After another wonderful fully cooked breakfast, eaten for lunch this time, at the Esperance Bird & Animal Park, we head off to Helms Arboretum (Mud Map SE 35) to see if anything other than bunny orchids has shown up.
Well we are pleased to find some Banded greenhoods (Pterostylis vittata) flowering. These little beauties flower April to September in locations from Perth to Balladonia.
Single headed flower
Insect like labellum
Crowded flower heads
As we only have the afternoon to explore we jump back in the Triton and head north up the Coolgardie-Norseman Hwy to Fleming Grove Road where we take a left turn east to check out a previously successful location. We find evidence of bunny orchids and hare orchid leaves before stumbling across some more banded greenhoods sheltering under a bush. After a good 30mins or so we make tracks to the railway tracks for another explore. No luck here so onwards we go, further east, before turning south.
2 flowers hidden under bush
3 stages of development
We proved unsuccessful in finding any further orchids so have only added Pterostylis to our genera found this season.
Eriochilus, Leporella and Pterostylis, I wonder which genera will be next.
After our two weeks away it was nice to pop out to Helms Arboretum (Mud Map SE 35) to see what is in flower. Low and behold we find some White bunny orchids (Eriochilus dilatatus subsp. dilatatus). Luckily many orchids were still flowering however many more had already had their season.
What a stunner!!!
Narrow, smooth, flattened leaf 10 – 100mm long by 5 – 18mm wide
100 – 350mm high
Up to 7 flowers
Full flower shot
However some bunnies had many more flowers than the documented “up to 7”. From a recent post in the Western Australian Native Orchids FB group it appears the Common bunny orchid (Eriochilus dilatatus subsp. multiflorus) may exist locally. Flowering March to May in locations from Jurien Bay to Albany, now Esperance.
Like a watercolour
Up to 20 flowers per orchid
No other orchids found however was a pleasant few hours looking around this wonderful location.
After a busy time in Perth it is time to head back home. Saying goodbye to mum n dad we make a stop at the Spud shed for fruit and veg before heading east into the hills on the Brookton Hwy. A spur of the moment decision had us take a turn north to find Mount Dale. This proved more difficult than we anticipated as I misread our Hema Map so thought we were on Omeo Road when in fact we were on Ashendon Road. However we did finally find Mt Dale picnic area, so had a quick look around but again unsuccessful in our orchid hunt. Views over the swan coastal plain though were amazing.
Beautiful sunny day, excellent habitat but no orchids
12 seconds to strike a pose
Running short on time we make tracks, eating our lunch on the go, with Williams Road (Mud Map SE 6) our planned next stop. This area had proved successful on previous visits so we had high hopes for it again today. Yet again we came away orchid-less.
Looking down from the rocky hill
Disheartened we make tracks to see how far we could get before needing to pull over for the night. We made it to Gorge Rock Nature Reserve, east of Corrigin and make camp alongside 4 or so other caravaners. Not a great day, no orchids and not far in our travels back to Esperance. Oh well we have all day tomorrow.
After breakfast we leave the camper open for the sun to dry out the canvas whilst we go for a walk to the rock. No orchids found on the rock so we headed back, fully packed up and headed towards Kulin. Our first stop of the day was at the Kulin Road Nature Reserve. We walked around looking for around 15 minutes, however as we found nothing we soon moved on. Just west of Kulin we turned into a spot called Macrocarpa Trail. It was a circuit through a patch of Eucalyptus Macrocarpa, which we drove around, however as it was only 1.1km we could have walked it if we had more time. No orchids found but the flora was still spectacular.
Mottlecah – Common name
In Kulin we parked up to visit the toilets and discovered a great free overnight camp only metres off the main road through town. Will keep in mind for other visits. From here we head east along the Tin Horse Hwy where we make a small detour to check where Jilakin Rock was as we passed this by last year. A small parking area with some run down facilities, but as usual we are short on time, so chose to move on to Dragon Rocks Nature Reserve as a known location for orchids. At last we have been rewarded with some orchids. We find only White Bunny orchids, which appear to beCrinkle-leafed bunny orchid (Eriochilus dilatatus subsp. undulatus).
