02/09/2021 ….. Koorda to Northam

Cartamulligan Well NR, Moonijin NR, Nature Reserves, Numerous days, Road Trip, Western Australian Orchids

After enjoying a very basic continental breakfast at the Koorda hotel we make our way along the Dowerin – Koorda Road, as we have not recorded driving this way before. We love breaking new ground so to speak, as this opens up our search area for orchids. With this in mind our first location visited is the Booralaming Sports Centre, a random piece of uncleared land chosen from Google Maps, whilst driving along. After checking out the old play equipment and abandoned tennis pavilion we get stuck into looking for orchids.

First orchid found was a lone Hairy-stemmed snail orchid (Pterostylis setulosa), which is not a great specimen. Photo taken just to record the finding. Next up we find another orchid in better numbers. The Sugar orchid (Ericksonella saccharata) is a common inland orchid which is a monotypic genus, endemic to WA.

A donkey orchid is then found with a huge clump found later on back near the pavilion. From the location and the following features: reflexed lateral sepals, broad rounded petals, and broad dorsal sepal, I am calling these Mottled donkey orchids (Diuris suffusa).

Next up is a wonderful trio of Ant orchids (Caladenia roei) which have a broad smooth labellum with a central band of calli. The more south the location the longer the band of calli. Refer the post from the 01/09/2021 for an image of a northern form.

Then a nice surprise, some spider orchids are found. The yellow coloured ones I believe to be the Primrose spider orchid (Caladenia xantha) which flower until early September which explains the spent specimen found. The colouring ranges from pale to vivid yellow, which includes the labellum. EDIT: hugo_innes suggested an ID in iNaturalist Australia that they may be Chameleon spider orchid (Caladenia dimidia) due to the north/east location.

White coloured spider orchids also present and I thought they are probably the Common spider orchid (Caladenia varians), however after posting to a Facebook page a knowledgeable person advised they thought they were the Pendant spider orchid (Caladenia pendens subsp. pendens), due to the broad labellum, which is usually small in most other white wispy styled orchids.

We did get distracted with a large rubbish dump which gave us reason to scavenge, however we finally made our way back to the Triton’s and moved on westwards. Our next stop was at Moonijin Nature Reserve. We parked up near a creek depression and went exploring. First orchid found was the small Little laughing leek orchid (Prasophyllum gracile) which is by far the most widespread of these little orchids of the P. gracile complex.

Next up a beautiful spider orchid is found. A single specimen firstly, then an amazing clump of flowers. The Chameleon spider orchid (Caladenia dimidia) can be either yellow, cream or pink-red in colour so they can easily be confused with other similar species from the C. filamentosa complex.

After finding the clump of spider orchids, it was nice to find some Pink candy orchids (Caladenia hirta subsp. rosea) which range from very pale pink to vivid pink in colour. They always have bright pink calli on the labellum, unless you are lucky enough to find a lutea form. The white form found could actually be the related Candy orchid (Caladenia hirta subsp. hirta) as they do overlap in distribution, but maybe not this far inland.

Then another colour grabs our eyes. A donkey orchid is found which is probably the Dainty donkey orchid (Diuris refracta) due to the broad, reflexed dorsal sepal, reflexed lateral sepals and of course the location.

Also found were more Ant orchids, so after taking some more photos we move onwards to our next stop.

We stop off in Dowerin and grab some lunch at the Dowerin Bakery, before moving on to an unnamed Nature Reserve on Berring-Nambling Road, south-west of town. First up we find more Pink candy orchids and other ones that seem to be Candy orchids, as they are larger and white in colour.

Woohoo, another new orchid for the day. The Drooping spider orchid (Caladenia radialis) has a distinctive look, which the common name suggests. Even the dorsal sepal in usually drooping. A clumping spider orchid, we are lucky to find some great clumps as well. These orchids are a common inland species found from Northampton to Jerramungup, during the months August through October.

Then some bright yellow catches our eye. The cheerful Cowslip orchid is found and from the markings it appears to be the Brookton Highway cowslip orchid (Caladenia flava subsp. “late red“) which is also identified by the leaf being regularly longer than the flower scape. However we are around 80kms north of the recorded distribution and they flower from late September, so these may just be the standard cowslip (C. flava subsp. flava) which vary greatly in size and colouring.

It’s now past 2pm so we had better keep moving. We pass through Goomalling and head toward Northam. We make one last stop at Cartamulligan Well Nature Reserve which has Southern Brook running through the middle. We turn off Watson road into a gravelled area and go exploring. It is quite weedy so unsure how successful we will be with finding many orchids.

