06/09/2021 ….. Dwellingup to Wellington National Park

Manea Park, National Parks, Numerous days, Other Reserves, Road Trip, Wellington NP, Western Australian Orchids

After a fun night sharing Father’s Day with my brother in Dwellingup, we awake to a fine sunny day. Then after breakfast, we make tracks for the coastal plain. The first orchid stop for the day is at an unnamed Nature Reserve on Burnside Road in Meelon. First up we find the old faithful Cowslip orchid (Caladenia flava subsp. flava) which comes in varying shades of yellow and with varied markings. Unlike last year, this is the only orchid species found.

Slightly disappointed, we move on to Manea Park (Mud Map SW5) near Bunbury. After parking up, we immediately hit the walking trail, however, it takes a little while to find our first orchid. We spend just over and hour walking the loop path and we find many orchids. Donkey orchids are found and I believe some of them to be the Kemerton donkey orchid (Diuris cruenta) which flowers late August to October in a restricted range from Capel to Lake Clifton. A distinguishing feature listed in my reference book, is the lateral lobes to the labellum are yellow at their base and reddish at the tip. Other donkey orchids are found that may be a different species, as on a previous visit, I named 3 species found in the Bunbury area.

Another orchid found throughout the park was the snail orchid. From what i can tell they mostly resemble the Red sepaled snail orchid (Pterostylis erubescens) due to the colouring of the flower, the numerous stem leaves and long lateral sepals.

Then some stunning spider orchids are found. The large white spider orchid appear to be the Coastal white spider orchid (Caladenia longicauda subsp. calcigena) due the location only, as the features of the subspecies are all similar in C. longicauda. However others seem to match the Sandplain white spider orchid (Caladenia speciosa) which has long messy labellum fringe segments and may also be found in this location. As per usual any input in identification would be welcomed.

As usual the good olde Cowslip orchid (Caladenia flava subsp. flava) shows up, as does the common Jug orchid (Pterostylis recurva). Even though they are common orchids, it is still nice to come across some in this location.

A first for this location is also found, which is exciting. The Purple enamel orchid (Elythranthera brunonis) is one of two species in this Western Australian endemic genus. This particular orchid was being watched over by a local Bobtail (Tiliqua rugosa subsp. rugosa).

Other common orchids found along the walk include the Banded greenhood (Pterostylis vittata) and the small Mosquito orchid (Cyrtostylis robusta) which was found growing around the base of a large tree.

Another small patch of snail orchids is found. From the hairy stem , to the pointed hood, it all leads to me believe they are more Red sepaled snail orchids. A very darkly marked donkey orchid is also found. Could possibly be the Purple pansy orchid (Diuris longifolia) or just a darker version of the Kemerton donkey orchid. Again, let me know your thoughts.

Had to grab a pic of how tall the donkey orchids were, before we leave Manea Park. We then made our way into Bunbury to the Farmers Market to have lunch and buy some supplies. On the highway welcoming people into Bunbury was a large billboard featuring the wonderful Cowslip orchids. Had to grab a pic of that as well. From here we make our way into the hills to check out the Wellington Dam mural. What an amazing sight, so of course it made it as the feature picture for this post. Finding a camping site took a while but we set ourselves up for the night and enjoyed another night under the stars in the great outdoors.

27/08/2020 ….. Dinninup to Nunijup Lake (Road Trip 2020)

Condinup Reserve, Nature Reserves, Other Reserves, Road Trip, Scotts Brook NR, Six Mile Road NR, Tone Perup NR, Western Australian Orchids

After an amazing sleep we enjoy breakfast with Kerry and her family before we are taken on a drive to the farm cemetery, which may actually be located in Condinup Reserve. In the bush surrounding the cemetery we find some orchids.

Family farm cemetery

Small flowered donkey orchid

(Diuris porrifolia)

Little pink fairies

(Caladenia reptans subsp. reptans)

Thanking Kerry for her hospitality we head south to Dinninup and make our first stop at the intersection of Six Mile and Harrison roads.

Six Mile and Harrison Rds

Donkey orchid

(Diuris sp.)

Little pink fairies

(Caladenia reptans subsp. reptans)

Silky blue orchid

(Cyanicula sericea)

Jug orchid

(Pterostylis recurva)

Next up we pullover at Six Mile Road Nature Reserve for a quick look.