Named road , not much more than a track
Sunny day, hats needed
Up to 3 flowers
100 to 250mm high
Single, undulate-margined leaf
Only formally names in 2006
From here we make tracks for Pallarup Rocks another of our fall-back locations. We are not disappointed. More Crinkle-leafed bunny orchids and finally another species. In the very spot we had previously found Hare orchids a few years back, we again locate some Hare orchids (Leporella fimbriata).
Growing in Resurrection plant, pincushion lily “Borya constricta”
Up to 3 flowers
Frequently found in groupings
Sharp points to the Resurrection plant make taking photos painful
Arrived home in the dark but it was an enjoyable 2 day trek home, after spending 2 glorious weeks visiting family and friends.
Everything must be in 2’s, as we only found 2 Orchid species, one of which had 2 subspecies as well.
A couple of trips to Helms Arboretum (Mud Map SE35), in mid and late March did not prove successful, with not one flowering orchid discovered. We were chasing the Leafless orchid and the Pygmy orchid with a possible Bunny or Hare orchid, if the season proved early. However no such luck and as our 2 week break was fast approaching we decided to focus our attentions elsewhere until then.
Our 2 week break has arrived and we make tracks via saying goodbye to our little Grandson Oliver, for our first stop of the trip. Elverdton Road lookout just before Ravensthorpe has proved successful on previous visits but not this time. So somewhat disheartened we move on to Ravensthorpe to grab some supplies before moving on to Kukenarup Memorial west of Ravensthorpe. After having a spot of lunch we venture off on the walk trail and yeehah we find a very small Bunny orchid in flower. From the leaf shape I am naming this the Crinkle-leafed bunny orchid (Eriochilus dilatatus subsp. undulatus) which flowers April to May in a range from Northampton to east of Esperance. The orchid is limited to 3 flowers and is pollinated by native bees.
Undulating leaf margins
Leaf high up the stem
No more than 3 flowers
Very close by, Debbie finds a Hare orchid (Leporella fimbriata) which flower March to June in a range from north of Kalbarri to Israelite Bay. They may have up to four flowers per orchid and are pollinated by flying ants. Another flowering specimen and other yet to flower specimens found.
Erect ear-like petals
Broad fringed labellum
Flower compared to index finger
Lateral sepals yet to drop
Nothing more found, so we hit the road again before stopping for the night at Chirelillup Nature Reserve, a few kms east of Gnowangerup. Set up the camper, then enjoyed a well earned glass of wine. A quick look around before dark, however no orchids in flower found.
Camper all set up, so time for a rest
Chirelillup Nature Reserve
Moving on we pass through Gnowangerup to Broomehill, to check out the starting point of our planned trek in Aug/Sept this year. Tasted some wine, it was after 11am, purchased some cheesecake for lunch and headed off to Kojonup. Here we visited the Myrtle Ben Flora and Fauna Sanctuary (Mud Map SC8) and walked around the White Sister’s Loop trail but did not find any orchids in flower. Possibly a better spot later in the season. We ate lunch on the Triton’s tailgate then onwards towards Dinninup. We stop along the way twice at what looked promising sites but nothing found, so a little disheartened we finally arrive at Bellside, the farm home of cousin Kerry and her family. After a wonderful catch-up over a pot of tea, we make tracks towards Nannup where we hope to find somewhere to camp along the way. Past Bridgetown we pull into the Bridgetown Jarrah Park, set camp, cook dinner then crash after the obligatory game of Yahtzee.
View of our breakfast setting
Bridgetown Jarrah Park
Dusk in the Jarrah forest
After breakfast we break camp, before heading off on a bush walk. We chose to walk the Fallers Brand Trail, which incorporates the Shield Tree Trail. It is so good to be back in the forest. No orchids in flower, however we did find some Bunny orchid leaves in bud as well as many Slipper orchid leaves. Deb finds a huge spent inflorescence of a Slipper orchid. A few weeks late it seems. The walk was enjoyable, even though it started drizzling halfway through. At marker 6 we cross the creek bed to marker 5 and backtrack to our camp site. On the way to Nannup we call into Karri Gully and take the walk trail hoping to find something in flower. Again no such luck but the forest felt so fresh and alive due to the drizzle. We visit a friend from Esperance who now lives outside of Nannup, where we enjoy a tour of their farmlet which borders the Blackwood River followed by a wonderful lunch. We now make tracks for Dalyellup where we are staying with friends from our time in Manjimup for the night. Old rivalries are relived as men v girls in a game or two of Canasta. Then we head off to Kmart for midnight shopping …Interesting way to end the day.
