park up on the granite rock bank, so we can have a quick scout around. Other than one South coast donkey orchid and many leaves in bud, nothing much was found so we quickly move on.
We now venture down to the Munglinup Beach campground (Mud Map SE 33) and I go looking for the elusive helmet orchid, whilst Deb takes Lorraine and Ken down to the beach. I come across loads of leaves and then find some sprouting flowers, however they are not fully open. By this time Deb has made her way into the Agonisflexuosa grove and we both simultaneously find fully open ones in different patches. They are confirmed as being the Crystal helmet orchid (Corybas limpidus) which flowers from July to early-September in coastal locations between Walpole and Esperance. We had to lie flat on the ground to get the photos as they are only 20mm in height.
Very happy to have found these beautiful small orchids flowering as they are listed for the Mud Map reference. Also found underneath the Agonisflexuosa trees are snail orchids. They appear to be the Coastal snail orchid (Pterostylis sp. ‘coastal snail’) which is found between Bremer Bay and Israelite Bay during the months of July and August. Distinctive features are bloated appearance and small thickened lateral sepals.
Leaving Munglinup Beach we now drive west towards Hopetoun our planned lunch stop. On the way we check out both Starvation Bay and Masons Bay campgrounds. Choosing the bakery for lunch we walk down to the foreshore and finally fill our bellies.
We now head north to Ravensthorpe where we grabbed a ginger ice-cream from Yummylicious Candy Shack. Sooooo good!! After showing Lorraine and Ken the Grain Silo’s, we head west out to Kukenarup Memorial, one of our regular orchid haunts.
Just past the Eagle Wings to the left is a wonderful little Dancing spider orchid (Caladenia discoidea)which is found between Israelite Bay and Kalbarri flowering during August, September and October.
Next up we find the Blue beard (Pheladenia deformis) which flowers over along season, May till October. They can occupy many different habitats, (woodlands, shrublands, granite outcrops and forests) over a range from Israelite Bay to the Murchison River. Many specimens are found at this location today.