Purple pansy orchid

(Diuris longifolia)

Jug orchid

(Pterostylis recurva)

Little pink fairies

(Caladenia reptans subsp. reptans)

Slender snail orchid

(Pterostylis crispula)

Banded greenhood

(Pterostylis vittata)

Cowslip orchid

(Caladenia flava subsp. flava)

Silky blue orchid

(Cyanicula sericea)

Diuris sp.

It is now past noon so we had better move on. We head south through Mayanup and take Scotts Brook Road toward the Tone Perup Nature Reserve. Pulling up on the roadside, we were surprised and elated as we got to see a real life Numbat (Myrmecobius fasciatus) sitting on a log. After calming down we ventured into the woodland to search for orchids.

Tone Perup Nature Reserve

Common donkey orchid or Small flowered donkey orchid

(Diuris corymbosa or D. porrifolia)

Jug orchid

(Pterostylis recurva)

Little pink fairies

(Caladenia reptans subsp. reptans)

Common spider orchid

(Caladenia varians)

Tenterden yellow spider orchid, Straw-coloured spider orchid

(Caladenia straminichila)

Lake Muir spider orchid, Red-veined spider orchid

(Caladenia validinervia)

Joseph’s spider orchid

(Caladenia polychroma)

Silky blue orchid

(Cyanicula sericea)

Just after 1.30pm we move on. However, only minutes down the road we come to Scotts Brook Nature Reserve. As it appears to have seen a bushfire recently, we pull over for a quick scout around.

Joseph’s spider orchid

(Caladenia polychroma)

Purple pansy orchid

(Diuris longifilia)

Common spider orchid

(Caladenia varians)

Primrose spider orchid

(Caladenia xantha)

??? spider orchid

(Caladenia sp.)

Little pink fairies

(Caladenia reptans subsp.reptans)

Silky blue orchid

(Cyanicula sericea)

It’s been nearly 1 hr since we pulled up to Scotts Brook N.R. so we had better get a move on. We didn’t get far before a change in habitat had us pull into a side road for a scout around.

Chowerup – Scotts Brook Road verge

Slender snail orchid

(Pterostylis crispula)

Silky blue orchid

(Cyanicula sericea)

??? donkey/pansy orchid

(Diuris sp.)

Little pink fairies

(Caladenia reptans subsp. reptans)

Jug orchid

(Pterostylis recurva)

Time flies when you’re having fun. Nearly 3 pm, so we head onward looking for an overnight camping site. We discover a wonderful abandoned cemetery, so we had to pull over to explore.

Lichen covered sign

Little pink fairies

(Caladenia reptans subsp. reptans)

Western wheatbelt donkey orchid

(Diuris brachyscapa)

Nice little stop with a couple of orchids growing between the gravesites. Onwards we go, further south-east, checking out nature reserves for places to camp. Nothing found, so we finally pull up to our backup overnight stay.

Nunijup Lake

Small flowered donkey orchid

(Diuris porrifolia)

Tenterden yellow spider orchid

(Caladenia straminichila)

Jug orchid

(Pterostylis recurva)

Tangled white spider orchid

(Caladenia longicauda subsp. redacta)

Well, we can finally rest up and enjoy the campfire. A wonderful day on the road with many orchids found. Some new locations explored and a favourite overnight spot revisited. At least 15 species found, which is amazing. Roll on tomorrow!!!

2019 Road Trip – Bedfordale to Caron Dam Reserve via Lake Indoon

Caron Dam, Depot Hill NR, Dookanooka NR, Lake Logue NR, Nature Reserves, Numerous days, Other Reserves, Road Trip


Waking up a bit better than expected after a heavy night socialising we enjoy a cooked breakfast then thanking our hostess, Sandy, we head off to catch up with family for the day. After spending the day with family, we head off from Deb’s brother’s place in Attadale around 3pm and make our way north. At 5.30 we pull into Caltex at Cataby where we enjoy a huge roast dinner, before heading up to Lake Indoon where we set up the camper and have a good nights sleep.


