15hr Sunday Drive

12/08/2018

Saying our goodbyes to Kirstie and Hamish we set off for a leisurely trip home to Esperance. Usually a 7 to 8 hr drive over 725km, we however take 15hrs, as we make numerous stops to hunt for orchids.  Our first destination is Mount Dale in the Helena National Park. The wind is very chilly, however we brave this on our search for some orchid colour. We are not disappointed. First colour spotted is “yellow”. A Donkey orchid is found, but which one?? I’m making the call for the Winter donkey orchid (Diuris brumalis) which flower late June to August in a range from Jurien Bay to Collie. They prefer lateritic or granitic soils and up here in the hills that is the soil types encountered. Other specimens were found throughout our search of this area. 

Close to our first donkey the next colour found is “pink”. Little pink fairy orchid  (Caladenia reptans subsp. reptans) is found growing in the shelter of a granite boulder. These little beauties flower July to early October in a range from Northampton to Esperance. Singles, pairs and groupings are found in our extended search.  

Little pink fairy orchid
Often clumping habit

Deb then finds the colour “green”. A small patch of snail orchids hidden in a bush so only one visible for a  photo. Could not see the rosette however based on location, pointed hood with brownish tones and medium sized lateral sepals, I  will be naming it as Slender snail orchid (Pterostylis sp. ‘crinkled leaf”). These flower late June to September in a large range from Perth down to Albany. Another patch yet to fully flower was found and the rosettes appear to confirm my classification. 

Another species of “mixed” colour is found by Deb. Once again hidden or protected near a granite boulder. It appears to be an Autumn leek orchid (Prasophyllum parvifolium) which has been fertilised.

Next is a similarly “mixed” coloured orchid, which I found after pushing into the scrub for a few metres. Firstly I found a large patch of leaves and then with a slower look some orchids flowering were discovered. The genus of Cyrtostylis is known, but which species is it? By the smaller , duller flowers they must be the Midge orchid (Cyrtostylis huegelli) which is found from Kalbarri to east of Esperance during July and September. 

Well Mount Dale proved a good hunting ground with 5 species flowering, plus Jug and Bird orchids yet to flower found. Already 2.5 hrs (65kms) into our drive home, so we better move on, or we will break our 12 hr record for the drive home. Next stop planned is Williams Road (Mud Map SE6) however we detour into Westdale Road (Mud Map SE5) to see if we can find some of the species listed in the guide. First off we find the Jug orchid (Pterostylis recurva) which flowers August to October in a range from Geraldton and Israelite Bay.

Deb is off exploring further whilst I slowly finish taking phone and camera pics of the Jug orchid. Only 2 mtrs away I find the Blood spider orchid (Caladenia filifera) and call Deb back to see. On the way back she also finds other specimens less than a metre off her original walk track. They are so hard to see until you find them , then they stick out more easily as we continue searching.

Disbursed around the area are Common donkey orchids (Diuris corymbosa) which flower August to October in a range from Gingin to Bunbury and inland to near Brookton, our actual location funnily enough.

Another new find for the season is the Blue beard (Phelandenia deformis) which flower late May to October in a range from Murchison River to Israelite Bay. Only 3 small flowers found but still it is a new one for this season. 

It is now 4 hrs since we left and we have only covered 90kms of the distance home. Better get a move on. 20kms later we arrive at Williams Road (Mud Map SE6) where we had planned to explore for at least an hour as Deb had quickly checked this out on Tuesday when she drove to Perth, when she found at least 4 species flowering. First up we locate some more Common donkey orchids before Deb calls me over to a patch of at least 3 species in close proximity.

First up are Banded greenhoods (Pterostylis vittata) and Hairy-stemmed snail orchids (Pterostylis sp. ‘inland’).

