Road trip – Day 3 – Kwolyin to Marshall Rock

03/09/2017

After a great night catching up around the camp fire we wake to a beautiful spring morning. After breakfast we pack up camp then go for a wander around our campsite where we come across a few Ant orchids (Caladenia roei). Then we walk back towards Coarin Rock, which Richard and I climbed late afternoon yesterday, to show Deb the donkey orchids we found. However before this a fellow camper directs our attention to a lone spider orchid. NEW FIND – It appears to be a Drooping spider orchid (Caladenia radialis) as the petals and both lateral and dorsal sepals all droop and the labellum is smooth margined. This orchid flowers August to early December and range from Northampton to Jerramungup.

Past the ablutions on the track to the rock we find the patch with many Western wheatbelt donkey orchids (Diuris sp. ‘western wheatbelt’)and then backtrack to the Tritons for our drive to Kokerbin hill.

Kokerbin Hill / Kokerbin Rock is claimed to be the third largest monolith in Australia, so was a definite stop. We took a walk around the northern face to Devils Marbles and  found some Sugar orchids (Ericksonella saccharata), Ant orchids, Donkey orchids and a lone Hairy-stemmed snail orchid (Pterostylis sp ‘inland’)

Time to head north so we make tracks to Kellerberrin and have lunch at the lookout. A quick check around located more Western wheatbelt donkey orchids and other donkey orchids I cannot identify plus some Lemon-scented sun orchids (Thelymitra antennifera).

Time is slipping away so we head further north and pulled over to an area of woodland on the off chance of finding some orchids. The area was signposted Forsyth Woodland and it proved to be great off chance location. Deb, Richard and myself all head off in different directions to see who would find the first orchids. Deb won by finding some Blood spider orchids (Caladenia filifera). I am confident with their identification, this time. NEW FIND

Next up Deb comes across a small Mottled donkey orchid (Diuris suffusa) which flowers late August to late September in the shires of Trayning, Wyalkatchem, Koorda and Mount Marshall. NEW FIND  I find a lone Pink candy orchid (Caladenia hirta) and Deb finds a lone Fringed mantis orchid (Caladenia falcata).

Further Donkey orchids and Pink candy orchids groupings were found followed by a grouping of Ant orchids and a sole Sugar orchid.

Many more Fringed mantis orchids in better shape than the first were found as was a patch of very tall Hairy-stemmed snail orchids.

So Forsyth Woodland proved a very fruitful stop with 7 orchid species found. Sunset is looming and we have yet to settle on where to camp overnight. Our first choice, Durokoppin Nature Reserve was not suitable, so we headed north, passing through Trayning and made tracks for Marshall Rocks near Bencubbin. This was a great spot with only one other camper in residence, so we set camp for the night. I decide to quickly check the rock out for any orchids and only find some Hairy-stemmed snail orchids, as the rock and surrounding area was very weedy.

A great 3rd day with 10 species found.

Road Trip – Day 2 – Wagin to Kwolyin

02/9/2017

After a quick breakfast and a long hot shower we make up the thermos and head off to fuel up, then make tracks for the North Wagin Nature Reserve, our first planned stop of the day. Just off the road, on the track chosen to push into the reserve, I spy a group of Jug orchids (Pterostylis recurva) which we will check out on the way back. We park the Triton and camper near a dam and head out on foot to check out this new location. First find is the Banded greenhood (Pterostylis vittata), quickly followed by Western wheatbelt donkey orchid (Diuris sp. ‘western wheatbelt’).

Many donkey orchids were found and mixed in with these we found some Little pink fairy orchids (Caladenia reptans subsp. reptans) distinguished by their leaf having a red coloured underside. Another common orchid found here was the Fringed mantis orchid (Caladenia falcata) which competed with the donkey orchid to be the most common orchid in this location. As planned we took pictures of the Jug orchids as we made tracks for our next location.

Piesseville was our next location and we finally found flowering orchids, after other visits turned up leaves and buds only. As with the Wagin location the Fringed mantis orchid was very common, as were the Sugar orchids (Ericksonella saccharata), however the later were restricted to a few metres in from the road. Cowslip orchid (Caladenia flava subsp. flava) was also plentiful, but further into the bush.