Waking up to a crisp morning I take a quick check down the track we had parked near. I spied a couple of nice White spider orchids so went back to have breakfast feeling blessed to be in the great outdoors with orchids waiting to be found. There are many campers at Lake Indoon however not to many seem to be looking in the bush so when we finally head off on our hunt, we do so in peace. (Mud Map N 13a, 13b)

I immediately head back to my White spider orchids whilst Deb finds a great patch of Cowslips (Caladenia flava subsp. flava). The spotted markings pointed to the Kalbarri cowslips orchids but the red lines and southerly location do not support this, unfortunately.

Now my White spider orchids could be one of 3 sub-species found in our current location. Ok so I believe some of the White spider orchids found were Daddy long-legs white spider orchid (Caladenia longicauda subsp. borealis) due to the labellum having very long fringe segments.

Others seem to be Coastal white spider orchids (Caladenia longicauda subsp. calcigena) due the the labellum calli moving out of rows into irregular agglomerations. The labellum is relatively narrow which is very evident in a hypochromic specimen found.

The third sub species found in this location is the Small-lipped white spider orchid (Caladenia longicauda subsp. albella) which is similar but smaller to Daddy long-legs, however prefers damper situations and has been known to grow with the base of the stem in water.

All 3 subspecies flower during September and include Eneabba or thereabouts in their listed distributions, so I am happy to believe I found all 3 this time round.

Back in 2016 we paid Lake Indoon our first visit and an unusual orchid was found everywhere, however we were getting worried we missed it this time. However the Arrowsmith spider orchid (Calaedenia crebra) starts to show itself finally. These orchids flower in August and September, in limited near coastal locations, between Jurien Bay and Dongara.

A single Pink fairy (Caladenia latifolia) is found on the other side of the road with many more Arrowsmith and White spiders. Initially I thought it was a Pale pink fairy however they do not appear to flower this far south.

Now to top of the finds for the day the named hybrid, Northern sandplain spider orchid (Caladenia x coactescens) is also found. This is a hybrid between the Arrowsmith spider orchid and the White spider orchid. My references name the White spider orchid parent as Caladenia borealis. Back on the south of the road we stumble across 3 more hybrid flowers, which is amazing.

We now head back to the camper to pack up, as we left it set up to dry completely in the sun, due to it still being damp in the morning when we left for our exploration. Just after 10am we leave camp but get no further than a few kms down the road at the Lake Logue Nature Reserve. (Mud Map N 11) Walking north of the Coolimba Eneabba Road along a track, Debs heads east and I head west.

I come across Cowslips and nothing else, which is untrue, the wildflowers are beautiful just no other orchid species. Deb on the other hand finds Cowslips and some Donkey orchids. They appear to be Arrowsmith pansy orchids (Diuris tinkeri) which flower late July to late September in a northerly range from Yanchep to Geraldton. They do not have the stated purple colouring though, so I may be incorrect. Moving back over the road, near where we parked Deb finds some more donkey orchids.

We now move on to the very eastern boundary of the Nature reserve and turn south down Erindoon Road. (Mud Map N 10) Pulling up on the edge of the road we check the western side of the road and find more cowslips. First found are the standard cowslip, however some small ones that appear to be Kalbarri cowslips (Caladenia flava subsp. maculata) are also found. The spotted markings on the flower are not random but in distinct lines so unfortunately they appear to be the standard cowslips as well.

Moving further south we stop at a creek crossing, dry of course, to see what may be around. Only found further cowslips and a beautiful Green Jewell beetle (Stigmodera gratiosa) on a Geraldton Wax (Chamelaucium uncinatum) plant.

Next stop is the intersection of Brand Highway and the Eneabba Three Springs Road. This is an un-named Nature Reserve where we find more cowslips and better coloured Arrowsmith pansy orchids. Now time to find somewhere nice to have lunch.

Along the Eneabba Three Springs Road we pull into the Depot Hill Nature Reserve for lunch. Of course we also go exploring. Well this was a great idea as we come across numerous spider orchids. Now all I have to do is identify them. My first find was a Caladenia longicauda sp. whilst Deb finds a spider orchid from the filamentosa complex.

The orchid found by Deb appears to be the Yellow spider orchid (Caladenia denticulata subsp. denticulata) which flowers August to early October in locations from Waroona and Eneabba. This subspecies is a pale yellow-green coloured flower with white red striped relatively narrow labellum.