 Then as previously found in this location, there are Shell orchids everywhere. Many are finished as they flower from May to August. Mud Map records both Red and Brown veined shell orchids here in July so we have missed the peak flowering period it seems. From the flowering plants I believe them to be Red-veined shell orchids (Pterostylis hamiltonii) as they are darker coloured and most have the labellum protruding from the hood formed by the dorsal sepal and petals. These flower in a range from Toodyay to the Stirling Range in woodlands and Rock Sheoak thickets. 

Also located close-by are some Little pink fairy orchids. So 4 species all within a 3 square metres area. Great find Deb. 

Other species found during our search were Dark banded greenhood (Pterostylis sanguinea) and Jug orchid. Also found was a meeting of Banded greenhood and Shells plus a Banded greenhood with a huge inflorescence. 

It’s now after 1.15pm and we have only travelled 110km of the 725km trip. Back to the Triton and a huge patch of spent shells is found plus the very first Cowslip orchid (Caladenia flava subsp. flava) for the season. These flower from north of Geraldton to Israelite Bay during July to December. 

Onwards to Brookton where we grabbed a Parmi Wrap for lunch. (Parma for Farmer – raising funds for drought relief in NSW/QLD). Eating whilst driving to catch up some time our next planned stop is the Corrigin Wildflower Trail which goes around the airport  and is part of the Corrigin Nature Reserve. Taking the road in from the Dog Cemetery our first find are some more Little pink fairies  

Little pink fairy

Nothing else found so onwards we go at a slow pace, then I jump out to walk and find some Frog greenhoods (Pterostylis sargentii) which flower between July and October in a range from Northampton to Grasspatch.  They are very small and growing underneath bushes, making photo taking a lay down on the job task. Further Frog greenhoods are found along the trail.

Further along the track whilst walking I spy some nice snail orchids. They are the Robust snail orchid (Pterostylis dilatata). Another grouping was found further along by Deb whilst driving slowly along. 

A sole Jug orchid was also found just yawning like a Pelican  and further along what appears to be Pterostylis arbuscular which is a Mallee form of banded greenhood. No common name yet.

Finally a donkey orchid was found. Based on location alone this must be the Western wheatbelt donkey orchid (Diuris brachyscapa) which flowers July to September between York, Tenterden and Ravensthorpe. Corrigin is slightly east of the line York to Ravensthorpe. 

Nearly 4pm, or 8hrs into our trip home and we have only completed 220km of the 725km required. Best move on to our next planned stop, Macrocarpa Trail near Kulin. Just before 5pm Deb finds our first orchid of this trail. Appears to be Hairy-stemmed snail orchids. 

Also found further Frog greenhoods, Robust snail orchids, Dark banded greenhoods and another possible Pterostlyis arbuscular.

Then as the light is fading fast we venture into the bush and finally there they are.. Spider orchids in flower. We now rush to get as many photos as possible .. They are so small and with the fading light our photos are not the best but we need to record the find. From the location and size I believe we found the Common spider orchid (Caladenia vulgata) and the Pendant spider orchid (Caladenia pendens subsp. pendens) which both flower during August. The former July to October and the latter August to early October. The Common spider orchid ranges from Kalbarri to Esperance whilst the Pendant spider orchid ranges from Wongan Hills and Walpole. The Length of the petals and lateral sepals are a distinguishing feature. 

The sun finally sets on our orchid hunting so we make tracks via Lake Grace for Steak Burger / Fish n chips dinner. Then after 15hrs we arrive home at 11pm. Long day however very happy at finding 20 species of orchid.

Pterostylis – Greenhoods, shell orchids, bird orchids, snail orchids & jug orchid.

Pterostylis aspera complex (Shell orchids)

Flowering – May to August

There are 7 Western Australian species

  • Rosette leaves are present on non-flowering plants only.
  • Flowering plants have stem leaves.
  • Plants are found in colonies.
  • Mostly winter flowering

Green-veined shell orchid (Pterostylis scabra)

Curled-tongue shell orchid (Pterostylis rogersii) 02/07/2017

Dwarf shell orchid (Pterostylis brevichila) 01/07/2017

Red-veined shell orchid (Pterostylis hamiltonii) 12/08/2018


Pterostylis nana complex (Snail orchids)

Flowering – May to November

There are 34 recognised Western Australian species

  • Flowering and non-flowering plants have a rosette of leaves (Exception – Robust snail orchid).
  • Labellum is not visible (Exception – Shy greenhood).
  • Narrow, thickened or clubbed lateral sepals.
  • Flowers are generally much smaller than the similar Shell orchids.

