Dempster Head on a windy afternoon


On a fine but windy afternoon we decide to spend a couple hours traipsing around Dempster Head (Mud Map SE34) with the hope of finding some orchids in flower. I finally find a Mosquito orchid (Cyrtostylis robusta) in flower, underneath an overhanging bush in the quite bushy area just above the steps from the gazebo. Not that we walked the steps, we came from the other direction 🙂 Mosquito orchids flower June to August in a range from Perth to Israelite Bay.

Back towards where the boardwalk steps down I find the wonderful little Eastern granite snail orchid (Pterostylis voigtii) which only occurs between Esperance and Israelite Bay in the months July to early September. These are the smallest of the snail orchids in WA, reaching a height of only 50mm.

Other snail orchids and mosquito orchids found. We did not find the Shell orchids from the previous year though 😦



Boyatup – 1st visit of the 17/18 Season


Mid morning we head off along Fisheries Road east to Boyatup. Our first point of call is a gravel pit just past where the bitumen runs out. After driving slowly in and checking the spot where we found Redbeaks last year, we come up empty, with nothing worthy found. So we head back to Boyatup Hill ( Mud Map SE 40 ) and head in on the track. First find is a Donkey Orchid which has something foreign stuck on it’s labellum, while his stem mate has his labellum nibbled off a bit. Green Range donkey orchid (Diuris sp. ‘Green Range’).

Further along the track Deb spots the first Spider orchid, so we park up and have a good look around. Western wispy spider orchid (Caladenia microchila)  is the only species I am certain of that is included in our finds, however they would all belong to the Filamentosa complex.

Profile comparison photos – Wispy spider orchids, unsure of exact species though.

Whilst I am on the ground taking photos Deb yells with excitement. She has found the first King Spider orchid of this season, in full flower. Only the one, but a great find. Esperance king spider orchid (Caladenia decora) 

Many more variations of Wispy spider orchids found so had to take more snaps

Further along the track we finally find some different orchids. Deb spots the first fully formed Jug Orchid (Pterostylis recurva). A sole snail orchid of unknown species is also found.

Then a patch of blue grabs our attention. A Blue beard (Pheladenia deformis) which appears to be double headed, however two very close stems prove this to be two individuals flowers.

This is how we get our photos. Very close to the subject. Wind and shadows can be tricky

The track is getting a bit overgrown so Deb parks the Triton up and whilst waiting for me, who is walking the track, she finds some Mosquito orchids (Cyrtostylis robusta) . A bite to eat then we both set off on foot towards Boyatup Hill.

First finding is another Jug orchid which is nearly fully opened, followed by some more Mosquito orchids and then a Robust snail orchid (Pterostylis dilatata).

Further along more Jugs, Mosquitoes growing in the median strip of the track and Blue beards in a wet mossy area.

We then break out from woodlands into open health and find some more donkey orchids and a patch of snails Fawn snail orchid (Pterostylis parva) again in the median strip of the track. Also a lone Hare orchid (Leporella fimbriata) and some more Spider orchids are found.

We now keep trekking along and start skirting the hill looking for a way up as the rocks look very steep from this side. Unfortunately the track runs out so we bash our way through and scramble onto the rock only to be driven back by a bees nest. So we push around the base of the rock and cross over a vegetated gully, where we find some Banded greenhoods (Pterostylis vittata),  to finally get on the rock.

After looking around the rock we make our way to the side where our bush track is and Deb finds a likely way down. No orchids were found on the rock which was disappointing however the views are amazing. We made the way down the rocks on our backsides as it was very steep and slippery. Safely on the ground we now bash through the bush and find the track back to the Triton. More photos of Spiders, Snails and Blue Beard orchids taken on the walk back along the track.

