02/09/2021 ….. Koorda to Northam

Cartamulligan Well NR, Moonijin NR, Nature Reserves, Numerous days, Road Trip, Western Australian Orchids

After enjoying a very basic continental breakfast at the Koorda hotel we make our way along the Dowerin – Koorda Road, as we have not recorded driving this way before. We love breaking new ground so to speak, as this opens up our search area for orchids. With this in mind our first location visited is the Booralaming Sports Centre, a random piece of uncleared land chosen from Google Maps, whilst driving along. After checking out the old play equipment and abandoned tennis pavilion we get stuck into looking for orchids.

First orchid found was a lone Hairy-stemmed snail orchid (Pterostylis setulosa), which is not a great specimen. Photo taken just to record the finding. Next up we find another orchid in better numbers. The Sugar orchid (Ericksonella saccharata) is a common inland orchid which is a monotypic genus, endemic to WA.

A donkey orchid is then found with a huge clump found later on back near the pavilion. From the location and the following features: reflexed lateral sepals, broad rounded petals, and broad dorsal sepal, I am calling these Mottled donkey orchids (Diuris suffusa).

Next up is a wonderful trio of Ant orchids (Caladenia roei) which have a broad smooth labellum with a central band of calli. The more south the location the longer the band of calli. Refer the post from the 01/09/2021 for an image of a northern form.

Then a nice surprise, some spider orchids are found. The yellow coloured ones I believe to be the Primrose spider orchid (Caladenia xantha) which flower until early September which explains the spent specimen found. The colouring ranges from pale to vivid yellow, which includes the labellum. EDIT: hugo_innes suggested an ID in iNaturalist Australia that they may be Chameleon spider orchid (Caladenia dimidia) due to the north/east location.

White coloured spider orchids also present and I thought they are probably the Common spider orchid (Caladenia varians), however after posting to a Facebook page a knowledgeable person advised they thought they were the Pendant spider orchid (Caladenia pendens subsp. pendens), due to the broad labellum, which is usually small in most other white wispy styled orchids.

We did get distracted with a large rubbish dump which gave us reason to scavenge, however we finally made our way back to the Triton’s and moved on westwards. Our next stop was at Moonijin Nature Reserve. We parked up near a creek depression and went exploring. First orchid found was the small Little laughing leek orchid (Prasophyllum gracile) which is by far the most widespread of these little orchids of the P. gracile complex.

Next up a beautiful spider orchid is found. A single specimen firstly, then an amazing clump of flowers. The Chameleon spider orchid (Caladenia dimidia) can be either yellow, cream or pink-red in colour so they can easily be confused with other similar species from the C. filamentosa complex.

After finding the clump of spider orchids, it was nice to find some Pink candy orchids (Caladenia hirta subsp. rosea) which range from very pale pink to vivid pink in colour. They always have bright pink calli on the labellum, unless you are lucky enough to find a lutea form. The white form found could actually be the related Candy orchid (Caladenia hirta subsp. hirta) as they do overlap in distribution, but maybe not this far inland.

Then another colour grabs our eyes. A donkey orchid is found which is probably the Dainty donkey orchid (Diuris refracta) due to the broad, reflexed dorsal sepal, reflexed lateral sepals and of course the location.

Also found were more Ant orchids, so after taking some more photos we move onwards to our next stop.

We stop off in Dowerin and grab some lunch at the Dowerin Bakery, before moving on to an unnamed Nature Reserve on Berring-Nambling Road, south-west of town. First up we find more Pink candy orchids and other ones that seem to be Candy orchids, as they are larger and white in colour.

Woohoo, another new orchid for the day. The Drooping spider orchid (Caladenia radialis) has a distinctive look, which the common name suggests. Even the dorsal sepal in usually drooping. A clumping spider orchid, we are lucky to find some great clumps as well. These orchids are a common inland species found from Northampton to Jerramungup, during the months August through October.

Then some bright yellow catches our eye. The cheerful Cowslip orchid is found and from the markings it appears to be the Brookton Highway cowslip orchid (Caladenia flava subsp. “late red“) which is also identified by the leaf being regularly longer than the flower scape. However we are around 80kms north of the recorded distribution and they flower from late September, so these may just be the standard cowslip (C. flava subsp. flava) which vary greatly in size and colouring.

It’s now past 2pm so we had better keep moving. We pass through Goomalling and head toward Northam. We make one last stop at Cartamulligan Well Nature Reserve which has Southern Brook running through the middle. We turn off Watson road into a gravelled area and go exploring. It is quite weedy so unsure how successful we will be with finding many orchids.

