04/07/2021 ….. North-eastern adventure

Burdett South NR, Day Trip, Esperance, Helms Arboretum, Mount Burdett NR, Nature Reserves, Western Australian Orchids

On a cold winters day, what better to do than go exploring for orchids!! We must be mad. With grey clouds and the possibility of rain, we head north to check out the northern boundary of Helms Arboretum (Mud Map SE 35). We wish to see how far the Southern Curly Locks (Thelymitra uliginosa) have progressed. We locate some of the spiral leaves but not in the same numbers as previous years, which is disappointing considering the great start to the season, weather wise. Another orchid found was a spent Scented autumn leek orchid (Prasophyllum Sp. ‘early’) which flower April to June, hence this orchid being finished for the season.

Nothing else found so we move eastwards to Dempster Road via Gibson Road then turn into Wittenoom Road. Rather than check out the blue metal dump which is one of our regular haunts we move further north and check out the old gravel pit near Scaddan Road. First up growing in the pushed back road verge we find some banded greenhoods. As they vary in colour they may be different species. Other specimens are found further afield so I am confident the larger greenish ones are the Banded greenhood (Pterostylis vittata) whilst the smaller brownish ones are the Mallee banded greenhood (Pterostylis arbuscula). Both flower during July and are shown as appearing in the Esperance region.

Then a wonderful patch of snail orchids being watched by a large fungi is found. From the rosettes and colouring of the snail orchids I believe they are Brittle snail orchids (Pterostylis timothyi). These small guys flower from July to September over an easterly distribution including Esperance.

We now move on further north and venture up a track that leads into Mount Burdett Nature Reserve. Further Brittle snail orchids are found or are they the similar Fawn snail orchids (Pterostylis parva) which are of smaller stature with shorter lateral sepals but fatter appearance.

Whilst we are taking photos of the snail orchids another 5 cars drive past on the track, so we decide to turn around and head to Mt Burdett (Mud Map SE36) for a detailed search. We reach our parking spot at the base of the granite rock an immediately find some greenhoods. From the height of the plants and the number of dark coloured flowers I believe they are Dark banded greenhoods (Pterostylis sanguinea) which flower June to September over a large range from Mullewa to Toolinna Cove.

Nearby found a lone Banded greenhood and then looking around some large snail orchids come into view. They are the Robust snail orchid (Pterostylis dilatata) which are distinctive, in that when flowering they lack a rosette.

I think the next snail orchid found is definitely a Fawn snail orchid as it is short statured , has bloated flowers and the rosettes have blue-green pointed leaves. The snail orchids are sharing the bright green moss with another small orchid as well. The Pink bunny orchid (Eriochilus scaber subsp. scaber) flowers early July, so these are on time as they are just starting to open. These little orchids are unique in that their flowering and non-flowering leaves differ in appearance.

Moving further up the rocky mount, we come across a patch of Mallee banded greenhoods which are similar to the Dark banded greenhoods but have less flowers and are shorter in stature.

We finally make it up to the summit, so to speak. We are excited to find a nice patch of shell orchids in flower. The Green-veined shell orchid (Pterostylis scabra) are a common inland shell orchid flowering over a huge range, Kalbarri to Esperance, during the months of May to August. They grow in varied habitats of woodlands and shrublands to shallow soil pockets on granite outcrops. The later describes our location.

Moving down the mount back to the Triton we come across more Fawn snail orchids. Nothing more so we move on in a south easterly direction this time.

So driving down Greens Road we notice a track leading into the Burdett South Nature Reserve. Quick check of Google Maps and we decide to check it out. It is quite overgrown so we end up walking mostly. Lucky find of a recognisable Hare orchid (Leporella fimbriata) as they finish their season in June.

We come to a salt lake that provides a great backdrop for our obligatory “Selfie”, however the only other orchids found in flower where the good old Banded greenhood, plus a snail orchid with its hood eaten off. Rosette of stalked pointed leaves, leads me to name it the Brittle snail orchid.

Well it’s now 3.45pm so we decide to walk back to the Triton for the drive home. It was a very cold day however we found some great orchids and enjoyed the fresh air.