Shy greenhood (Pterostylis allantoidea)

Robust snail orchid (Pterostylis dilatata) 12/08/2018

Slender snail orchid (Pterostylis sp. ‘crinkled leaf’) 29/07/2015

Hairy-stemmed snail orchid (Pterostylis sp. ‘inland’) 04/07/2015

Eastern granite snail orchid (Pterostylis sp. ‘miniature’) 09/07/2017

Skinny snail orchid (Pterostylis sp. ‘skinny’) 29/07/2015

Fawn snail orchid (Pterostylis parva)

Lort river snail orchid (Pterostylis sp. ‘south-coast clubbed sepals’) 02/07/2017


Pterostylis rufa complex (Rufous greenhoods)

Flowering – August to December

There are 23 Western Australian species

  • Rosette may be withered at time of flowering.
  • Narrow ended lateral sepals, joined at the base.
  • Mostly spring flowering.
  • Multi-flowered inflorescence.

Midget greenhood (Pterostylis mutica) 20/9/2017

Striped rufous greenhood (Pterostylis sp. ‘striped’)


Pterostylis vittata complex (Banded greenhoods)

Flowering – April to October

There are 9 Western Australian species

  • Flowering plants lack rosette of leaves.
  • Short, broad lateral sepals, joined at the base.
  • Green or brown, white banded flowers.
  • Multi-flowered inflorescence.

Dark banded greenhood (Pterostylis sanguinea) 25/07/2015

Frog greenhood (Pterostylis sargentii) 20/09/2017

Banded greenhood (Pterostylis vittata) 09/06/2018

(Pterostylis arbuscula) 12/08/2018 – Mallee form of banded greenhood


Pterostylis barbata complex (Bird orchids)

Flowering – July to November

There are 14 Western Australian species

  • No flattened rosette of leaves.
  • Feather-like, irritable labellum.
  • Long narrow lateral sepals, joined at the base.
  • Numerous stem leaves.

Bird orchid (Pterostylis barbata)

Dwarf bird orchid (Pterostylis sp. ‘dwarf’) 20/09/2017


Pterostylis recurva

Flowering – August to October

This orchid does not fit into the other Pterostylis complexes

  • Narrow ended, prominently recurved lateral sepals.
  • Flowering plants lack a rosette of leaves.
  • Numerous stem leaves, with a small dark-coloured, almost circular leaf near the base

Jug orchid (Pterostylis recurva) 19/9/2017

 

 

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 19 – Tutanning Nature Reserve to Harrismith

19/9/2017

After breakfast we go for a more leisurely search around our campsite for any orchids we may have missed in our late search yesterday. Ant orchid (Caladenia roei), Sugar orchid (Ericksonella saccharata), Cowslip orchid (Caladenia flava subsp. flava) were again located as was one Fringed mantis orchid (Caladenia falcata) with a dangling labellum. Also found was a yet to open Thelymitra species.

We then hurried back to camp, packed up a headed back along the track we drove down late yesterday afternoon. First up were some Donkey orchids, which due to the location they must be Western wheatbelt donkey orchids (Diuris brachyscapa).

Further along we find more Cowslip orchids plus better specimens of the Fringed mantis orchid.

And finally after a very long spell we finally find another Pterostylis specimen, the Jug orchid (Pterostylis recurva).