Arrived back at the Triton and had a cuppa then decided it was time to head home as it is getting on to 4pm. We get back onto Fisheries Rd and head west, when we decide to check out the track just before the line of pine trees. This  patch was shared with us by Deb Witt, a fellow orchid and nature lover. A short way in we pull over for a look but nothing grabs our attention. I decide to walk ahead whilst Deb continues her search on the opposite side of the track. Only found a few rosettes before I see a flower that looks orchid like so I check it out.. WooHoo it is a Dancing spider orchid (Caladenia discoidea).

The further along we go the more we find, however some look at little different with longer sepals and colour variations. Hybrids??? It is now getting late so we turn around and on the way back we even find some Wispy Spider orchids. Then low and behold a solitary Donkey orchid. Being 5pm the light is fading fast so last photos taken with flash.

Boyatup Hill lives up to the reputation of my Mud Map reference book as we found:

Green Range donkey orchid (Diuris sp. ‘Green Range’).

Western wispy spider orchid (Caladenia microchila)  

Esperance king spider orchid (Caladenia decora)

Jug Orchid (Pterostylis recurva)

Blue beard (Pheladenia deformis)

Mosquito orchids (Cyrtostylis robusta)

Robust snail orchid (Pterostylis dilatata)

Fawn snail orchid (Pterostylis parva)

Hare orchid (Leporella fimbriata)

Banded greenhoods (Pterostylis vittata)

Dancing spider orchid (Caladenia discoidea)

plus snail and wispy spider orchids which I was not confident to name and the possible Hybrid Dancing spider orchids.

Condingup calling


Again we head Eastwards but this time we head out to Condingup with a detour down to the coast at Duke of Orleans Bay (The Duke). On the drive down to The Duke we pass the boundary of  Cape Le Grand National Park, which has been burnt off, so we find a track and go in to check it out. We find nothing driving North so we venture deeper into the park by following a track West. Amazingly I spied a Snail orchid so we stop to investigate this are a further. Not real sure of the species and only one decent pic taken however Deb finds a lone Spider orchid further into the scrub.

With it’s small labellum it may be a Western wispy spider orchid (Caladenia microchila) or a Common spider orchid (Caladenia vulgata) due to white calli.

Looking further afield nothing much is found, however on moving back to the Triton I find a lone snail orchid which appears to have been knocked over by a kangaroo or other animal. Standing him back to attention I grab some snaps and then realise he is a Robust snail orchid (Pterostylis dilatata) due to having no rosette. A non flowering rosette though is very close by.

Deb them gives me a call as she has found some more Spider orchids. These now appear to be Western Wispy’s.

We move down to the coast and even though we go to numerous different locations we find nothing in flower. The closest we get is a large spider orchid close to the creek so I just had to record this.

So we leave the coast and head back inland to Condingup, however we decide to take a track just south of town and follow this till we reach a dead-end in a gravel pit. Nothing in flower again so we make tracks to our old stomping ground, Condingup Peak. (Mud Map SE 39)

First point of call is the rocky outcrop at the top of the hill. Leaves spotted again so we are getting a bit disheartened, when I spy this wonderful hood of snail orchids growing in the moss on the rock. It appears to be a hood of Brittle snail orchids (Pterostylis timothyi) 

Close by are some smaller snail orchids which appear to be Eastern granite snail orchids (Pterostylis sp. ‘miniature’) . I capture a photo of a possible pollinator as it disappears into the orchid after I capture the shot.

Whilst I busy taking photos of the snails Deb looks around and finds a sole Mosquito orchid (Cyrtostylis robusta) in flower in a patch of many leaves.

Away from the rocks now on a sandy track are more snail orchids. The rosette is small and bluish with small flowers, so appears to be Fawn snail orchid (Pterostylis parva).

We then make our way back to the Triton for arvo tea, then I walk back along the sand track towards the gravel road down the hill and notice some more snail orchids at the side of the track. As I stand upright I glance to the other side of the track and there all on it’s lonesome is a Beautiful donkey orchid (Diuris pulchella).