20/06/2021 ….. Munglinup weekend .. Day 2

Cascade NR, Fields NR, Munglinup NR, Nature Reserves, Road Trip, Speddingup NR, Springdale NR, Weekend away, Western Australian Orchids

Waking to another beautiful morning at Munglinup Beach Camping Ground we enjoy a leisurely morning before packing up the camper and moving to Springdale Nature Reserve for our first orchid hunt. No orchids found so we move onto Munglinup Nature Reserve to see if we have better luck.

We park up just inside the track and venture in on foot. First orchid for the day is the Dark banded greenhood (Pterostylis sanguinea) which is a widespread orchid flowering June to September.

Once we reach the old gravel pit Deb heads off to the area she had previously found Hare orchid (Leporella fimbriata) leaves. She was lucky to find some in flower even though they are way past their best.

Also found a very promising leaf about 4mm across. It appears to be from the Drakaea genus however the only species mentioned as being located near this location has a smooth heart shaped leaf. This leaf has small hairs over it’s surface so may be another species not listed for this location. Again any assistance you can provide to the correct identification would be appreciated.

Nothing more found at this location so we move onto one of our regular haunts along the highway. At the intersection of Mills Road we go exploring, though not expecting too much to be found. However we find our first orchid from the Diuris genus, which is exciting. The Green Range donkey orchid (Diuris littoralis) is found in large numbers, however there are only a few early flowering ones, given that they are said to flower from July to September.

Also found some dark greenhood orchids and well as some lighter green in colour. They may be two species or colour variant’s of the same. Possible identification: Dark banded greenhood (Pterostylis sanguinea), Mallee banded greenhood (Pterostylis arbuscula) or Banded greenhood (Pterostylis vittata). Give me your thoughts.

We next move along Mills Road to our next location (Mud Map SE32). We first explore the north side of the road and come across a Hairy-stemmed snail orchid (Pterostylis setulosa) flowering all alone. Another solo specimen is later found. Crossing to the south side of the road proves fruitless so we move on.

We head further north, as we have chosen to check out Cascade Nature Reserve. Here we pull into the old quarry/gravel pit and go exploring. First up we find more banded greenhoods, then discover a shell orchid in bud. It should be a Dwarf shell orchid (Pterostylis brevichila), which flower from July to September, as it is just starting to flower. All other inland shell orchid species commence flowering in May.

If we get a chance we will return later to catch the shell orchids in full flower. However we must keep moving, so even further north we check out Fields Nature Reserve. This is a new location so very unsure what may be here. Unfortunately we only find more greenhood orchids. These appear to be a mixture of species, which is cool.

The only other species found was a single, early flowering, Brittle snail orchid (Pterostylis timothyi) which have a small rosette of pointed leaves and the flower is green and fawn in colour. They are said to flower from July, hence this one is not fully formed as yet.

We now head east and at the Scaddan / Dalyup boundary, we check out Speddingup Nature Reserve. We had visited here back on the 22/5/21, when we located many pterostylis rosettes, so we hope some have now flowered.

Well first up we found what appeared to be a Midget greenhood (Pterostylis mutica) in bud. Then as expected we finally find some Dwarf shell orchids (Pterostylis brevichila) in flower. In fact they were even growing on the edge of the track. These are an inland shell orchid which flowers from July, so we are lucky some early flowering specimens were here.

I venture across the road and find more banded greenhoods. Again the species may be variable.

It is now 4pm so time to make tracks for home. A great day with some good finds. The season is starting out great. I can’t wait till the next adventure.

23/05/2021 ….. Weekend away . Return trip .

Nature Reserves, Pallarup NR, Weekend away, Western Australian Orchids

After a great nights sleep in the Ezytrail camper, we awake to a beautiful day at Lilian Stokes Rock in the Frank Hann National Park. As the search yesterday proved fruitless we decide to pack up and head west to Lake King. We call into the tavern for lunch and refreshments before starting our orchid hunt.