Bridgetown Jarrah Park
Bridgetown Jarrah Park
Bridgetown Jarrah Park
Unfortunately burnt out
Following a leisurely breakfast we visit Deb’s cousin Alison who lives in nearby Australind. After a few cups of coffee and a great chat we backtrack to Donnybrook to visit another friend from our Manjimup days. We now head into the hills at Waroona along Nanga Brook Road, then Nanga Road before setting up our camper in my brothers backyard at my childhood home town of Dwellingup. This will be our base for the next few days and as we guessed, the nights are going to be cold.
Nanga Brook Road – Mining overpass
Enjoying breakfast in the Lizard Lounge, the name given to their gazebo, is a great way to start the day. After having morning tea with Geoff and Robyn we go for a walk downtown then relax back at “The Corner Cottage”, the name given to their house, until lunch. After lunch we head down to the Dwellingup visitors Centre to grab info on the Marrinup POW Camp. We get side tracked as usual and visit Marrinup Falls first andtake the walk circuit, in the hope of finding some orchids due the environments traversed. Granite rocks, Creek bed and Jarrah/Marri forest.
Granite outcrop with many rock cairns
Waiting on the rains to start flowing
Some of the steps
Lost our way back to the POW camp so we had to 4WD along the power lines. After finding the parking area we hit the walk trail. I was unaware the POW’s were actually Italians from the war in North Africa and later the Germans were transferred from Victoria. I always thought they were Italians and Germans who lived in Australia but may have had allegiances with their mother country. The actual foundations etc were great however the interpretive signage was in a very poor state. The flower beds in the shapes of card suits and the fish pond were a change from the rigidity of life as a POW. Again no orchids found.
Walk Trail entrance to POW site
Some of the foundations remaining
We all headed down to the Premier Hotel in Pinjarra for the $10 steak night, where we caught up with my sisters, other family and friends to enjoy each others company at my late nephews local watering hole. However in less than 1 hour and barely finished eating my $10 steak, Geoff abducted me and whisked me off to Mandurah to play in his carpet bowling team. What a mistake that was. We came away with chocolates as the worst team on the night. Before heading home we popped into sister Maxine’s place for a cuppa. A late night tonight.
Breaky in the Lizard Lounge before heading off to Pinjarra with Robyn to buy supplies. First up we hit the chemist as Deb wasn’t feeling flash so needed some antihistamines and Panadol, then to Dome for morning tea. I grab a bacon and egg roll with chutney, whilst the girls only grabbed a coffee. I was so full that I missed out on Robyn’s homemade lunch of savoury croissants.
After lunch Geoff and Deb are going fishing so as I had nothing else better to do I tag along. The Dawesville Channel (Cut) is the chosen fishing spot where it is cold and windy with a shower or two of rain thrown in. Deb caught the only keepable fish, a 28cm flounder. Other fish caught were either inedible or under size. Grabbing a snack from Red Rooster for the drive home, where Robyn has cooked a wonderful tasty lasagne. Early night to bed after watching some of the Commonwealth Games highlights.
Was colder than it looks
The only legal, edible fish caught
Pity they are under size
Getting late..Time to go home
Late breakfast in front of the TV before we visit the Forest Heritage Centre. Firstly we check out the workshop and gallery then hit the walk trail. OMG we finally come across a flowering orchid. It is a white bunny orchid. The camera is still in the Triton so we back track to grab it then recommence our orchid hunt. Further orchids are found which all appear to be Common bunny orchid (Eriochilus dilatatus subsp. multiflorus) which is a new orchid to us as it is found between Perth and Albany in the months of March to May. These bunny orchids can have up to 20 flowers and when first flowering the leaf can be quite immature and continues to develop afterwards.
