30/08/2020 ….. Hamersley Inlet to Home (Road Trip 2020)

Fitzgerald River NP, Munglinup NR, National Parks, Nature Reserves, Road Trip, Springdale NR, Western Australian Orchids

We awake to a cold morning however the sun is shining so it will be a great last day of our 2020 Road Trip. First up we check out the spider orchid we found in the fading light yesterday.

Hamersley Inlet

Western wispy spider orchid

(Caladenia microchila)

Camper packed up and time to move on. We get as far as 4 Mile Beach campground before we stop and have a scout around. We only find a few Pterostylis orchids.

4 Mile Beach

Ravensthorpe snail orchid or Coastal snail orchid

(Pterostylis grossa or P. sp. “coastal snail”)

We head into Hopetoun for a bite to eat. Our next point of call is just north of the South Coast Hwy, and is a favourite of ours. We again find a few orchids for our troubles.

Mills Road

Zebra orchid

(Caladenia cairnsiana)

??? hybrid spider orchid

(Caladenia x sp.)

Small mantis orchid

(Caladenia attingens subsp. gracillima)

Cream spider orchid

(Caladenia horistes)

3 orchid species and a hybrid is not a bad haul, however we must keep moving towards home. First up though we stop at the Munglinup Roadhouse for a burger lunch. Driving in we discover some orchids on the roadside, so I jump out to get some photos and Deb heads down to order lunch.

Munglinup Townsite

Esperance white spider orchid

(Caladenia longicauda subsp. crassa)

Common bee orchid

(Diuris decrementa)

Lunch purchased, we move on to Munglinup Nature Reserve to eat and explore.

Zebra orchid

(Caladenia cairnsiana)

Cowslip orchid

(Caladenia flava subsp. flava)

Common bee orchid

(Diuris decrementa)

Esperance white spider orchid

(Caladenia longicauda subsp. crassa)

Jug orchid

(Pterostylis recurva)

Five species found, so happy we made to time to explore the area. We now move on to revisit a location we checked out on Day 1 of this road trip. Lets see if there is anything different now flowering.

Springdale Nature Reserve

??? hybrid spider orchid

(Caladenia x sp.)

Red beaks

(Pyrorchis nigricans)

?? donkey orchid

(Diuris sp.)

??? hybrid spider orchid

(Caladenia x sp.)

Reaching spider orchid

(Caladenia arrecta)

Blue beard

(Pheladenia deformis)

Common bee orchid

(Diuris decrementa)

Esperance white spider orchid

Caladenia longicauda subsp. crassa)

Pink bunny orchid

(Eriochilus scaber subsp. scaber)

Esperance king spider orchid

(Caladenia decora)

Since it is after 3 pm and we still have more than 100kms to home, we decide to leave our orchid exploration at this fruitful location. The hour long drive was a great time to look back on our awesome road trip that started back on the 8th August. The Wheatbelt Way was a great loop that opened up the amazing Western Australian countryside.

Over the 3 weeks on the road we discovered many new locations as well as re-visiting favourite spots. So many orchid species were located along with numerous hybrids which was a pleasant surprise.

29/08/2020 ….. Gnowangerup to Hamersley Inlet (Road Trip 2020)

Chirelillup NR, Fitzgerald River NP, National Parks, Nature Reserves, Road Trip, Western Australian Orchids

A much earlier start to the day as we did not need to wait for the camper to dry out. We arrive at our first location by 8.30am and explore widely this time, as we have had quick visits on other occasions.

Chirelillup Nature Reserve

Green spider orchid

(Caladenia falcata)

Frog greenhood

(Pterostylis sargentii)

Western wheatbelt donkey orchid

(Diuris brachyscapa)

Jug orchid

(Pterostylis recurva)

??? greenhood

(Pterostylis sp.)

Sugar orchid

(Ericksonella saccharata)

Small mantis orchid

(Caladenia attingens subsp. gracillima)

Joseph’s spider orchid

(Caladenia polychroma)

Cowslip orchid

(Caladenia flava subsp. flava)

Slender spider orchid

(Caladenia pulchra)

Well after our extensive search of the reserve we decide it is time to move on. We don’t get far before we pull over at a patch of scrub, due to seeing a large colony of donkey orchids whilst driving past.

Gnowangerup-Jerramungup Rd

Western wheatbelt donkey orchid or Small flowered donkey orchid.

(Diuris brachyscapa or D. porrifolia)

Stark white spider orchid

(Caladenia longicauda subsp. eminens)

Wheatbelt spider orchid

(Caladenia x cala)

Cowslip orchid

(Caladenia flava subsp. flava)

Jug orchid

(Pterostylis recurva)

Short-sepaled spider orchid

(Caladenia brevisura)

Banded greenhood

(Pterostylis vittata)

Purple-veined spider orchid

(Caladenia doutchiae)

??? Hybrid

(Caladenia x sp.)