Harder to ID is the White spider orchid. Seem to be more Small-lipped white spider orchids however the situation does not appear to be overly damp so may actually be Daddy long-legs or Coastal white spider orchids. Many others found over this location which could be either species. All 3 possible sub-species have been named below. Please correct my identification if incorrect.

Many other Yellow spider orchids were found along the way . Some may be other species so again please correct me if I am incorrect with my identification.

A non spider orchid was finally found. The bright yellow Cowslip orchid is found, however only the one. Heading downhill, back towards the Triton a Lemon-scented sun orchid (Thelymitra antennifera) yet to fully open is located.

Then a lone donkey orchid is found. It was nearly missed as it is so small. The Wild Orchid Watch colour/size card and 5 cent piece are used for size appreciation. Also measured the height of the orchid, which was 150mm. The reflexed dorsal sepal , prominently crossed lateral sepals and lateral lobes much smaller than the mid lobe of the labellum are distinctive features that unfortunately do not assist in identifying this little orchid..

Back at the Triton we sit down and have a bite to eat before moving east towards Three Springs. On the way we skirt into Dookanooka Nature Reserve, but no orchids were spied from the Triton so we just keeping driving. As we do not need to stop, we drive straight through Three Springs, but then decide to check out the Talc mine. This mine is the largest in the Southern Hemisphere and 2nd most productive in the world.

Time keeps slipping away as as it is now after 3pm we make tracks for our planned overnight stay. Passing through Perenjori we head south to the Perenjori-Rothsay Road where we pull over to ring up and book our campsite at Charles Darwin Reserve. Unfortunately we are unable to book a site without an EPIRB, Satellite Phone or HF Radio. Now what will we do, as this was a planned stop for a couple of nights. Checking the good old Hema Map book, we find a camping ground only 14kms south called Caron Dam Reserve, so off we head.

The camping ground is very sparse, with little shade so we park up close to the dam and set up the camper. It may prove a noisy night as we are only 100 metres or so off the Mullewa-Wubin Road. Now time to go exploring this historic site. First up we discover a spent spider orchid then a great patch of donkey orchids. The spider orchid appears to be the Perenjori spider orchid (Caladenia remota subsp. parva) which flowers from August to mid-September in a limited range from Wubin to Perenjori. The main feature that should confirm the identification are petals being back-swept and elevated basally. Further specimens are found including those with petals barely elevated basally. These may be another species.

The group of donkey orchids appear to be Pale donkey orchids (Diuris pallescens) which flower late-August to late-September between Moora and Mingenew. Reference to Atlas of Living Australia though indicate sightings south of Perenjori which agrees with my classification. Distinctive features include erect petals, recurved apex to dorsal sepal and prominently reflexed lateral sepals which are crossed.

We make our way around the dam and head off up the feeder drain. It is in the drain that Deb comes across a snail orchid. This is the first Pterostylis orchid in quite a while. This one plus others found later appear to be the common Hairy-stemmed snail orchid (Pterostylis setulosa) which is found over a vast area from Kalbarri to Balladonia and also in NSW and SA.

Another new species for the day was found on the plains surrounding the feeder drain. A Candy orchid (Caladenia hirta subsp. hirta) is growing under a tree. These little orchids grow during the period, late-August to early November, over a near coastal range from Arrowsmith to Albany. Creamy-white colouring with no hint of pink confirms this classification as the other WA subspecies, Rosea, is coloured pale to deep pink.

Making our way back to camp we come across more snail, spider, donkey and candy orchids. Grabbed some pics but feel no new species were found.

Back at camp some neighbouring campers invited us to share their fire, so we enjoyed a night with company and went to bed knowing that even though our plans were thrown into disarray we still had a awesome day in the great outdoors exploring for orchids. At least 14 species/sub-species found which is wonderful.

2019 Road Trip – Nunijup Lake to Redmond West (Mundal 4WD Track)

Numerous days, Road Trip


Richard was in contact last night and he is fine to come on the Road Trip, well sort of ?? We plan to meet with him at Tenterden later this morning. So after breakfast we move the camper into the sun to dry whilst we have a morning search of the surrounding area.