Up to 20 flowers per stem
Prominently down-curved labellum
White forward facing lateral sepals
Macro photography is getting down on the ground
Found in the specimen display for April in the Forest Heritage Centre
Tree top walk with emus down below
We completed the walk trail with no further finds but experienced the colourful emu figures, 11mtr tall wooden tree top walk, mother kangaroo and her older joey and the beauty of the Jarrah forest. Back to town for lunch at the local Blue Wren Café, then a drive out Holyoke way. We stop at a promising spot under sheaoks but it proved otherwise. So back in the Triton for a slow drive along the track with heads out the windows. Unbelievably I saw a lone White bunny orchid at the side of the road only centimetres from a tyre track, so we have to get some photos.
Small dull green and red petals
Smooth flattened leaf
White forward spreading lateral sepals
How low can you go
Further along the track we find some Easter lilies growing along the side of the track in a creek bed. Back to town and Deb busies herself with getting tea on whilst Geoff and I go for a walk to the cemetery. Along the way he points out a banksia growing in a rock and nearby a few metres off the track I spy another lone white bunny orchid. this is the first one Geoff has ever seen. After the sombre visit we make our way back home through the bush on the north side of the road where the soli was sandy, compared to the south side of the road , our usual route, where the soil is gravel. Possible Leafless orchid territory. Well the day ended with finding the White bunny orchid is 3 locations around Dwellingup, which is a first for us.
Growing in small soil pocket on top of granite rock
Family day today…. Tim our youngest son arrives mid morning so I get out the Finska game, which proves difficult to play on Geoff’s luscious green lawn. However we persevere, Geoff mowing a patch lower, with playing multiple games, interrupted by Tim’s drone flying. A special treat of Mr Whippy is enjoyed thanks to Tim and Deb. After lunch, Tim, Deb and I head out to visit Megan, Geoff and Robyn’s daughter, in her recently purchased country cottage. Tanika my sister Maxine’s daughter is already there, so we have a tour around Megan’s property, inspecting the dam, chooks, parrots and sheds. 2 marron await our consumption at dinner, as we sit around under the gazebo chatting and enjoying a cold drink. Back to Dwellingup and the Corner Cottage where we enjoy a family dinner, including the marron and flounder, playing more Finska, flying the drone and of course eating and drinking. Richard had also arrived for the evenings festivities which concluded with us playing Cards Against Humanity, Last Word and Phase 10. A great night with Geoff, Robyn, Megan, Tanika, Tim and Richard.
There it is
Note the mown down square
Today we are travelling the Fawcett Track which runs from Nanga Townsite to Quindanning. We pile into the Triton, Debbie the driver, Geoff the navigator and Robyn, Richard and myself in the back seat. the drive takes us through the beautiful Jarrah forest along the banks of the Murray River then the Hoffman River. We even came across a creek flowing strongly with crystal clear water. Where we crossed over the Murray River we stopped for morning tea. Here we got to watch wrens, robins and silvereyes flitting around. I was lucky enough to spy a firetail finch. From here we encountered a deep wheel rutted ditch which Debbie manoeuvred brilliantly only scrapping the underside which proved superficial at worst. Our destination of Quindanning was reached where we enjoyed a cold bevy and awesome lunch.
Enjoying a cuppa – Geoff, Deb, Me, Robyn, Richard
Morning tea location
The mighty Triton made it… no worries
Geoff and Richard at the deepest point.
Wonderful lunch in the beer garden
After lunch we head east to Williams to check out the Woolshed. A quick check out the back of the Op shop opposite the Woolshed provides us with a pack of BIG chalk, a straw hat and a child’s book. We make it into the Woolshed with minutes to spare as the kitchen was closing up. We ordered cuppas and cake, before checking out the Shearing Industry display and retail shops in the complex. We leave at 4.05pm with the doors being closed and locked behind us. Moving on we head north along the Albany Hwy where I point out the Williams Nature Reserve, so we turn off the Hwy and head in. Comments were made around the suitability of the woodland for orchids and echidnas, when what do we find crossing the road but an echidna. Everybody jumps out of the Triton for a closer look, at the now stationary animal. Geoff and I head off up the road, whilst Debbie, Robyn and Richard encourage the echidna off the road and hunt down some scats, which will be sent off for research as a part of an App Debbie has on her phone. No orchids were found , so we jump back in the Triton for the drive back to Dwellingup, via Boddington. Geoff kept us all amused by making up songs. Back in Dwellingup, we say farewell to Richard as he heads home , whilst the rest of us collapse in front of the TV.