First up we park up at the roadside stop and venture across the road to the walk trail No. 3 that leads north from the Blue house. There is a lot a rubbish from years gone by along this trail but we do find some Pygmy orchids (Corunastylis fuscoviridis). Mostly spent ones are found however on the return trip we did find some still in flower.

The only other recognizable orchid found were some Banded greenhoods (Pterostylis vitatta) just starting to flower. Nothing more found so we head off to another location.

We head south to a favourite location of ours.; Pallarup Nature Reserve. As it is nearly 3pm we have a quick scout along the track leading to the water tank. It is along here we find the Crinkle-leafed bunny orchid (Eriochilus dilatatus subsp. undulatus). Another bunny orchid without the crinkle-leaf is also found. Unsure of the identification so will just name this a ?? bunny orchid (Eriochilus dilatatus). Any help in providing an identification would be appreciated.

We reach the granite rock and head above the catchment wall for where we usually find Hare orchids (Leporella fimbriata). We are not disappointed, however the numbers are lower.

28/08/2020 ….. Nunijup Lake to Gnowangerup (Road Trip 2020)

National Parks, Road Trip, Stirling Range NP, Western Australian Orchids

We awake to a cool morning, so I take Deb around exploring the area whilst the camper dries out. We discover other orchids as well as the ones I found yesterday afternoon, so the wander around was worth the effort.

Nunijup Lake

Tangled white spider orchid

(Caladenia longicauda subsp. redacta)

Small flowered donkey orchid

(Diuris porrifolia)

Jug orchid

(Pterostylis recurva)

Tenterden yellow spider orchid

(Caladenia straminichila)

Common spider orchid

(Caladenia varians)

Banded greenhood

(Pterostylis vittata)

Little pink fairies

(Caladenia reptans subsp. reptans)

Leaping spider orchid

(Caladenia macrostylis)

Well our next planned location is the amazing Stirling Range National Park, which is quite a distance, so we pack up the camper. We spy more orchids as we slowly leave our campsite, so grab some photos. Finally on the road, with high expectations for the day.

Stirling Range National Park

Cowslip orchid

(Caladenia flava subsp. flava)

Dancing spider orchid

(Caladenia discoidea)

Hare orchid

(Leporella fimbriata)

Western wheatbelt donkey orchid

(Diuris brachyscapa)

Pink bunny orchid

(Eriochilus scaber subsp. scaber)

Little pink fairies

(Caladenia reptans subsp, reptans)

Silky blue orchid

(Cyanicula sericea)

Sugar orchid

(Ericksonella saccharata)

Jug orchid

(Pterostylis recurva)

Blood spider orchid

(Caladenia filifera)

Joseph’s spider orchid

(Caladenia polychroma)

Blue beard

(Pheladenia deformis)

Lemon-scented sun orchid

(Thelymitra antennifera)

Banded greenhood

(Pterostylis vittata)

Rabbit orchid

(Leptoceras menziesii)

Red beaks

(Pyrorchis nigricans)

Common bee orchid

(Diuris decrementa)

??? spider orchid

(Caladenia sp.)

Zebra orchid

(Caladenia cairnsiana)

Ravensthorpe snail orchid

(Pterostylis sp. ‘Ravensthorpe’)

Mosquito orchid

(Cyrtostylis robusta)

Frog greenhood

(Pterostylis sargentii)

Yawning leek orchid

(Prasophyllum hians)

Well we were not disappointed. At least 22 orchid species found which blows our minds. The bush fire caused devastation, however the regrowth of the Australian bush is amazing. It’s now 4pm so we had better move on and find our overnight camp.

Kingia in flower following the bush fire

We struggled to find a camping location so made the decision to book into one of the Gnowangerup Hotel units for the night. We enjoyed a wonderful bar meal and bevy.

22/05/2021 Frank Hann NP

Frank Hann NP, National Parks, Speddingup NR, Weekend away, Western Australian Orchids

Well we have decided to make a weekend of our orchid hunting and will camp overnight in our trusty Ezytrail camper trailer. Planned overnight camp is at Lilian Stokes Rock in the Frank Hann National Park. So we head north up the Coolgardie-Esperance Hwy to get our trip started.