We find many orchids, however I will only mention those different to the ones found here yesterday. First up was a very nice specimen of the Banded greenhood (Pterostylis vittata) which can have up to 25 flowers per orchid. Also found nearby was a fertilised specimen of a Scented Autumn/Autumn leek orchid (Prasophyllum Sp.) Funnily enough both these can have up to 25 flowers as well.

The donkey orchids found appear to be much paler versions of the Purple pansy orchid (Diuris longifolia). One is found fighting with a Jug orchid (Pterostylis recurva). Please feel free to correct my classification of the donkey orchid as I am far from positive on my ID.

A surprise find was a magnificent white spider orchid. A solitary Tangled white spider orchid (Caladenia longicauda subsp. redacta) is in flower with it’s twin yet to open. I have chosen this classification due to the small size of the orchid and the 4 uniform rows of lamina calli. This is the first time we have discovered this species. Exciting find.

It’s nearly 10am and the camper has dried out so we pack up and move on so we can explore another spot before we will need to meet up with Richard in Tenterden. We make our way to Orchid Nature Reserve on Yerimunup Road just north of Tenterden. We had just parked up and headed into the bush when Richard calls asking where to meet exactly as he is in Tenterden. Oh well so much for exploring a new location. It will have to wait for another time.

Richard is still quite unwell but he did not wish to miss out, so we meet up on the Albany Hwy and head down to Albany, via a toilet stop in Mount Barker. At Albany we call into the local IGA at the bottom of York Street to buy supplies. Time to start our 4WD Trek to Mundairing – 900kms of the Mundal Track to go.

Leaving Albany on Princess Royal Drive, we turn into Lower Denmark Road and head to Elleker. Turning north into Marbelup Road we pull over to take our official start of the track photo.

Marbelup Rd – Elleker. On the Mundal Track

We hit the South Coast Hwy however only to turn off pretty much 50 mts down onto Marbelup North Road. We are now on gravel.!! We pull over at the intersection with Cochrane Road to have some lunch as it is nearly 1pm. Taking Cochrane Road west to Hunwick Road, where we continue west for some way. Finally we turn north into Redmond West Road and now have to find the sandy track that will be the real start to the track. Pulling over at what we feel is the right track, we await Richard whilst he checks on his dash GPS, which he is yet to master. Seems to be the correct sandy track so into the unknown we head.

Tame part of the Mundal Track

The track soon turns into mud hole after mud hole and one time we actually drive over a pot hole pitted gravel causeway through a very full swamp. Slip either side and there would be no getting out.

Mudal Track – Just off the gravel causeway

At one spot we got out to check a bog hole and stumbled across some decent sized snail orchids. I am naming this on the Red sepaled snail orchid (Pterostylis erubescens) due to these features: Flared hood, uniformly thickened lateral sepals, hairy stem and dorsal sepal extending beyond the petals. This orchid is found from Mandurah to Albany during the period late July to September. The common name eludes to the fact they age reddish-brown.

We eventually come to a massive bog hole which has 4 choices to get through. After deliberating for too long, Deb finally attempts the track to the far left. Buggar,she gets stuck. After many attempts to rock her way out, the MaxTrax come to the rescue.

Mundal Track – Seconds before getting stuck.

Now Richards turn to tackle the bog hole. Then he has a brain fade and for whatever reason he takes to 2nd track from the left, which proved a big mistake. He is stuck and the water is much deeper. His Triton bottoms out and even using 4 MaxTrax he does not move. Due to the water depth he has to get in and out of his Triton through the drivers window,

Mundal Track – Bad decision

Well we need to try the Snatch Straps. Connecting two together using shackles, Deb unhitches our trailer and reverses as close to the mud hole as she dares. First attempt we here a loud crack so stop dead. It turns out we bent the crap out of one of Richard’s MaxTrax, so nothing too dire. 2nd attempt is successful.. Big sighs of relief.

Onward we go however, a few kms along if that, we come to another large water hazard. There is no chicken track to the left and the one to the right leads to options all driving through rushes in a swampy area. Options limited and with it getting near 4pm we need to find somewhere to set up camp. Nowhere to go, so we set up camp on the actual track. I then suggest walking along the track to the so called river crossing, as if it is too deep then why attempt to get through this large water hazard. Richard and I grab a torch, as we have no idea how far up it is, and head off whilst Deb looks into setting up camp and collecting some firewood. We reach, what we later find out is Hay River, and it is flowing strongly about thigh deep, so way to dangerous for us to try and cross. We make it back to camp around 5.30pm and get the fire raging. We then settle in for a great night around the fire. Later with Hot water bottles filled we hit he sack. Not a great start to our Mundal Track adventure, in fact we have decided not to attempt ant more this time and will come back another year when the track is drier.