Standing still until we move away
Time to make a move
Today we celebrate our 30th Wedding Anniversary.
After breakfast we pack up the camper, then head up to the Dwellingup Pre-primary to have morning tea with Geoff and Robyn who are working today, as it is Monday. We say our goodbyes and head down to Mandurah to catch up with my sister Maxine for lunch. Her daughter Tanika also shows up, so the 4 of us enjoy lunch together. From there we pop into to see mum, who is looking well and was very chatty. Started colouring another page of her book before, all to soon it was time to leave, so she could enjoy her afternoon tea. We arrive at Debbie’s parent s place which is our home for a few days, whilst the camper gets a service. Mum cooks up a wonderful dinner and we crack open our Goldleaf sparkly to celebrate our anniversary.
After a weekend of fishing we head out to Helms Arboretum (Mud Map SE35) on a long weekend Monday, to see what has changed whilst we were away on our Road Trip. First up are the usual suspects : Common bee orchids (Diuris decrementa), Cowslip orchids (Caladenia flava subsp flava), Lemon-scented sun orchid (Thelymitra antennifera), Purple enamel orchid (Elythranthera brunonis) and Esperance king spider orchid (Caladenia decora)
Profile of twins
Pale yellow colouration
Looks very glossy when wet
These guys were all found prior to our Road Trip as well, so the search now is for anything new. Well we are not disappointed, as we find a patch with many White spider orchids. Some appear to be the Rigid white spider orchid (Caladenia longicauda subsp. rigidula) as the petals and lateral sepals are stiffly spread. One had white fringe segments and the other red, same with the calli. This orchid is found between Ravensthorpe and Israelite Bay from August to early October.
White labellum with 4 or more rows of pale red calli
Relatively, short spreading petals and lateral sepals
Other white spider orchids were found which seem to be another species or subspecies. Some appear to be the Esperance white spider orchid (Caladenia longicauda subsp. crassa) which flowers August to early October as well, but ranges from Jerramungup to Cape Arid. The flowers are larger with broader petals and sepals.
Large white labellum, with narrow fringe segments
Broad spreading petals and lateral sepals
The other appears to be the Reclining spider orchid (Caladenia cruscula) due to its short labellum and short petals and lateral sepals. This one flowers August to September and ranges between Salmon Gums and Mt Ragged. So we are a bit south of this range
Narrow fringe segments
With so many variables and possibilities my naming of the above orchids is quite likely incorrect, so please let me know your thoughts. However the next orchid is more recognisable. The Zebra orchid (Caladenia cairnsiana) can only be confused with the Dwarf Zebra orchid which is found in inland areas and has a incurved dorsal sepal.
Up-swept, red-striped labellum
Petals and lateral sepals hang down surrounding the ovary
Erect dorsal sepal
Final orchids found were more Cowslip orchids in good numbers. Some pics taken then off we go to have our big catch of fish weighed.
Held up from the ground
Quite a good clumping
This was our final orchid adventure of the 2017 West Australian orchid season. I hope you have enjoyed reading about our adventures as much as we enjoyed having them. 2018 will prove a more challenging year as we move into our newly built home in April/May. So we will be busy painting, putting up fences, laying lawn, landscaping and numerous other tasks. This will reduce the hours available for Orchid Adventures, so we will see how the new year progresses. Until then take care.
As we came home early from our Road Trip we had to finish our holidays with a final orchid hunt. What better place to check out than Boyatup Hill (Mud Map SE40) . Like Helms Arboretum, Boyatup never disappoints. Arriving at 10am we immediately go exploring for orchids. Our first orchid is the Purple enamel orchid ( Elythranthera brunonis). Closely followed by the small Diuris orchid, from the Bee orchid complex. From the habitat found and the small stature of the plants they appear to be the Common bee orchid (Diuris decrementa).
Small, yellow, brown marked flowers
Forward projecting lateral sepals
Pinkish colour variant
Two large, black basal calli
In close proximity we come across a Red beak (Pyrorchis nigricans), Cowslip orchids (Caladenia flava subsp. flava), more Purple enamel orchids and Common bee orchids.