The first spider orchid found is a Chameleon spider orchid (Caladenia dimidia) and nearby a reddish version of the same flower.A very different spider orchid is then found. The Dancing spider orchid (Caladenia discoidea). Unlike previous specimens found this season near Esperance,this one finally looks like the ones in the books.

In the northerly section of the location we find some Western wheatbelt donkey orchids and in the swampy section I find some Blue beards (Pheladenia deformis) of varying shades. I track down Deb who has crossed to the other side of the road and took her back to where the Blue beards were located.

On the way back to the Blue beards more spider orchids were found. Chameleon spider orchid, Crimson spider orchid (Caladenia footeana)  which flowers July to early October between Cranbrook and Binnu and Chapmans spider orchid (Caladenia chapmanii) which flowers September to mid-October between Boyup Brook, Kojonup and Northam, all within a few metres of each other.

Then an OMG moment, when Deb spies an all red spider orchid. Appears to be Blood spider orchid (Caladenia filifera) NEW FIND!!!! These are found between Tenterden and Wongan Hills and flower August to early October. Not 100% certain as it was not clumping, but single flowers. Edit: After locating Blood spider orchids at Forsyth Woodland this one appears to be a red variant of another species.

Other orchids found at this location were Jug orchids and Banded greenhoods.

We moved on and called into Narrogin to buy some supplies and an extra gas cartridge for the shower unit. We then drove north-east and stopped off at North Yilliminning Nature Reserve for lunch and checked out this new location. Not far into our search and we were bombarded with yellow from so many Cowslip orchids. Various shapes, patterns and sizes with some having very long lateral sepals.

Next orchid found was the small Sugar orchid followed closely with some Donkey orchids. Most likely, Western wheatbelt donkey orchids. Also found were some Banded greenhoods

A very unusual colour catches Deb’s eye as she has found a Hybrid orchid. A Spectacular spider orchid (Caladenia x spectabilis) which is a hybrid formed by a Cowslip and Pink fairy cross pollinating. Further colour variations were found. However to muddy the waters, the Little pink fairy orchid is found which may be a parent of the hybrids, in which case the orchid is unnamed and referred to as (Caladenia flava x C. reptans). For now I will leave the judgement open.

Edit: 29/10/2017 – From further investigations it appears all Hybrids found were Spectacular spider orchids due to the longer lateral sepals. Blooms August to October and found from Kalbarri to Esperance

Final orchids found were a sole Hairy stemmed snail orchid (Pterostylis sp. ‘inland’) and some further Jug orchids.

Quick toilet stop in Wickepin, which was a very neat little town with a museum for Albert Facey, who is famous for his autobiography “A Fortunate Life”. We make one final stop, before catching up with Richard, at Malyalling Nature Reserve. Along the road that dissects the N.R. I spot some Ant orchids (Caladenia roei) which flower August to October between Eurardy Station and Ravensthorpe, and when taking photos also noticed Fringed mantis orchids nearby.

Some Donkey orchids were also found and at the Eastern boundary of the N.R. we found a patch of  Fringed mantis orchids. Too many to count.

We made our way back to the low granite outcrop and Deb immediately finds some purple variants of the Little laughing leek orchid (Prasophyllum gracile) which is quite rare according to my orchid book, so a great find Deb!! Also found on this rock were Lemon-scented sun orchids (Thelymitra antennifera) which flower from July to October between Shark Bay and Israelite Bay and very small donkey orchids.

After finding 18 orchid varieties it is now time to head off for Kwolyin campground, where Richard is waiting for us. … Trio travelling begins.

Kwolyin campground
Triton and camper . Richard with Red Triton and tent.

Sunday search of Helms Arboretum

27/08/2017

Sunday morning fishing planned, however after a sleep-in we decide to head out to Helm’s Arboretum to check on the orchids instead. Our Southern Curly Locks is still yet to bloom so we resign ourselves to the fact we will miss it this season as we head out on our 3 week road trip in 3 days.

Next we check out the location we find our Western tiny blue orchids (Cyanicula aperta) and we were rewarded with both regular blue and some rarer white flowers.

