Solo again as Deb is still in Perth with Ollie visiting relatives and having a ball. So, after enjoying a sleep in, I have breakfast, do some washing, then pack up and head off for an exploration northeast of Esperance. First stop is on Wittenoom Road at our usual spot. I immediately check out where the spider orchids flower and was shocked to see the area had been pushed up to increase the space. There was only one small Western wispy spider orchid (Caladenia microchila) in flower, with no others found, not even leaves.
Then I wander around the site, plus also across the road and not too much is flowering. I find some very small donkey orchids which I am not confident to name. Then of course I find the Banded greenhood (Pterostylis vittata) and Dark banded greenhood (Pterostylis sanguinea) growing under the scrub.
And the final orchid found at this location was the small Brittle snail orchid (Pterostylis timothyi) which was hard to photograph due to the wind. So I will post a video of it instead.
Time to move on, but only as far as Scaddan Road, where I pull into a section of reclaimed scrub to see if there is anything flowering. Only found a single greenhood growing as well as some more snail orchids. Both named previously.
Past lunch time, so I head off to Mount Burdett, which is located in the aptly named Mount Burdett Nature Reserve. I parked up halfway as the track is badly washed out, however the view was still great whilst eating my nuts and drinking my coffee. I then walk up the last of the track and first up come across some more snail orchids, but this time they are growing in lush green moss.
Then I hit the usual rock edge where we find most of the orchids on the previous visits. This time however all I find are the faithful Banded greenhoods. This is looking poor, however I push further along the base and come across what appears to be a great patch of non-flowering Pink bunny orchid leaves. Could not see anything flowering though. Just as I was about to head up the hill, I stumble across a small patch of Robust snail orchids (Pterostylis dilatata) which is one of the larger snail orchids and it does not have a rosette, which is quite unique.
Climbing up I come across the Dark banded greenhood again plus a patch of Caladenia leaves. Then found some Hare orchids (Leporella fimbriata) which were in a reasonable state given the listed flowering period is March to June.
Further towards to summit I reach the access track which is very rough and would be a test for your 4WD. At the first turnaround area I discover some further Brittle snail orchids. Then finally at the summit clearing I find a few Green-veined shell orchids (Pterostylis scabra), with only one fully formed. These are a widespread orchid, being found from Kalbarri to Esperance. After taking some pics, I have a quick search for any donkey orchids in flower, but alas none were found. So, it’s back down I head.
Nothing more really comes to my attention before making it back to the Triton. So back to Norwood Road, where I turn right. On the left side of the road, it had been burnt out, so I pull alongside the road, park up, then venture into the blackened scrub. After walking around for about 15 mins, with not an orchid in sight, I despondently jump back into the Triton and head toward Dempster Road. Just before the intersection of the roads, I pull into a layby, which is actually the boundary of the Mount Ridley Nature Reserve. Mount Ridley though is actually some 20kms to the north and is not included in a reserve, which I find bizarre. I decided to check out the reserve bush first, but didn’t get very far in, as it was fairly thick. I did however find some small greenhoods, one of which may be the Midget greenhood (Pterostylis mutica), which commences it’s flowering in July. The I checked out the other side of the road but again, no orchids found. Then just before I reach the Triton, I notice some very spent Pygmy orchid (Corunastylis fuscoviridis), so had to grab a pic for recording purposes.
Moving on, I turn left onto Dempster Road and head south toward Fisheries Road. This part of the road is another boundary of the Nature Reserve, so when another layby catches my eye, I do a U-turn and park up for my final exploration of the day. It is getting dark pretty quickly, but I notice some Dark banded greenhoods and grab some pics, then come across some small rosettes with 3 little buds growing from the bare earth in between. Due to this they are going to be some Shell orchids. I take a pic for record purposes, then make a beeline for the Triton.
Then out of nowhere, hiding under a small bush, a large patch of Dwarf shell orchids (Pterostylis brevichila) catches my eye. Now this is an awesome last find for the day. These wonderful orchids are found from Hyden to Mt Ragged, growing in eucalyptus woodlands. The rosette is listed as being compact with rounded leaves, which confirms the buds found earlier will be more of these.
Time to head home as the light is fading fast, however I pull over to grab a shot of the sunset over one of the many clay pans in the area. Amazing day with 2 species of Shell orchids being found together with other Pterostylis species, A sole Wispy spider orchid represents the Caladenia genus and spent Pygmy and Hare orchids close out the list. Winter is moving on slowly, so we can look forward to more orchids flowering in the weeks to come.