Common, red marked yellow flowers
Distinctive red and white flowers
Up to five flowers per plant
Great family shot
Then prior to hopping back in the Triton we find some Lemon-scented sun orchids (Thelymitra antennifera) and what appears to be an Esperance king spider orchid (Caladenia decora) nearing the end of it’s season.
Small antennae like column lobes
Stiffly held petals and sepals
We now pass through the gravel pit and head up the track to a spot that allows us to turn around, where we get out have morning tea, then head on up the overgrown track on foot, towards the granite outcrop. Along this overgrown track we find some Pink candy orchids (Caladenia hirta subsp. rosea), more Cowslip orchids and Esperance king spider orchids, plus some of the small, Zebra orchids (Caladenia cairnsiana).
Short, spreading petals and lateral sepals
Red tipped labellum
Upright dorsal sepal
As mentioned Boyatup is a great location and as proof we have already found 8 varieties in the first half hour of looking. What will a few hours bring? We can’t wait to find out.
Next orchid found was a Pointing spider orchid (Caladenia exstans) which is only found between Esperance and Israelite Bay from September to early November.
Named after the labellum projecting forwards
Smooth margined labellum
More yellow spied. Cowslips and Lemon-scented sun orchids found.
Enjoying the sunshine
Red colouring is varaible
No scrub will stop them finding the sun
3 is a crowd
Then to our surprise we find a Beautiful donkey orchid (Diuris pulchella), very near it’s season end, but still showing off it’s mauve colouring.
The beautiful mauve colouring
Found north and east of Esperance
The further along we walk the more we find. More Zebra, Cowslip, Pink Candy, Pointing spider and Beautiful donkey orchids, then something new for the day. We break out of the overgrown track onto an open, damp, low granite rock space about the size of a soccer pitch and find a Blue china orchid (Cyanicula gemmata ), but exact identification is uncertain as 3 different species can be found in this location.
Short, scattered labellum lamina calli
Mauve-blue to purple flowers
Next orchids found were a small grouping of a Caladenia hybrid. One parent is the Cowslip orchid but deciding the other was proving difficult. The other parent does not appear to be the usual Pink fairy orchids as the dorsal sepal hangs forward over the column, which is a feature of the Pink fans. Reviewing the site esperancewildflowers.blogspot.com.au and the Spider Orchids EBook 2018 it appears the other parent to be the Little pink fan orchid. I would never have picked this due to the recorded location being West of Bremer Bay. So in my research the EBook mentions a hybrid between these two orchids being photographed in Esperance and the Esperance wildflowers blog records finding the Little pink fan orchid within his 160km radius of Esperance. So I am recording these orchids as (Caladenia flava x Caladenia nana) an unnamed hybrid.
Beautiful little hybrid
View from above
Forward facing dorsal sepal, typical of C. nana
Colours of both parents
Before leaving this open area we find our smallest orchid of the day. A Laughing leek orchid (Prasophyllum macrostachyum) which is found September through January in a range from Dongara to Cape le Grand. We are 50km East of this range however the flowers appear wider spaced, lateral sepals are shorter and dorsal sepal is wider, than the related Little laughing leek orchid, so I am happy with my classification.
Flowers more widely spaced that the Little laughing leek orchid
Still a very small orchid
The track becomes over grown again and we find a lone spider orchid. Appears to be a Western wispy spider orchid (Caladenia microchila) although this is far from certain
The most Eastern spider orchid
Smaller labellum than other wispy’s
Then we come to the low prickly scrub which leads up to the Granite outcrop. Close to the base of the rock is a thick woodland but for now we are searching in thigh high bushes. Amazingly we find a Rattle Beak (Lyperanthus serratus) growing under one of the bushes bordering the track. Further along we find more Rattle beaks pushing through the prickly shrubs.
Up to 10 dull flowers
Single, long, narrow, leathery leaf 200 – 400mm long by 12-16 mm wide
Densely hairy yellow-white labellum
Narrow forward facing petals and lateral sepals
We don’t have time or inclination to bush bash to the granite rock so after a few more minutes finding further Purple enamel, Pointing spider, Esperance king spider and Zebra orchids we back track to the Triton and move on to another location closer to home, only just.