Our final stop along the bush track was at a small granite outcrop, where we found some Lemon-scented sun orchids (Thelymitra antennifera)  and some yet to flower Elbow orchids (Spiculaea ciliata)

We leave Tutanning N. R. and head on down to Wickepin, where we have a yummy lunch, before heading over to visit Toolibin Lake N. R.. On the track in we spy many Fringe mantis orchids, some with two flowers per stem.

We decided to take a walk alongside the track to see what other orchids may be around. We came across Cowslip orchids, Dancing spider orchid (Caladenia discoidea) and Pink fairies (Caladenia latifolia).

We then drove to the parking area and attempted the lake walk, however it was closed due to flooding from recent heavy rain, which had washed away some of the infrastructure. I decided to walk back along the track and Deb drove the Triton, which proved fortuitous as I found some Ant orchids and Deb found some spider orchids.

Drooping spider orchid (Caladenia radialis) is the obvious specie as it has a smooth margined labellum with distinctive striping.

Final find before hitting the Wickepin-Harrismith Rd is a great Pink fairy twin.

As soon as we got on the Wickepin-Harrismith Road we took a track near Dulbining Lake,  that seemed to run adjacent to the road and drove along in 1st gear with our heads hanging out the window looking. Some spider orchids are seen on the left hand side of the track, so we alight from the Triton to check them out. They appear to be Common spider orchid (Caladenia vulgata).

Moving slowly along this track we find many other orchids, starting with Cowslip orchids, Fringed mantis orchid and Pink candy orchids (Caladenia hirta subsp. rosea).

 

Then we find what we initially thought were more Ant orchids. However on closer inspection we have found Purple-veined spider orchid (Caladenia doutchiae) which flowers August to October between Mullewa and Ravensthorpe. In the middle of all these is a lone Ant orchid.

Final orchids found before getting back on the sealed road were what appeared at first to be Common spider orchids. However the flowers had much broader labellum’s and if they were fully unfurled, long petals and sepals. I am going to name these Pendant spider orchid (Caladenia pendens subsp. pendens) which flower August to early October in a range from Wongan Hills to Walpole.

Travelling west we arrive at Harrismith and as the weather was looking like rain we decide to book a room rather than risk getting our canvas camper wet. Rather than a room we take the donger which has its own shower and toilet. Was really cheap and rough but was sufficient for 1 night. After unpacking into the bedroom we decide to take a drive around the self drive wildflower tour. Our first orchids were more Fringed  mantis orchids. (Mud Map SE 10)

Also found were Western wheatbelt donkey orchids, Sugar orchid and Jug orchids.

Back just before sunset, so we have a shower and get changed into fresh clothes, then make our way over to the Oasis Hotel for a meal, game of pool and a few drinks to celebrate finding 15 different orchids.

Road Trip – Day 2 – Wagin to Kwolyin

02/9/2017

After a quick breakfast and a long hot shower we make up the thermos and head off to fuel up, then make tracks for the North Wagin Nature Reserve, our first planned stop of the day. Just off the road, on the track chosen to push into the reserve, I spy a group of Jug orchids (Pterostylis recurva) which we will check out on the way back. We park the Triton and camper near a dam and head out on foot to check out this new location. First find is the Banded greenhood (Pterostylis vittata), quickly followed by Western wheatbelt donkey orchid (Diuris sp. ‘western wheatbelt’).

Many donkey orchids were found and mixed in with these we found some Little pink fairy orchids (Caladenia reptans subsp. reptans) distinguished by their leaf having a red coloured underside. Another common orchid found here was the Fringed mantis orchid (Caladenia falcata) which competed with the donkey orchid to be the most common orchid in this location. As planned we took pictures of the Jug orchids as we made tracks for our next location.

Piesseville was our next location and we finally found flowering orchids, after other visits turned up leaves and buds only. As with the Wagin location the Fringed mantis orchid was very common, as were the Sugar orchids (Ericksonella saccharata), however the later were restricted to a few metres in from the road. Cowslip orchid (Caladenia flava subsp. flava) was also plentiful, but further into the bush.