2019 Road Trip – Ravensthorpe to Nunijup Lake

Cocanarup Timber Reserve, Nature Reserves, Numerous days, Road Trip, Wansbrough NR


Last night we packed up the Triton and camper and made our way over to Ravensthorpe where we stayed the night with our son, Tim, in his small rental. This was to put us 2 hrs ahead so the drive to Albany would not have to be so rushed. Little did we know that Albany was not to be our destination as planned.

Leaving at a leisurely 9.00am from Tim’s place we made our first stop at the Ravensthorpe silo’s, which have been painted as large banksia trees with their associated wildlife. We have driven past, but never stopped over the years, so we actually took the time to stop and appreciate them this once.

Just east of Ravensthorpe is one of our favourite stops. Situated in the Cocanarup Timber Reserve , Kukenarup Memorial provides a 250m walk trail which always turns up an orchid or two. Today is no exception. Just before the picnic shelter, the unique Dancing spider orchid (Caladenia discoidea) is our first find,of the trip and this individual is covered in dew. These orchids flower August to October from Kalbarri to Israelite Bay.

Nothing more found close to the picnic shelter so we head off along the walk trail. First up we find some Blue beards (Pheladenia deformis) which are found over a vast area from the Murchison River to Israelite Bay during a long flowering period, May to October.

Next up are the small Frog greenhoods (Pterostylis sargentii) which flower July to October in an area between Northampton and Grasspatch. Compared to the other greenhoods these orchids have very thin stem leaves.

The the first of many donkey orchids is found. They have little markings to them and based on location could be one of three possible species. Based on the lack of colouring I will name these ones the Western wheatbelt donkey orchid (Diuris brachyscapa) which are found between York, Tenterden and Ravensthorpe during the months July through September.

Also found were the Jug orchid (Pterostylis recurva) which is found from Geraldton to Israelite Bay during the months August through October. Other common names for this orchid are Re-curved shell orchid, Antelope orchid and Bull orchid.

We are then lucky enough to find a nice white spider orchid in flower. This orchid also has an orchid spider hiding on it. The flower itself was not large so I will be naming this specimen the Southern white spider orchid (Caladenia longicauda subsp. australora) which is found between Fitzgerald River National Park and Millar’s Point during the months of September and October. We are 1 week from September so am happy with the fact it is still August.

Time to move on, so we head west towards Jerramungup. Whilst driving we hear from Richard. He is unwell, so will vist the doctor and rest up a day to see if he will make the trip at all. We no longer need to get to Albany by 1pm so we decide to now take it more slowly and check out some other areas. Therefore our next stop is a new location on the corner of Quiss Road and South coast Hwy (Mud Map SE 26) We could not find Mud Map SE27 though which should have been on the highway just before Quiss Road. . Parking off Quiss Rd we walk along a fire break and immediately spy a Western tiny blue orchid (Cyanicula aperta) which also flower August to October however only in a smaller range from Dumbleyung to Mt Ragged. Also found nearby was another Jug orchid.

Next we find some small donkey orchids which appear different to the ones found near Ravensthorpe. The labellum is broader and the lateral sepals are not crossed. However some others found have crossed lateral sepals so I believe them to be more Western wheatbelt donkey orchids. Then another new orchid for the trip appears. The Sugar orchid (Ericksonella saccharata) is found between Paynes Find and Israelite Bay during August and September.

Then a very colourful snail orchid is found. From the length of the lateral sepals, number of stem leaves and the shape of the rosette leaves I will be naming these the Brittle snail orchid (Pterostylis timothyi) which flower July to September in a range from Lake Cronin to Esperance.

The further we searched the more Western tiny blue orchids, Sugar orchids, Jug orchids and Brittle snail orchids were found. Then a patch of spent greenhoods was found, before a nice in flower specimen was found . Banded greenhood (Pterostylis vittata) which have a long flowering period of April to September within a range from Perth to Balladonia.