Surprisingly, the first orchid discovered is the Candy orchid or maybe its the Pink candy orchid. As mentioned previously their distributions overlap and subsp. rosea can be very pale pink in colour, even appearing white, so identification can be difficult. Let me know your thoughts on the ID for these ones.

Definite Pink candy orchids are found later on and these are pics of some of them.

Excitedly we find a new species for the day. This orchid is common but we still get excited when something new is found on any given day. The Blue beard or Blue fairy orchid (Pheladenia deformis) is the only species in the genus Pheladenia. Given it’s common name, it is interesting to note that they do come in a white variety, though these are rare.

The last orchid to be recorded for today is also the first one found, back at the Booralaming Sports Centre. You guessed it, the Hairy-stemmed snail orchid, which again is a common orchid, although restricted to inland areas. Unlike this morning though, they are found in numbers at this location.

Just before 4pm we make tracks for Northam, our planned overnight stop. We are being soft tonight and book a motel room at the Dukes Inn. Here we enjoy a beautiful meal and comfy beds. At least 13 species found today, which is awesome.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nunijup Lake

Tangled white spider orchid

(Caladenia longicauda subsp. redacta)

Small flowered donkey orchid

(Diuris porrifolia)

Jug orchid

(Pterostylis recurva)

Tenterden yellow spider orchid

(Caladenia straminichila)

Common spider orchid

(Caladenia varians)

Banded greenhood

(Pterostylis vittata)

Little pink fairies

(Caladenia reptans subsp. reptans)

Leaping spider orchid

(Caladenia macrostylis)

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

Stirling Range National Park

Cowslip orchid

(Caladenia flava subsp. flava)

Dancing spider orchid

(Caladenia discoidea)

Hare orchid

(Leporella fimbriata)

Western wheatbelt donkey orchid

(Diuris brachyscapa)

Pink bunny orchid

(Eriochilus scaber subsp. scaber)

Little pink fairies

(Caladenia reptans subsp, reptans)

Silky blue orchid

(Cyanicula sericea)

Sugar orchid

(Ericksonella saccharata)

Jug orchid

(Pterostylis recurva)

Blood spider orchid

(Caladenia filifera)

Joseph’s spider orchid

(Caladenia polychroma)

Blue beard

(Pheladenia deformis)

Lemon-scented sun orchid

(Thelymitra antennifera)

Banded greenhood

(Pterostylis vittata)

Rabbit orchid

(Leptoceras menziesii)

Red beaks

(Pyrorchis nigricans)

Common bee orchid

(Diuris decrementa)

??? spider orchid

(Caladenia sp.)

Zebra orchid

(Caladenia cairnsiana)

Ravensthorpe snail orchid

(Pterostylis sp. ‘Ravensthorpe’)

Mosquito orchid

(Cyrtostylis robusta)

Frog greenhood

(Pterostylis sargentii)

Yawning leek orchid

(Prasophyllum hians)

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

Kingia in flower following the bush fire

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

20/08/2020 ….. Quajabin Peak to Pingeculling Nature Reserve (Road Trip 2020)

Nature Reserves, Pingeculling NR, Road Trip, Western Australian Orchids

After a night listening the nearby sheep bleating all night we awake to another beautiful sunny morning. We now take the time to explore the area below our camp for orchids.

Quajabin (County) Peak

Small flowered donkey orchid

(Diuris porrifolia)

Western wheatbelt donkey orchid

(Diuris brachyscapa)

Leaving Quajabin (County) Peak we head south to Yenyening Lakes. We hoped to explore the Nature Reserve however it seems to only cover the actual lakes themselves. A little bit along Qualandary Road just over the Avon River bridge we pull over to check out the roadside vegetation.

Yenyening Lakes

Purple-veined spider orchid, Purple-veined clown orchid

(Caladenia doutchiae)

Puppet orchid

(Caladenia incrassata)

Dancing spider orchid

(Caladenia discoidea)

Blue beard, Blue fairy orchid

(Pheladenia deformis)

Green spider orchid, Fringed mantis orchid

(Caladenia falcata)

Leaving the Yenyening lakes we head further along Qualandary Road. At the intersection with Boyagarra Road we pull into a gravel pit. Here we explore the vegetation for any orchids that may flower in this small island of nature in the middle of farmland.