The first spider orchid found is a Chameleon spider orchid (Caladenia dimidia) and nearby a reddish version of the same flower.A very different spider orchid is then found. The Dancing spider orchid (Caladenia discoidea). Unlike previous specimens found this season near Esperance,this one finally looks like the ones in the books.

In the northerly section of the location we find some Western wheatbelt donkey orchids and in the swampy section I find some Blue beards (Pheladenia deformis) of varying shades. I track down Deb who has crossed to the other side of the road and took her back to where the Blue beards were located.

On the way back to the Blue beards more spider orchids were found. Chameleon spider orchid, Crimson spider orchid (Caladenia footeana)  which flowers July to early October between Cranbrook and Binnu and Chapmans spider orchid (Caladenia chapmanii) which flowers September to mid-October between Boyup Brook, Kojonup and Northam, all within a few metres of each other.

Then an OMG moment, when Deb spies an all red spider orchid. Appears to be Blood spider orchid (Caladenia filifera) NEW FIND!!!! These are found between Tenterden and Wongan Hills and flower August to early October. Not 100% certain as it was not clumping, but single flowers. Edit: After locating Blood spider orchids at Forsyth Woodland this one appears to be a red variant of another species.

Other orchids found at this location were Jug orchids and Banded greenhoods.

We moved on and called into Narrogin to buy some supplies and an extra gas cartridge for the shower unit. We then drove north-east and stopped off at North Yilliminning Nature Reserve for lunch and checked out this new location. Not far into our search and we were bombarded with yellow from so many Cowslip orchids. Various shapes, patterns and sizes with some having very long lateral sepals.

Next orchid found was the small Sugar orchid followed closely with some Donkey orchids. Most likely, Western wheatbelt donkey orchids. Also found were some Banded greenhoods

A very unusual colour catches Deb’s eye as she has found a Hybrid orchid. A Spectacular spider orchid (Caladenia x spectabilis) which is a hybrid formed by a Cowslip and Pink fairy cross pollinating. Further colour variations were found. However to muddy the waters, the Little pink fairy orchid is found which may be a parent of the hybrids, in which case the orchid is unnamed and referred to as (Caladenia flava x C. reptans). For now I will leave the judgement open.

Edit: 29/10/2017 – From further investigations it appears all Hybrids found were Spectacular spider orchids due to the longer lateral sepals. Blooms August to October and found from Kalbarri to Esperance

Final orchids found were a sole Hairy stemmed snail orchid (Pterostylis sp. ‘inland’) and some further Jug orchids.

Quick toilet stop in Wickepin, which was a very neat little town with a museum for Albert Facey, who is famous for his autobiography “A Fortunate Life”. We make one final stop, before catching up with Richard, at Malyalling Nature Reserve. Along the road that dissects the N.R. I spot some Ant orchids (Caladenia roei) which flower August to October between Eurardy Station and Ravensthorpe, and when taking photos also noticed Fringed mantis orchids nearby.

Some Donkey orchids were also found and at the Eastern boundary of the N.R. we found a patch of  Fringed mantis orchids. Too many to count.

We made our way back to the low granite outcrop and Deb immediately finds some purple variants of the Little laughing leek orchid (Prasophyllum gracile) which is quite rare according to my orchid book, so a great find Deb!! Also found on this rock were Lemon-scented sun orchids (Thelymitra antennifera) which flower from July to October between Shark Bay and Israelite Bay and very small donkey orchids.

After finding 18 orchid varieties it is now time to head off for Kwolyin campground, where Richard is waiting for us. … Trio travelling begins.

Kwolyin campground
Triton and camper . Richard with Red Triton and tent.

Road Trip 2017 – Delay

31/8/2017

We had planned to leave tonight and camp up at Mt Madden, however as I drove the Triton home from work the ENGINE light remained on, then as the sun set we noticed the headlights were not working. Called Dave our mechanic, who came around and after 2hrs he had replaced our globes, ballasts and exchange. So now we have lights and the ENGINE light is no longer on. We slowly pack the Triton and camper trailer and then go to bed with plans to leave early in the morning.