Western wheatbelt donkey orchid or Small flowered donkey orchid.

(Diuris brachyscapa or D. porrifolia)

Green spider orchid

(Caladenia falcata)

Wowsers! what an awesome random roadside stop that was. Hybrids plus numerous species found. We do though have to move on, so onwards to Ongerup we go.

Ongerup

Cowslip orchids

(Caladenia flava subsp. flava)

Western wheatbelt donkey orchid

(Diuris brachyscapa)

Green spider orchid

(Caladenia falcata)

Sugar orchid

(Ericksonella saccharata)

Drooping spider orchid

(Caladenia radialis)

Frog greenhood

(Pterostylis sargentii)

Blue china orchid

(Cyanicula gemmata)

Time for lunch so we head for the nearby Yongergnow Australian Malleefowl Centre, where we have enjoyed a nice meal on previous visits. This visit was no exception. With a full belly we move on towards the Fitzgerald River National Park.

Calyerup Rocks

Western tiny blue orchid

(Cyanicula aperta)

Sugar orchids

(Ericksonella saccharata)

Jug orchid

(Pterostylis recurva)

Cowslip orchid

(Caladenia flava subsp. flava)

Common bee orchid

(Diuris decrementa)

Whoops, we somehow drove into the Park Rangers residence, and were chastised for this. Oh well we know better next time. As we plan to camp at Hamersley Inlet we move further along the South Coast Hwy until we reach West River Road. Due to failing light we stop only at the lookout, before pulling into our overnight campground. After setting up we go for a quick walk and of course look out for any orchids that catch our eye. The inlet is very dry compared to when we last visited a few years back.

Hamersley Inlet

Western wispy spider orchid

(Caladenia microchila)

Sunset over the inlet

After enjoying the beautiful sunset over the inlet we head back to the camper to rustle up some dinner. We then enjoyed a game of Tri-ominos before hitting the sack. Random stops today proved very successful with many orchids found, so we don’t always have to plan everything upfront.

27/09/2020 ….. Peak Charles Long Weekend – Day 3

National Parks, Peak Charles NP, Weekend away, Western Australian Orchids

Well after a wet night we awake to a fine, cloudy day with white fast moving clouds covering the peak of Peak Charles. An amazing sight it is!!

After breakfast we jump in the Triton and head off south towards nearby Peak Elenore, where we plan to explore for orchids. Driving along the track southwards we come across a track leading west back towards the rocks so Deb decides to check it out. We come across someone camping so nearly just turned back but luckily I noticed we could bypass a fallen tree and get closer to the rocks. Pulling up alongside we venture into the rocky slope which is quite well vegetated and is still quite green. Might be due to being on the lee side of the hill.

Almost immediately green spider orchids are found. Two subspecies of Calendenia attingens are found in this area. They are very similar orchids with the main distinguishing feature being the lateral sepals. Small mantis orchid (Caladenia attingens subsp. gracillima) has upswept lateral sepals and the Granite mantis orchid (Caladenia attingens subsp. effusa) has barely upswept lateral sepals, plus the lamina calli of the Small mantis orchid extend further onto the red apex than other species, which assists with identification, however is still proves difficult.

In the midst of so many mantis orchids a Western wispy spider orchid (Caladenia microchila) is found. These orchids flower July to early October over an easterly range from Kondinin to Madura. They can be found growing around granite outcrops. Other specimens were found later on in the search of this location.

Another spider orchid is found which is proving more difficult to identify. The labellum has very dark distinct red lines and the petals and sepals are quite narrow. I will be naming these orchids the Ironcaps spider orchid (Caladenia paradoxa) which can be found on granite outcrops and is said to intergrade with C. microchila at the eastern extent of it’s distribution (Wubin to Norseman). Please correct me if I’m wrong as the distribution listed does not include Peak Charles specifically.

A rufous greenhood type orchid is the next found. Various specimens are found scattered around and they differ in colour, lateral sepals positions and general aspect. Naming these orchids is proving very difficult. The specimens with long thin apically upcurved lateral sepals could be the Striped rufous greenhood (Pterostylis zebrina) which is recorded as being found between Mt Ridley to Merredin growing on or near granite outcrops.

There is a brown coloured greenhood with much shorter lateral sepals that are quite hairy looking and quite square at the top rather than being rounded. Based on this I’ll name this specimen the Straight-topped rufous greenhood (Pterostylis sp. “straight tops”) which is located between the Murchison River and Peak Charles, our current location. However this orchid is not listed in the latest reference book so please correct me if you believe I am incorrect.

Many other rufous greenhoods were found and naming them is just too difficult, so I’m just uploading some pictures with the hope that someone can provide some guidance.

An unexpected find was the Sigmoid spider orchid (Caladenia sigmoidea). For very small orchids they are quite distinct with red and cream colourings and of course the ‘S’ shaped apex to the labellum, from which it derives it’s name.