Boyagarra Road

Frog greenhood

(Pterostylis sargentii)

Sugar orchid

(Ericksonella saccharata)

>>>> donkey orchid

(Diuris sp.)

It is now past 12 o’clock so we move on. looking for another location where we can have some lunch whilst exploring for orchids. We by-pass Brookton by heading south down Moorumbine Road. at another gravel pit in the middle of a bush block will pull up. Whilst eating lunch we explore the surrounding vegetation for orchids. We come across an old rubbish dump site and find some amazing old bottles.

Moorumbine Road

Little pink fairy

(Caladenia reptans subsp. reptans)

Sugar orchid

(Ericksonella saccharata)

Frog greenhood

(Pterostylis sargnetii)

Small flowered donkey orchid

(Diuris porrifolia)

Western wheatbelt donkey orchid

(Diuris brachyscapa)

Jug orchid

(Pterostylis recurva)

After storing away our old bottles, we move into the Pingeculling Nature Reserve. We follow the track up a steep gravely slope then along bush tracks past sheoks and granite boulders. We then come across a fallen tree over the track. I get to use my Ryobi Chainsaw for it’s first real test. We then pull up on the track near a flat piece of granite and set up camp.

Pingeculling Nature Reserve

Little pink fairy

(Caladenia reptans subsp. reptans)

Cowslip orchid

(Caladenia flava subsp. flava)

Sugar orchid

(Ericksonella saccharata)

Western wheatbelt donkey orchid

(Diuris brachyscapa)

Banded greenhood

(Pterostylis vittata)

Blue beard

(Pheladenia deformis)

Lemon-scented sun orchid

(Thelymitra antennifera)

Little laughing leek orchid

(Prasophyllum gracile)

Primrose spider orchid

(Caladenia xantha)

Jug orchid

(Pterostylis recurva)

Caladenia sp.

It is now nearly 4pm so we make tracks back to the camper and light the camp fire to get ready for dinner. I study the orchid books to uncover what we had found today. A fabulous day with so many orchids found.

13/08/2020 ….. Elachbutting Rock to Weira Reserve (Road Trip 2020)

Nature Reserves, Other Reserves, Road Trip, Sandford Rocks NR, Weira Reserve, Western Australian Orchids, Westonia Common

We awake to a beautiful sunny day, have a leisurely breakfast and finally break camp around 10am. Before leaving Elachbutting Rock we check out the stone lined well.

Heading south we pass Yanneymooning Nature Reserve, not stopping this time, then turned east onto Morrison Road, which takes us through Chiddarcooping Nature Reserve. Further south we finally reach Sandford Rocks Nature Reserve which is Site 16 on the Wheatbelt Way Drive Trail. We stop at the north eastern section of the reserve and have a look around finding some orchids before moving down to the actual visitors area of the park. It is a great walk around the rock where we find a good selection of orchids.

Sandford Rocks Nature Reserve

Hairy-stemmed snail orchids

(Pterostylis setulosa)

Sugar orchid

(Ericksonella saccharata)

Jug orchid, Recurved shell orchid, Bull orchid, Antelope orchid

(Pterostylis recurva)

Frog greenhood

(Pterostylis sargentii)

Ironcaps spider orchid, Mystery spider orchid

Yellow granite donkey orchid

(Diuris hazeliae)

Blue beard, Blue fairy orchid

(Pheladenia deformis)

Glistening spider orchid

(Caladenia incensum)

Dainty blue orchid

(Cyanicula amplexans)

Little laughing leek orchid

(Prasophyllum gracile)

Ant orchid, Clown orchid, Man orchid, Jack-in-the-Box

(Caladenia roei)

After exploring for around 2hrs we make our way south to Westonia where we have lunch, hamburger and chips, at the local shop. We then move onto Site 17 Boodalin Soak which is located in the Westonia Common a 5600ha patch of salmon gum, morrell and gimlet woodlands. We first stop on the drive in from Stoneman Road, then park up at the well, before we venture on foot to explore the granite rocks.

Boodalin Soak

Glistening spider orchid

(Caladenia incensum)

Hairy-stemmed snail orchid

(Pterostylis setulosa)

Pink candy orchid

(Caladenia hirta subsp. rosea)

Blue beard

(Pheladenia deformis)

Ant orchid

(Caladenia roei)

Yellow granite donkey orchid

(Diuris hazeliae)

Dainty blue orchid

(Cyanicula amplexans)

Cowslip orchid

(Caladenia flava subsp. flava)

Midget greenhood

(Pterostylis mutica)