11.30am so we had better move on. Plan to stop in Jerramungup to grab some lunch, however the cafe had closed it’s kitchen 5 mins before we got there. We cross the road to the supermarket and grab some supplies for tonight’s camp and then move on towards Ongerup. We decide to grab a bite to eat at the Yongergnow Australian Malleefowl Centre. So glad we did as the meal was awesome and very well priced. As we had previously found orchids along Jaekel Street we again stop just before the Gnowangerup-Jerramungup Road. On the left road verge is a cluster of Cowslip orchids (Caladenia flava subsp.flava) which flower over 6mths from July to December in a vast range from Geraldton to Israelite Bay.

Whilst I’m busy taking photos of the cowslips, Debbie has skirted further into the scrub in her search. She calls out that she has found a different spider orchid, so I push my way towards her. However on my way in I stumble across a donkey orchid. This one appears to be the Green Range donkey orchid (Diuris littoralis) which is found flowering from July to September in a coastal, near coastal range from Denmark to Esperance. The darker markings set them apart from the Western wheatbelt donkey orchid which is much paler.

Then I arrive at Debbie’s spider orchid. Yes it is a new species for this trip. Debbie has found the Drooping spider orchid (Caladenia radialis) which flowers during the months August to October in a range from Northampton to Jerramungup. It is quite distinctive with its usually smooth-margined labellum and dense band of calli.

Further afield we find some sugar orchids and large numbers of donkey orchids. Deb heads back to the Triton whilst I make my way to the Gnowangerup – Jerramungup Road .

Parking the Triton on the Gnowangerup – Jerramungup Road , Deb joins me to check a patch where more donkeys orchids can be seen. There I come across a poor green spider orchid that had been eaten by insects. Thinking this may be the only one found , I grab a photo. Then close by more green spider orchids are found. They are Fringed mantis orchids (Caladenia falcata) which flower between Wongan Hills and Jerramungup during the months August to October.

Also found around the green spider orchids were many more donkey, cowslip, sugar and drooping spider orchids.

It’s nearly 2pm so we had better keep moving. We drive through Gnowangerup and onto Tambellup. From here we head south along the Great Southern Highway and pull into Wansbrough Nature Reserve looking for a possible overnight stop. Coincidentally this is also a Mud Map location. (Mud Map SC 13) On the drive into the reserve we spy a white spider orchid and more donkey orchids. The only place to set up camp was way to close to the highway, so we turned around and on the way out took some photos of the orchids found. From the location I feel the donkey orchids are Western wheatbelt donkey orchids and the white spider orchids are Stark white spider orchids (Caladenia longicauda subsp. eminens) which flowers August to October in a range from Moora to Esperance.

Also found were some Jug orchids and some very dark coloured donkey orchids. Unsure if they are just a dark variant or another species. I will leave them un-named for now.

Hopping back in the Triton we are nearly flown away by the number of mosquitoes that had entered the cab. Definitely not a camping spot. So now where will we go? Quickly checking the maps we settle on Nunijup Lake (Mud Map SC 20) which is west south west of Tenterden and about 50kms away. We arrive at the lake and park up on the deserted tennis courts between the clubhouse and toilets. Also nearby is an old campfire pit. After setting up the camper we head off into the bush looking for wood. It is on this search that I come across some more dark donkey orchids. However these ones appear to be the Purple pansy orchid (Diuris longifolia) which flower September to December between Albany and Perth. The uniformity to the colour of the dorsal sepal and lateral lobes of the labellum, plus the hanging lateral sepals, lead me to this classification.

More pansy orchids are found along a track to a fallen tree, where I see a spider orchid, whilst picking up broken branches for the fire. The distinct colouring and location provide easy identification. This is the Tenterden yellow spider orchid (Caladenia straminichila) which is found from the Porongurup Range to Manjimup in the months August to October. I race back to camp to advise Debbie of my find. We both go back and then look farther afield. Many more spider orchids are found, some in clumps.

Also found more Purple pansy orchids however light was fading fast so we headed back to camp and settled down for a night around the campfire.

End of day one and we have possibly found 18 different orchid species. An amazing start to our Road Trip.