Surprisingly, the first orchid discovered is the Candy orchid or maybe its the Pink candy orchid. As mentioned previously their distributions overlap and subsp. rosea can be very pale pink in colour, even appearing white, so identification can be difficult. Let me know your thoughts on the ID for these ones.

Definite Pink candy orchids are found later on and these are pics of some of them.

Excitedly we find a new species for the day. This orchid is common but we still get excited when something new is found on any given day. The Blue beard or Blue fairy orchid (Pheladenia deformis) is the only species in the genus Pheladenia. Given it’s common name, it is interesting to note that they do come in a white variety, though these are rare.

The last orchid to be recorded for today is also the first one found, back at the Booralaming Sports Centre. You guessed it, the Hairy-stemmed snail orchid, which again is a common orchid, although restricted to inland areas. Unlike this morning though, they are found in numbers at this location.

Just before 4pm we make tracks for Northam, our planned overnight stop. We are being soft tonight and book a motel room at the Dukes Inn. Here we enjoy a beautiful meal and comfy beds. At least 13 species found today, which is awesome.

20/08/2020 ….. Quajabin Peak to Pingeculling Nature Reserve (Road Trip 2020)

Nature Reserves, Pingeculling NR, Road Trip, Western Australian Orchids

After a night listening the nearby sheep bleating all night we awake to another beautiful sunny morning. We now take the time to explore the area below our camp for orchids.

Quajabin (County) Peak

Small flowered donkey orchid

(Diuris porrifolia)

Western wheatbelt donkey orchid

(Diuris brachyscapa)

Leaving Quajabin (County) Peak we head south to Yenyening Lakes. We hoped to explore the Nature Reserve however it seems to only cover the actual lakes themselves. A little bit along Qualandary Road just over the Avon River bridge we pull over to check out the roadside vegetation.

Yenyening Lakes

Purple-veined spider orchid, Purple-veined clown orchid

(Caladenia doutchiae)

Puppet orchid

(Caladenia incrassata)

Dancing spider orchid

(Caladenia discoidea)

Blue beard, Blue fairy orchid

(Pheladenia deformis)

Green spider orchid, Fringed mantis orchid

(Caladenia falcata)

Leaving the Yenyening lakes we head further along Qualandary Road. At the intersection with Boyagarra Road we pull into a gravel pit. Here we explore the vegetation for any orchids that may flower in this small island of nature in the middle of farmland.

Boyagarra Road

Frog greenhood

(Pterostylis sargentii)

Sugar orchid

(Ericksonella saccharata)

>>>> donkey orchid

(Diuris sp.)

It is now past 12 o’clock so we move on. looking for another location where we can have some lunch whilst exploring for orchids. We by-pass Brookton by heading south down Moorumbine Road. at another gravel pit in the middle of a bush block will pull up. Whilst eating lunch we explore the surrounding vegetation for orchids. We come across an old rubbish dump site and find some amazing old bottles.

Moorumbine Road

Little pink fairy

(Caladenia reptans subsp. reptans)

Sugar orchid

(Ericksonella saccharata)

Frog greenhood

(Pterostylis sargnetii)

Small flowered donkey orchid

(Diuris porrifolia)

Western wheatbelt donkey orchid

(Diuris brachyscapa)

Jug orchid

(Pterostylis recurva)

After storing away our old bottles, we move into the Pingeculling Nature Reserve. We follow the track up a steep gravely slope then along bush tracks past sheoks and granite boulders. We then come across a fallen tree over the track. I get to use my Ryobi Chainsaw for it’s first real test. We then pull up on the track near a flat piece of granite and set up camp.

Pingeculling Nature Reserve

Little pink fairy

(Caladenia reptans subsp. reptans)

Cowslip orchid

(Caladenia flava subsp. flava)

Sugar orchid

(Ericksonella saccharata)

Western wheatbelt donkey orchid

(Diuris brachyscapa)

Banded greenhood

(Pterostylis vittata)

Blue beard

(Pheladenia deformis)

Lemon-scented sun orchid

(Thelymitra antennifera)

Little laughing leek orchid

(Prasophyllum gracile)

Primrose spider orchid

(Caladenia xantha)

Jug orchid

(Pterostylis recurva)

Caladenia sp.

It is now nearly 4pm so we make tracks back to the camper and light the camp fire to get ready for dinner. I study the orchid books to uncover what we had found today. A fabulous day with so many orchids found.