In the adjoining plot I came across a first for me. A Grass-leafed spider orchid (Caladenia graminifolia) which flowers August to September and ranges from Mt Manypeaks to Israelite Bay. I thought is was a Green spider orchid however on checking my Orchid books it proved to be a Hoffman spider orchid due to the prominently clubbed sepals and petals plus the long thin fringe segments on the labellum.

Also in the same plot we located some Snail orchids and King spider orchids. I will go out on a limb and name the snail orchid as Ravensthorpe snail orchid (Pterostylis sp. ‘Ravensthorpe’) as they are found between Stirling Ranges and Esperance and flower August to September. The spider orchid is our local Esperance king spider orchid (Caladenia decora).

Moving along to another plot we locate some White spider orchids. I believe there are two subspecies of the Caladenia longicauda species found. First being the Esperance white spider orchid (Caladenia longicauda subsp. crassa) which has short spreading petals and lateral sepals, flowers August to early September and ranges from Jerramungup to Cape Arid National Park. Second being the Southern white spider orchid (Caladenia longicauda subsp. australora) which has long pendulous petals and lateral sepals, flowers September to October and is found Millar’s Point to Fitzgerald River National Park. Slightly east of recorded location however it is the only White spider orchid that comes close to Esperance with long pendulous petals and sepals. The “Florabase” record 15359 includes the Esperance Local Government boundary and Esperance Plains region in it’s lists of locations, so I am confident with my classification.

 

We move onto another known location to find our little Zebra orchid (Caladenia cairnsiana) and we were not disappointed. These little fellows are found between Esperance and Lancelin and flower August to early November.

Close by the Zebra orchids were Dwarf zebra orchids (Caladenia pachychila) which are distinguished from their big brother by their petals and sepals not clasping the ovary. They still hang but do not clasp the stem.

Another find nearby was a very white White spider orchid. Unable to ID this one but it was big and beautiful.

Next we move to the snail hood plot to see what is still flowering. Our first find were some more Western tiny blue orchids and then we find the snail hood. Snail orchids of unknown identity due to wrinkled leaves.

Our last stop of the day was near the entrance to the reserve and we find the good old faithful Cowslip orchid (Caladenia flava subsp. flava). As usual Helm’s Arboretum didn’t let us down.

Cowslip orchids
Close neighbours

Coastal search

26/08/2017

Today with friends Warren and Tammy we venture out to Rose’s Beach for a day of fishing, however after arriving and setting up in the far western corner I decide to go exploring to see if I could find any orchids.

I walked to the west end of the beach and climbed up the steep coastal dune for an amazing view.

After taking some photos of the view I make my way upwards through the thick vegetation. Under this vegetation I spy some Snail orchids. From the location and appearance these appear to be Coastal snail orchid (Pterostylis sp. ‘coastal snail’) which flower July to August and range from Bremer Bay to Israelite Bay.  It was a small hood with half a dozen or so plants with many more non flowering rosettes.

Nothing more found on the way up, however once on the limestone ridge above the beach I stumble across some Pink fairy orchids (Caladenia latifolia) which are the first for the season. Identified by the underside of the leaf being green. These awesome little orchids flower August to November and range from Kalbarri to Israelite Bay.

I then headed east along the limestone ridge and only came across 2 or 3 more Pink Fairy orchids before finding a way back down to the beach.

Two orchids found within 1 hr is not too bad especially given the very coastal environment searched.

Gibson to Myrup

19/8/2017  On a tip from our friend Deb Witt we are heading north of Gibson to check out what lies within 50km of home.  However first we have our standard fully cooked breakfast at the Esperance Bird & Animal Park and then our obligatory check of Helms Arboretum.  Just past the large green log sign at the entrance we find some Esperance King spider orchids (Caladenia decora) of various colours.

We also checked out our Curly Locks but it still has a way to go before flowering. Fingers crossed it is still there when we return from our September holidays.

Turning east from the Coolgardie-Esperance Hwy we park opposite a patch of scrub with a small lake. Just off the road where we parked Deb spots the first orchid of the day. Donkey orchids are found everywhere on the North roadside verge. Unable to verify exact species as the location does not match any in the books. Possible two different types found as one is duller yellow with hanging sepals and the other is brighter yellow with re-curved and crossed sepals.