Moving on, we head south towards Peak Elenore. We don’t go far before a change in vegetation makes up stop to have a look around. First up is a rufous greenhood orchid just budding up. Then further along another lone orchid is found, however this one is in full flower. Due to the long thin sepals this orchid could be a Slender rufous greenhood (Pterostylis macrosceles). It is recorded as growing between Goomalling and Queen Victoria Rocks, which is someway North of our current location, however Florabase records it as being in the Esperance shire, so I am happy with my ID.

After 30mins of searching, nothing else is found, so we move on. This time we stop in a white sandy patch to see if anything different can be found. After a few minutes with nothing found we move on and get to the Salmon Gum patch, where we were originally going to camp after finding the camping ground full. So happy we are camping where we are as this place is rather dry and barren. However there are orchids here. First up is the Insect-lipped rufous greenhood (Pterostylis insectifera) which is located between Karroun Hill, Ravensthorpe and Norseman. An exerted labellum and down-curved lateral sepals are distinctive features.

Another orchid found could very well be the Elegant rufous greenhood (Pterostylis elegantissima) due to the wide-spaced flowers and laterally-splayed lateral sepals. The labellum is almost blackish, dark green. Unfortunately, one of my specimens two flowers has a green labellum, which disagrees with my ID. However the orchids occur in locations between Goomalling and Salmon Gums, which concurs with my ID. Another case of ID confusion!

As it’s now 12.30ish we decide to give Peak Elenore a miss and head back to camp to grab a bite of lunch. After lunch the 2 Deb’s have a rest so I head off looking for a way up onto the rock. It is way too steep close to camp so I follow the base for quite a while. At one point I stumble across a small spider orchid growing a the base of the granite. Struggled to get some good photos but they are posted below just for recording purposes. By the off white colouring I believe it to be a Common spider orchid (Caladenia varians) which is found from Kalbarri to Esperance flowering from July till mid-October.

Nearby other rufous greenhoods were found. I think some are more Striped rufous greenhoods and one with cupped lateral sepals I am unsure of.

Not finding much else I decide to leave the rock s and head into the surrounding woodland/scrub to see if anything different is found. First up only more rufous greenhoods are found then by chance a small patch of Shy greenhoods (Pterostylis allantoidea) are found. The little guys belong to the snail orchid complex and flower in the area bordered by Ravensthorpe, Coolgardie and Israelite Bay, during August and September.

Stumbled across the remnants of a Caladenia roei complex orchid then on the track back to camp some more rufous greenhoods are found.

Peak Elenore will have to wait for another visit as time has gotten away from us and this is our last night camping. Appears the rufous greenhood orchids are the dominant orchid complex at Peak Charles N. P. at this late time of the season. It was still a pleasure finding them and getting out into the “Great Outdoors”.

20/09/2020 ….. Boydell Road Bounty

Esperance, Western Australian Orchids

Very windy day with some rain. Feeling a bit unwell today, so spent the morning inside. Deb went off to her work at 2pm and I fell asleep in the Lazyboy. Was woken by some really strong winds. Decided then that I can’t waste the whole day, so went out to check on the location shared by Dana S to my post of the 19/7/2020 on my Facebook Page.

Pulling up alongside the road I venture on the south side and it is not long before I stumble across some bee orchids. Over the entire location I came across many bee orchids and they appear to be two of the locally recorded species. Smaller ones with only 2 or so basal leaves seem to be the Common bee orchid (Diuris decrementa) whilst the larger ones may be the Bee orchid (Diuris laxiflora).

Found many Lemon-scented sun orchids (Thelymitra antennifera) however no decent photos obtained as they were hardly open due to the cloudy day and the wind just defeated my attempts. The best are posted for recording purposes.

The Small mantis orchid (Caladenia attingens subsp. gracillima) starts to appear all over the location. The profile photos are great in showing how up-swept the lateral sepals are plus how the tip of the labellum tucks under.

An unexpected find was a Red beak (Pyrorchis nigricans) in flower. No recent fires here so a pleasant surprise find. Also some Cowslip orchids (Caladenia flava subsp. flava) found south and north of the road.

Then near a drainage ditch on the north side of the road I find a selection of orchids in one small location. The most obvious was the Purple enamel orchid (Elythranthera brunonis) as there were 8 flowers in view. As I moved towards them I noticed a small Zebra orchid (Caladenia cairnsiana) and whilst on my knees getting a shot I noticed the Short-sepaled spider orchids (Caladenia brevisura) hiding behind the enamel orchids.

With the light fading, wind still blowing and now being past 5pm I make tracks back home, happy in the knowledge that this new location had turned up 8 and possibly 9 orchid species.

13/09/2020 ….. Ravensthorpe Wildflower Show

Cocanarup Timber Reserve, Weekend away, Western Australian Orchids

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.