Pulled over for the first exploration of the weekend.

First stop is the side of Boydell Road, a left turn off the highway. This is the first visit to this location for Deb and she finds the first orchids. Typical!! Seems to be Crinkle-leafed bunny Orchid (Eriochilus dilatatus subsp. undulatus) growing in the gravely verge. I change my direction to check them out and stumble across some as well. Whilst I’m busy taking photos Deb moves on.

I’m still getting shots of the bunnies when Deb calls out, as she has found a Hare Orchid (Leporella fimbriata). Excitedly I make my way over to get a photo.

A few more bunnies are found only, so we move to the north side of the road. Here we find some Banded Greenhood (Pterostylis vittata). Most were yet to fully open, however luckily we find one plant with 2 open flowers.

vittatus (Latin – longitudinally striped)

Making our way back to the Triton we collect discarded bottles from the verge. Doing our little bit to clean up the countryside, plus we now get 10c per bottle. I direct a turn north up Hillermans Road so we get to check out Speddingup Nature Reserve. Here we find some Banded Greenhoods in flower.

Green and white banded flowers

Crossing a watercourse/lake/saltpan we surprise 4 emus who run off. At this point we rise up to what appears to be a Gimlet woodland. As this is very different habitat to the sandy plain we had just driven through, we pull over to have a look. No orchids in flower located, however we did find Pygmy orchids that had finished their season and many small Pterostylis rosettes. Within these many rosettes where some stems popping up. These baby orchids had no rosette so I believe they will be a Shell orchid when they finally bloom. We will need to come back in a few weeks to check on the progress. After crossing 3 such water courses we come to one that is too boggy, so we had to turn around and head back to Speddingup Road West.

We chicken out !!!

From here we head toward Fields Nature Reserve where we plan to have lunch. However there is nowhere to pull off the road, so we continue until we reach the intersection of Neds Corner Road. Here we pull over at a great tractor sculpture and Deb knocks up a sandwich.

We then continue on Griffiths Road to Griffiths Nature Reserve and turn south down Edwards Road to get back on track. Cascades Road reached and we make tracks for our planned destination, Frank Hann National Park, more specifically Lilian Stokes Rock. We were shocked to see the destruction of the park due to a bush fire.

Camp set-up . Time to explore

After setting up the camper trailer we explore the rock. Deb finds the only orchid in flower. A fertilised Crinkle-leafed bunny orchid. Other leaves found of an unknown species. We then collect wood that someone had kindly sawn up. Campfire lit, drinks poured and dinner cooked. We sit back and enjoy the serenity.

2021 Season opens in style

Day Trip, Nature Reserves, Red Lake Townsite NR, Western Australian Orchids

Our Sunday drive North of Esperance is successful in finding 5 of the early season orchids flowering in the Esperance shire.

First stop is Gibson where a new location turns up the Banded greenhood (Pterostylis vittata) which flower from April, however it is usually slightly delayed this far east, so we were surprised to find some open.

Next up is our Fleming Grove Road location where we find 3 species. Firstly the Leafless orchid (Praecoxanthus aphyllus) is found. We were amazed to find around 8 flowering in close proximity as we had previously only found isolated individuals.

Intermixed with the Leafless orchids were many Hare orchids (Leporella fimbriata). Again the numbers were high compared to previous discoveries.

Final orchid found at this location is a lone White bunny orchid (Eriochilus dilatatus subsp. dilatatus). The stem leaf was very small so we were unable to tell if it had crinkled edges, so it may well be a Crinkled-leafed bunny orchid (Eriochilus dilatatus subsp. undulatus). They have differing location specs: White bunny being coastal and Crinkled-leafed bunny mostly inland. As the location is only 30km inland it may be either, so please comment should the identification be apparent.

Final species of the day is the small Pygmy orchid (Corunastylis fuscoviridis), which we find at both Salmon Gums and Red Lake Townsite Nature Reserve. Flowering during the months of April and May only, we feel lucky to have found some still in flower, as we found loads more already finished for the season.