1/9/2017

Woke up around 5am, showered, last minute packing and then off to Puma to fill up the Triton. Around 6am we are finally on our way. First stop is the Ravensthorpe lookout which was the very first place ever that we found Jug orchids. Guess what is the first orchid found is ? …. Jug orchid (Pterostylis recurva), what a great coincidence. As towing our camper at slow speed up a gravel hill is proving a challenge, we drive to the top and slowly make our way down. 2nd orchid found is Western tiny blue orchid (Cyanicula aperta). A few scattered plants only, then a great group is found by Deb at the side of the road.

Nothing further found, other than more Jugs and Tiny Blues, so we make our way back to the track on level ground and closer to the Hwy we find some more Pterostylis orchids. We have now added another location for the Midget greenhood (Pterostylis mutica). Also found were some good old Banded greenhoods (Pterostylis vittata). Next stop is Ravensthorpe for a toilet break.

Lake King Nature Reserve on the Old Newdegate Rd is checked out with only Western tiny blue orchids found. Further along the road at the Dunn Rock Nature Reserve we find a spent Frog greenhood (Pterostylis sargentii) and a yet to flower Red beak (Pyrorchis nigricans).

North of Newdegate we pull into a gravel pit for lunch, which is in the Rockview Nature Reserve. Here we find another Jug orchid. Our planned destination of Dragon Rocks Nature Reserve is reached just after 1pm and our first find is the little Sugar orchid (Ericksonella saccharata). Further down the track our first glimpse of yellow delivers us our first Cowslip orchid (Caladenia flava subsp. flava). Eye catching as usual.

 

We venture deeper into the bush and another colour appears. Pink. The first of many Pink candy orchids (Caladenia hirta subsp. rosea) is found and nearby is the first spider orchid of the day. These pretty orchids are found from Kalbarrie to Israelite Bay and flower late June to September. Common spider orchid (Caladenia vulgata) would appear to be the species found. Another yellow orchid is found. Western wheatbelt donkey orchid (Diuris sp. ‘western wheatbelt’) seems to be the one due to location.

 

 

Another spider orchid is found with much darker red tips to petals and sepals plus a larger labellum as well. Location and these colourings lead me to name it Ballerina spider orchid (Caladenia melanema). Found in the Pingaring – Lake Grace area (30kms away),  flowering August to mid September. We make it to Dragon Rocks themselves and growing on the granite are some Little laughing leek orchids (Prasophyllum gracile). Other spider, donkey, candy and sugar orchids are found, but as it is nearly 3pm we make tracks back to Newdegate to travel westwards.

Quick stop made at South Buniche Nature Reserve where we find some Dark banded greenhoods (Pterostylis sanguinea) and more Jug and Sugar orchids. Then onto Lake Grace lookout, a favourite location of ours, that has yet again produced results. First up is the Chameleon spider orchid (Caladenia  dimidia). Also found nearby was another Common spider orchid.

Then a Sugar orchid is found under the scrub. Another spider orchid is found, this time a Western wispy spider orchid (Caladenia microchila) and a donkey orchid – possible a further Western wheatbelt donkey orchid. Jug orchids also found however as it is now getting dark and we plan to stay overnight in Wagin, we make tracks.

Overnight in Wagin at the local motel, very pricey for such a basic room, but as we ran out of daylight and with possible rain overnight, it seemed the easier option. Pizza enjoyed for dinner and time for sleep after a long first day. 16 orchids ticked off the list.

 

Gibson to Myrup

19/8/2017  On a tip from our friend Deb Witt we are heading north of Gibson to check out what lies within 50km of home.  However first we have our standard fully cooked breakfast at the Esperance Bird & Animal Park and then our obligatory check of Helms Arboretum.  Just past the large green log sign at the entrance we find some Esperance King spider orchids (Caladenia decora) of various colours.