Deb then comes along in the Triton, so I hop in for a drive down the gravel road to a spot we have found Bird orchids before. Deb jumps out and finds 4 small rosettes of sprouting bird orchids, quite a way from flowering yet, so we need to revisit in a few weeks to try and catch the flower in full bloom.

We then move down to our usual spot on the hill, but as we only have 15 mins to spare we only find a late Hare orchid (leporella fimbriata). Time to make tracks as Deb starts work at 5pm.

Hare orchid
Twins saying goodbye to the season


Coolinup calling – Pt 2


We move to a different location on the other side of Coolinup Road and have a bite to eat for lunch. Whilst eating and having a cuppa after taking a selfie on a mound of gravel, we notice some snail and greenhood orchids. On closer inspection they are Dark banded greenhood (Pterostylis sanguinea) and Fawn snail orchid (Pterostylis parva). Then right next to the Triton Deb spies another Spider orchid which appears to be a Western Wispy spider orchid (Caladenia microchila) as the calli on the labellum have red colouring to them. This is promising!!!!

On the walk around we locate more snails, spiders and greenhoods. I even came across a dodgy looking hare orchid.

We then move onto the small granite rock area on Coolinup Road. (Mud Map SE 38) We again had to bush bash our way in as the recent rain had created a large puddle over our access. Once through Deb finds some Mosquito orchids (Cyrtostylis robusta) in flower under the bushes so we do the best we can to get some photos. Only 1 OK one though taken.

The we head home via one more stop. The granite rock at the corner of Le Grande Road and Merivale Road. The east side track was taken up to an abandoned picnic area. Here I find a solitary snail orchid well past its prime.

We then venture up the incline and find many many Cyrtostylis leaves,  a few Pyrorchis leaves and groups of Caladenia leaves. Finally find some Mosquito orchids in flower and one Red Beak orchid budding up.

The wind is blowing a gale and it is freezing with light fading fast so we make tracks back to the Triton and head back down the track to Merivale Road. One lone Spider orchid I spy so jump out for some quick photos as the rain starts. Great timing to finish the day.

Final orchid of the day but today confirms the time of the SPIDERS has arrived

Solo search


Quick visit to Dempster Head ( Mud Map SE 34 ) to check on the progress o the orchids found last visit and to see if anything new has popped it’s head up. First batch of round leaves had buds growing but nothing in full flower. From the buds they will be a Cyrtostylis species. Found the spot where the Mosquito orchid (Cyrtostylis robusta) was last time and on the other side of the bush I found some better specimens.

The shell orchid found partially out was located now fully in bloom and confirmed to be a Curled-tongue shell orchid (Pterostylis rogersii) with a few more partially formed neighbours. I then took into the bush on a wider inspection of the area in the hope of finding something new. Found more shell and mosquito orchids and a large area of what appears to be Rabbit orchid leaves.

Almost forgot to check on the Eastern granite snail orchid (Pterostylis sp. ‘miniature’ ) to see if he had any buddies yet. Located him and he happened to have one new friend. Nothing new found today so will re-visit in a few weeks to see what can be found as there were many leaves of what appear to be Diuris and Caladenia species.

New Location – Mt Ney


Today we headed out to a new location called Mount Ney which is around 100kms NW of Esperance. First stop was a track off Coolinup Road just past Lane Road . I spotted some Banded Greenhood (Pterostylis vittata) so jumped out and grabbed some photos. A little further along a solitary Snail orchid was found. New find Brittle snail orchid (Pterostylis timothyi) . Found July through September between Lake Cronin and Esperance.

Whilst I took the photo of the new snail orchid Deb wanders into the scrub on her side of the road and gives me a yell. She has found a spent Scented autumn leek orchid (Prasophyllum sp. early) and very close by many Hare orchid leaves.

We are walking along some tracks made by vehicles pushing through the scrub to get around the road which must get very boggy when wet. Luckily for us this is not the case today, however the tyres get caked in mud. On this bush bash track I stumble across 4 little Pink bunny orchids (Eriochilus scaber subsp. Scaber). So exciting as we were only looking for these yesterday at Lake Monjingup, as that was the first and only place we had ever seen these orchids before. Pink bunny orchids flower July through September between Jurien Bay and Cape Arid National Park.