Looks like it may be a bumper season, due to the early rains. To celebrate the successful day, we indulged in an ice-cream from Salmon Gums Roadhouse.

24/06/2020 ….. Winter Wednesday Wander

Cape Arid NP, Day Trip, National Parks

I have taken an RDO today so that we can spend the day with my youngest son’s grandparents-in-law. Deb and I will be introducing them to our wonderful Western Australian orchids.

Heading out East to the farm near Condingup, we enjoy a cuppa before heading off for our day in the great outdoors. We make our way to Boyatup Hill (Mud Map SE 40) which we trust will ensure we have a variety of orchids to share with our guests.

On the track into the hill we stop at our usual first location and straight up Deb finds a spent orchid which appears to be the Scented autumn leek orchid (Prasophyllum sp. ‘early’) which flower April to June all the way East to Israelite Bay. On the other side of the track I come across a Hare orchid (Leporella fimbriata) also way past it’s best. These also flower till June and extend to Israelite Bay.

Also found on the same side of the track to the Hare orchids were some Banded greenhoods (Pterostylis vittata) which are a common winter orchid flowering over a southerly range, from Perth to Balladonia. Dark variants were also found which may actually be the Mallee banded greenhood (Pterostylis arbuscula), a recently named species which occurs from Northampton to Eyre. This new species is a few flowered short statured orchid with variably coloured flowers. The lateral sepals of the Banded greenhood are not as fleshy as other greenhoods.

Deb as usual, finds the first new orchid species of the the day. The Robust snail orchid (Pterostylis dilatata) is quite unique amongst the snail orchids, as flowering plants lack a rosette of leaves. Other features include clubbed lateral sepals and an early flowering period, being May to August. They are found between Geraldton and Israelite Bay and can attain a height of 150mm.

Further afield we find another spent Leek orchid and leaves of the Thelymitra genus. Making our way into the abandon gravel pit I stumble across a speck of yellow. Excited to find the first flowering donkey orchid of the season.

I am aware of only 2 donkey orchids that flower east of Esperance. The Beautiful donkey orchid and the Green Range donkey orchid. The Beautiful donkey orchid has distinctive mauve markings and usually grows on granite outcrops so the orchid found must be the Green Range donkey orchid (Diuris littoralis). This orchid flowers from July to early September , so they must be an early risers. They are found West to Denmark in a coastal, near coastal range.

Further into the search we find some Mosquito orchids in bud, Spider orchids in bud and more donkey, leek, greenhood and robust snail orchids, in varying stages of flowering.

We now move on to Thomas River in Cape Arid National Park for lunch. We enjoy lunch in one of the camp kitchens in the upper campground, then make our way down to the beach and head out on the rocks to catch a glimpse of the 4 whales in the bay. On the way back sitting on a stump in the river is a White bellied sea eagle.

Leaving the beach and Thomas River behind us, we head back towards the farm. We make a slight detour at Parmango Road where we pull over to check out the location shared with us late last season. It is after 4pm so a quick search is conducted. Nothing found, then with some luck, I was able to locate a Scented autumn leek orchid with one or two flowers still blooming.

With the light fading fast and the temperature dropping just as fast we jump back in the Triton for the drive back to the farm. We are invited to stay for dinner and finish our day enjoying further great company. I hope our guests enjoyed their day searching for orchids.

01/06/2020….. Winter is here!!

Cascade NR, Day Trip, Nature Reserves

First day of Winter so where should we go today for our orchid hunt? Let us go north. So we head off up the Coolgardie-Norseman Hwy and get as far as Fleming Grove Road before we stop to have our first explore. Loads of Hare orchid leaves and spent flowers are found. Then Pterostylis rosettes start to appear and finally some Banded Greenhoods (Pterostylis vittata) are found in flower.