We also checked out our Curly Locks but it still has a way to go before flowering. Fingers crossed it is still there when we return from our September holidays.

Turning east from the Coolgardie-Esperance Hwy we park opposite a patch of scrub with a small lake. Just off the road where we parked Deb spots the first orchid of the day. Donkey orchids are found everywhere on the North roadside verge. Unable to verify exact species as the location does not match any in the books. Possible two different types found as one is duller yellow with hanging sepals and the other is brighter yellow with re-curved and crossed sepals.

We cross the road to the lake side and start looking around when Deb calls me over as she has found a Hare orchid (Leporella fimbriata). This distraction nearly had me  walking into a huge Golden orb spider (Nephila edulis). The poor old Hare orchid was well and truly finished for the season.

More searching and we turn up more Donkey orchids and the first Red beaks (Pyrorchis nigricans) sprouting from the many leaves spotted. In fact there were so many Red beak and Hare orchid leaves around you sometimes could not help stepping on them.

The first Pterostylis orchids of the day were also found. Banded greenhood (Pterostylis vittata) and Jug orchid , plus of course some more Donkey orchids.

Looking under a tallish shrub I notice a patch of Banded greenhoods so make my way under to get a photo. Telling Deb of my find I glance down and there is this very small white coloured orchid. It happened to be a small Sugar orchid (Ericksonella saccharata) which was partially opened. I grabbed some photos and then moved over to take some Banded greenhood photos whilst Deb took some of the Sugar orchid. This little orchid actually fully opened over a period of a few minutes so my next shots were of it fully open.

Pic below is of the Banded Greenwood I mentioned above that lead me to the sugar orchid.

We then made our way back to the Triton and moved further West and turned North along the railway line. We parked up and had a bite to eat before venturing out for another hunt. Deb spied another Sugar orchid and I took a photo of the habitat it was found in and what we get up to taking these photos.

Another Red beak sprouting, lone Snail orchid and Dancing spider (Caladenia discoidea) are found in this area, before we head over the railway line.

Immediately we find what we thought was another sugar orchid, however on returning home and checking the photos on our computer we notice it is in fact a Western tiny blue orchid (Cyanicula aperta). These are found August to early October from Dumbleyung to Mount Ragged. We now laugh that we were so blinded to the fact they were two very different orchids, just both so small, so just appeared to be variants in colour only.

This side of the railway line proved very fruitful with many orchids found. Brittle snail orchids (Pterostylis timothyi), more Western tiny blue orchids, more Redbeaks emerging,  further Dancing orchids and even more Donkey orchids.

Time to head south so we make tracks west until a road heading south is found. At a place where the road had been straightened we take the old track and stop for lunch. Deb spies two Dancing spider orchids and finally a Jug orchid (Pterostylis recurva) fully opened.  I locate some more Donkey orchids then on the other side of this small triangular piece of bush I find some beautiful Esperance king spider orchids. More Donkey orchids found then onward further south.

We stop as the track turns east to a farmers paddock and check around as we can see more Donkey orchids from the Triton. After looking around only Donkeys found here.

The track itself does head straight ahead it just reduces in size and standard. Very weedy now so we cross over the creek at a granite ford. A little further along a small patch opens up to the right, so we decide to check it out.  A little patch of yellow catches Deb’s eye and she calls me over as she has found a season first Common bee orchid (Diuris decrementa) which flowers from August to November and is found from North of Perth to East of Esperance.

We finally make it back to the road and head south stopping a few more times but only finding a single Cowslip orchid.

At the intersection we make a final stop and cross the road to have on more search for anything. Deb calls me over as she finds some Esperance King spider orchids. Now the word some is a little bit understated … There are so many it is impossible to count them.

Also found in numerous clusters were Wispy spider orchids. Unsure of the exact type though.

Some single specimens were also found but I will not attempt to name the exact types of these either.

This final location ended an awesome day with new finds and so many orchids in one place… Nature is grand alright !!!