Next find are another new breed of Snail Orchid – Robust snail orchid (Pterostylis dilatata) which is found May to August between Geraldton and Israelite Bay. Previously found in Mondurup Reserve in Mt Barker back in July 2015. Further past their best Hare orchids found then another type of snail orchid is found by Deb. Will call these Fawn snail orchid (Pterostylis sp. ‘small stature’) due to the grey-green or blueish prominently veined rosette of leaves and the faint fawn colour to the flower. Fawn snail orchids flower from June to August and range from Southern Cross to Israelite Bay.

Came across some better Hare Orchids (Leporella fimbriata) so took some snaps before jumping in the Triton and making tracks to the planned destination.

Turning North off the now track that is called Howick Road we skirt along a farmers boundary until we reach what we feel is the closest we will get to the granite outcrop named Mount Ney. Prior to reaching the granite we only find some Hare orchid leaves which is not promising. Once on the rock Deb’s keen eye though finds some Banded Greenhood (Pterostylis vittata) and then some Mosquito orchid (Cyrtostylis robusta) hiding under fallen branches. I had walked only 1 metre away but did not see the Mosquito orchids.

We saw so many spent White bunny orchids and yet to flower Donkey orchids, with Caladenia and Thelymitra leaves thrown in for good measure. Only flowers found were some more Banded greenhoods so we decided to make tracks back down hill to the Triton as it was past lunch time.

View from Mt Ney
Walking back down

Then there it was, the one and only Donkey orchid in flower. OMG we were beginning to think we would have to come back to see them in flower. It was a Beautiful donkey orchid (Diuris pulchella) which flowers July to September and is found between Salmon Gums, Esperance and Balladonia.

After lunch and nearly at the end of Coolinup Road (Mud Map SE 38)  we stop at the little granite outcrop we had visited back on the 14/05/2017. I venture to the left and Deb takes the right. I discover a lot of leaves for an unknown orchid (Rabbit orchid?) when Deb hollows out for me to come and look. It appears Deb has located some Dark banded greenhoods (Pterostylis sanguinea) which is another new find for this season. They flower from June to September and range between Mullewa and Toolinna Cove.

Many other leaves found but nothing yet in flower. We head home as Deb starts her shift at 5pm.

A great day out with 9 different orchids found

Dempster head re-visited


Off to check on the progress of the orchids leaves and buds we found a few weeks back on the Rotary Lookout Walk Trail up on Dempster Head.  (Mud Map SE 34) The first successful find was a lone Snail Orchid which was very short however the snail flower head was as large as taller specimens found in previous seasons. From looking through my orchid books I will name this one Eastern granite snail orchid (Pterostylis sp. ‘miniature’.) This orchid is found from July to early September between Esperance and Israelite Bay.

Next came the first flowering Cyrtostylis orchid found this season. A single flowering Mosquito orchid (Cyrtostylis robusta) was found in a group where some other flowering specimens looked dead and damaged. So many leaves with buds at varying stages of growth were found in many places along the trail. Mosquito orchids flower June to August and range from Perth to Israelite Bay.

Then just before the small wooden pathway steps I found some very close to flowering Shell Orchids. The photos show a dark colouring so may be Curled-tongue shell orchid (Pterostylis rogersii) as they flower June to August and range between Binningup and Esperance. Will need to confirm at next visit.

We complete our walk and decide to take a quick trip out to Lake Monjingup Reserve to check on progress. We walked around the trail and only found one Banded Greenhood (Pterostylis vittata) for our troubles. Varied orchid leaves found but nothing yet flowering.

Banksias though were in full bloom with the Swamp Banksia (Banksia occidentalis) looking very colourful.

So we located 4 different species today which was not too bad going for a winters day.