13/08/2020 ….. Elachbutting Rock to Weira Reserve (Road Trip 2020)

Nature Reserves, Other Reserves, Road Trip, Sandford Rocks NR, Weira Reserve, Western Australian Orchids, Westonia Common

We awake to a beautiful sunny day, have a leisurely breakfast and finally break camp around 10am. Before leaving Elachbutting Rock we check out the stone lined well.

Heading south we pass Yanneymooning Nature Reserve, not stopping this time, then turned east onto Morrison Road, which takes us through Chiddarcooping Nature Reserve. Further south we finally reach Sandford Rocks Nature Reserve which is Site 16 on the Wheatbelt Way Drive Trail. We stop at the north eastern section of the reserve and have a look around finding some orchids before moving down to the actual visitors area of the park. It is a great walk around the rock where we find a good selection of orchids.

Sandford Rocks Nature Reserve

Hairy-stemmed snail orchids

(Pterostylis setulosa)

Sugar orchid

(Ericksonella saccharata)

Jug orchid, Recurved shell orchid, Bull orchid, Antelope orchid

(Pterostylis recurva)

Frog greenhood

(Pterostylis sargentii)

Ironcaps spider orchid, Mystery spider orchid

Yellow granite donkey orchid

(Diuris hazeliae)

Blue beard, Blue fairy orchid

(Pheladenia deformis)

Glistening spider orchid

(Caladenia incensum)

Dainty blue orchid

(Cyanicula amplexans)

Little laughing leek orchid

(Prasophyllum gracile)

Ant orchid, Clown orchid, Man orchid, Jack-in-the-Box

(Caladenia roei)

After exploring for around 2hrs we make our way south to Westonia where we have lunch, hamburger and chips, at the local shop. We then move onto Site 17 Boodalin Soak which is located in the Westonia Common a 5600ha patch of salmon gum, morrell and gimlet woodlands. We first stop on the drive in from Stoneman Road, then park up at the well, before we venture on foot to explore the granite rocks.

Boodalin Soak

Glistening spider orchid

(Caladenia incensum)

Hairy-stemmed snail orchid

(Pterostylis setulosa)

Pink candy orchid

(Caladenia hirta subsp. rosea)

Blue beard

(Pheladenia deformis)

Ant orchid

(Caladenia roei)

Yellow granite donkey orchid

(Diuris hazeliae)

Dainty blue orchid

(Cyanicula amplexans)

Cowslip orchid

(Caladenia flava subsp. flava)

Midget greenhood

(Pterostylis mutica)

It’s now 3-30 ish so we make tracks for the next site on the trail. We hope to stay here the night as it is listed as a campsite in the trail guide. We arrive at site 18 Weira Reserve and find a level area to set up the campers. Whilst Deb plays with the campfire , Richard and I climb up the limestone breakaway to go for a quick exploration.

Weira Reserve

Chameleon spider orchid

(Caladenia dimidia)

Blue beard

(Pheladenia deformis)

Hairy-stemmed snail orchid

(Pterostylis setulosa)

Light is fading fast so we make our way back to Deb at the campfire with a plan to take her exploring tomorrow. Great day today as we found 15 orchid species over 3 locations.

11/08/2020 ….. Koorda to Billiburning Rock(Road Trip 2020)

Billiburning Reserve, Koorda Native Flora Reserve, Road Trip, Western Australian Orchids

After a wonderful sleep and hearty breakfast at the Koorda Hotel it is time to head off to Site 7 of the Wheatbelt Way Drive Trail. Koorda Native Flora Reserve has 3 walk trails. We tackle the Yellow Walk Trail. The other 2 will have to wait a return visit.

Koorda Native Flora Reserve

Hairy-stemmed snail orchid

(Pterostylis setulosa)



Next stop was Site 8 – Gabbin Townsite where we completed the Town walk trail. Very interesting history. We then moved onto Bencubbin to fuel up, then headed to Beacon, bypassing Sites 9 (Marshall Rock) and 10 (Pergande Sheep Yards) as we had all visited them on a previous Road Trip. Interesting little installation with a Honey theme discovered on Ingleton road in Tampu. (Refer Featured Image)



Billiburning Rock

Site 11 of the Wheatbelt Way Drive Trail. We arrived around 1pm and made the decision to stay here for the night. After setting up camp and having a bite to eat for lunch, we set off on a wander around and onto the rock to see what we could see.

Dainty blue orchid

(Cyanicula amplexans)



Blue beard, Blue fairy orchid

(Pheladenia deformis)

Little laughing leek orchid

(Prasophyllum gracile)

Hairy-stemmed snail orchid

(Pterostylis setulosa)

Pink candy orchid

(Caladenia hirta subsp. rosea)