Big brother watching over
Smooth margined labellum
Flower only 15mm high
On a track named Bebenorin Rd we first come across what appeared to be another Esperance king spider orchid, but on closer inspection I believe it to be a Heberle’s spider orchid (Caladenia herberleana) due to the narrow clubbing of the lateral sepals. These flower September and October in a range from Augusta to Cape Arid which causes them to grow in the same area and at a similar time to the Esperance king spider orchid which makes it difficult to distinguish between them.
Long, slender, rather indistinct petal and sepal clubs
4 or more rows of pale to deep red calli
Red-tipped labellum with long fringe segments
Pale red, white and yellow flowers 60-120mm across
Close by we find some Dancing spider orchids (Caladenia discoidea) and more Cowslip orchids, this time with longer, thinner lateral sepals.
Pale green and red rounded labeluum
Longer thinner lateral sepals than the standard shape
Another first for the day is the Common mignonette orchid (Microtis media) which flowers September through January and ranges from Shark Bay to Eyre, one of the largest ranges of the orchid family in WA.
Curled lateral sepals
Each small flower has a hood like dorsal sepal
Up to 100 yellowish-green flowers
Maybe a pollinator
Getting hungry so we head off to Thomas River for lunch, but not before taking a few more pics.
Awesome coloured tips to the sepals and petals
Wonder where they got the Wispy name from?? LOL
Short spreading petals and sepals
King spider orchid
Four rows of squat labellum calli
Nice off centre shot
Large spider orchid flowers 60-120mm across
Just at the entrance to the National Park we find some more Rattle beaks, Lemon-scented sun orchids, Purple enamel orchids and Bee orchids, however only got good pics of the Rattle beaks.
Prominent hood-like dorsal sepal
We decide to have lunch at the top campground as they have undercover seating. First though we check out the beach and take a walk up the trail for a bit, looking for the patch of leaves we found months earlier. Nothing doing, so we head back to have lunch. On the track in, Deb spies some blue and we are lucky enough to find a solitary Coastal sun orchid (Thelymitra granitora) with a Lemon-scented sun orchid neighbour.
Maroon-tipped flower bract
Column with smooth, yellow-crested mid lobe
Broad spreading petals and sepals
We park the Triton in one of the camping bays and quickly look around, finding a Pointing spider orchid and a King spider orchid, species unknown due to it’s petals and lateral sepals being nibbled off.
Upswept lateral seapls
Petals and lateral sepals nibbled away
After lunch we make our way to the Len Otte nature trail. At the base of the first rise we find a small Laughing leek orchid and further up a some Pink fairies (Caladenia latifolia) and Common bee orchids.
Smooth tubular leaf
Stiffly spreading petals and sepals
Tri-lobed labellum, short fringe segments, two rows calli
Small, yellow, brown marked flowers
Moving through a wooded part of the trail we find some Western wispy spider orchids, before coming out onto the next clearing. Here we get the fright of our life, with a big, black, curled up snake hiding in the low bushes. We keep to the track from now on, no bush bashing, so to speak.
Stiffly held petals and sepals
Two rows of white calli
Birds-eye view of group
OMG this scared us
Now to add to our day the heavens open up and it starts to rain. We try to hurry back but the I see another Blue sun orchid, which appears to be another Coastal sun orchid. Then just as the rain and wind picks up we find some Rabbit orchids (Leptoceras menziesii) in a new location for this nature trail. Photos with it raining and your lenses fogging up, is not an easy task.
Not fully open given the weather
Narrow, erect, ear-like petals
Broad, forward spreading lateral sepals
Up to 5 red and white flowers
Nearby Deb finds a lone Snail orchid. From location and the length of the lateral sepals I am naming it Ravensthorpe snail orchid (Pterostylis sp. ‘ Ravensthorpe’), which is found from Stirling Ranges to Esperance, flowering August and September.
United dorsal sepal and petals forming a blunt hood
Rosette of leaves, 20 to 50mm across
Long, erect lateral sepals, 10 – 25 mm long
Still getting wet, but unperturbed, we still search whilst walking quickly back and find some more spider orchids and cowslip orchids. No good photos though, due to rain and fogging lenses, so will not post them. Well this was quite a day of orchid hunting, as our holidays draw to an end. However we did finish on a high – 22 species found in just over 4hours of searching.