Nothing else found so we head back to the Highway to continue north. However we make a last minute change and head over the Hwy into Boydell Road, heading west. Driving along we pull over to the side of the road and check out a bit of scrubland that appeared to contain some granite rock. This proved incorrect however we did find some possible King-in-his-carriage orchid (Drakaea glyptodon) leaves. Left a marker on the road in the hope of returning to find it flowering in August. Hare orchid (Leporella fimbriata) leaves also found, with some spend orchids to confirm flowering had occurred. As they can flower from as early as March it was great to find some recognisable hare orchid flowers. Finally for this new location a Banded greenhood was also found and photographed.

Travelling further east on Boydell road we turn right at the Cascades Road intersection. Our planned stop is Cascade Nature Reserve which we had visited a few years back and found some shell orchids. Unfortunately it appears to be too early for the shell orchids to be flowering this year. Just found some very small rosettes with the buds just sprouting. After exploring for a time we find many spent Pygmy orchids (Corunastylis fuscoviridis) which flower during April and May. Banded greenhoods are found just before we head back to the Triton. Cascade Falls off Loop road will be our final destination of the day.

Parking above the falls we walk down along the bank to the falls, which are just flowing at this stage of the season. From here we check out the parking area , then walk back along the track to the Triton. No flowering orchids found so we head back to the South-coast Hwy via Coomalbidgup for the drive back home. Not too bad a way to kill off 4 hours or so on a public holiday Monday.

Meanderings in May

Day Trip, National Parks, Road Trip, Stokes NP

09/05/2020

After a sleep in we pack up the Triton and head out east to our rock location off Merivale road. We arrive just in time for lunch, so getting our priorities right, we eat first. Whilst eating, we wander around the old abandoned picnic area and find spent White bunny orchid plants, so we may be a bit late in their season.

Just as we were to head off up the slope to the granite, 2 orchids are found in flower. Based on the leaf size I believe them to be Granite bunny orchids (Eriochilus pulchellus) which as the name suggests occur at granite outcrops from Northcliffe to Balladonia. They can grow up to 150mm in height and can have up to 10 flowers per plant. Further specimens were located as were searched around and on the granite.

On the other side of the granite outcrop I thought I had come across another bunny orchid species. This one though has larger leaves so appears to be the White bunny orchid (Eriochilus dilatatus subsp. dilatatus). However on closer inspection they appear to be more Granite bunny orchids. The leaves are just towards the larger size for the species which can be 5 to 15mm in length and 3 to 8 mm in width. Others were subsequently found, with one having 6 flowers and standing easily 150mm in height.

We then moved onto the other large granite outcrop, however nothing new was found just more Granite bunny orchids. Once we got back to the picnic area I went back to what I thought was a lone orchid growing in the made made embankment which channels the water flowing off the granite away from the picnic site. There turned out to be a bunch of plants with one reaching 430mm in height. Identification confusion as the bunny orchids that reach that height both grow in the south west corner not East of Esperance.

We now decide to move on and head a little further north to our Coolinup Road locations. At the small granite rock location further Granite bunny orchids are found. At our latest location we locate a newly flowering Banded greenhood (Pterostylis vittata) and some wonderful Hare orchids (Leporella fimbriata). At the granite section of this new location I am sure some of the bunnies found are White bunny orchids (Eriochilus dilatatus subsp. dilatatus) as the leaf on one of them is over 50mm in length. Took some photos with coloured card as backdrop to see if the orchid would stand out better. Please provide feedback in comments on preferences.

23/05/2020

Off to Stokes National Park today for a walk along the trail from the Day use area to the Benwenerup Campground. We collected a friend (Deb C.) in Esperance to join us on the adventure today. We arrived at the park and after grabbing a water bottle each we commenced the walk by climbing the stairs up the embankment. From here the compacted walk trail follows the embankment with 2 lookouts over the inlet before crossing over the access road for the section to the campground. Only orchids found flowering were the Banded greenhoods.

At the campground further greenhoods were found. So after a short rest we made our way back along the trail to the access road, which we followed back to the day use area. Pictures taken of the Showy Banksia (Banksia speciosa) flowers and Zamia palms (Macrozamia dyeri) which were found in good numbers along this section of the trail. After eating our lunch, we spent some time on the inlet banks, then made tracks back to Esperance. A wonderful day out in the sunny Autumn weather.