We cross the road to the lake side and start looking around when Deb calls me over as she has found a Hare orchid (Leporella fimbriata). This distraction nearly had me  walking into a huge Golden orb spider (Nephila edulis). The poor old Hare orchid was well and truly finished for the season.

More searching and we turn up more Donkey orchids and the first Red beaks (Pyrorchis nigricans) sprouting from the many leaves spotted. In fact there were so many Red beak and Hare orchid leaves around you sometimes could not help stepping on them.

The first Pterostylis orchids of the day were also found. Banded greenhood (Pterostylis vittata) and Jug orchid , plus of course some more Donkey orchids.

Looking under a tallish shrub I notice a patch of Banded greenhoods so make my way under to get a photo. Telling Deb of my find I glance down and there is this very small white coloured orchid. It happened to be a small Sugar orchid (Ericksonella saccharata) which was partially opened. I grabbed some photos and then moved over to take some Banded greenhood photos whilst Deb took some of the Sugar orchid. This little orchid actually fully opened over a period of a few minutes so my next shots were of it fully open.

Pic below is of the Banded Greenwood I mentioned above that lead me to the sugar orchid.

We then made our way back to the Triton and moved further West and turned North along the railway line. We parked up and had a bite to eat before venturing out for another hunt. Deb spied another Sugar orchid and I took a photo of the habitat it was found in and what we get up to taking these photos.

Another Red beak sprouting, lone Snail orchid and Dancing spider (Caladenia discoidea) are found in this area, before we head over the railway line.

Immediately we find what we thought was another sugar orchid, however on returning home and checking the photos on our computer we notice it is in fact a Western tiny blue orchid (Cyanicula aperta). These are found August to early October from Dumbleyung to Mount Ragged. We now laugh that we were so blinded to the fact they were two very different orchids, just both so small, so just appeared to be variants in colour only.

This side of the railway line proved very fruitful with many orchids found. Brittle snail orchids (Pterostylis timothyi), more Western tiny blue orchids, more Redbeaks emerging,  further Dancing orchids and even more Donkey orchids.

Time to head south so we make tracks west until a road heading south is found. At a place where the road had been straightened we take the old track and stop for lunch. Deb spies two Dancing spider orchids and finally a Jug orchid (Pterostylis recurva) fully opened.  I locate some more Donkey orchids then on the other side of this small triangular piece of bush I find some beautiful Esperance king spider orchids. More Donkey orchids found then onward further south.

We stop as the track turns east to a farmers paddock and check around as we can see more Donkey orchids from the Triton. After looking around only Donkeys found here.

The track itself does head straight ahead it just reduces in size and standard. Very weedy now so we cross over the creek at a granite ford. A little further along a small patch opens up to the right, so we decide to check it out.  A little patch of yellow catches Deb’s eye and she calls me over as she has found a season first Common bee orchid (Diuris decrementa) which flowers from August to November and is found from North of Perth to East of Esperance.

We finally make it back to the road and head south stopping a few more times but only finding a single Cowslip orchid.

At the intersection we make a final stop and cross the road to have on more search for anything. Deb calls me over as she finds some Esperance King spider orchids. Now the word some is a little bit understated … There are so many it is impossible to count them.

Also found in numerous clusters were Wispy spider orchids. Unsure of the exact type though.

Some single specimens were also found but I will not attempt to name the exact types of these either.

This final location ended an awesome day with new finds and so many orchids in one place… Nature is grand alright !!!

Dwellingup to Wagin

13/08/2017

After enjoying a wonderful lunch with my brother Geoff and his wife Robyn we make tracks for the long trip back to Esperance. Leaving Dwellingup our first stop is the cemetery. Nothing in flower found, so off to Inglehope Arboretum which also turned up flowerless. Not looking very promising, but we make one more stop on the Pinjarra-Williams Rd  in the Boddington shire to give the Jarrah forest one more chance to show us what it has to offer.

I check the South side of the road and Deb heads North. My side was burnt and I found a few leaves but nothing in flower. In a break between the noise of passing cars Deb informs me she has found some very tall snail orchids. New find for the season, Slender snail orchid (Pterostylis sp. ‘crinkled leaf’). These are found late June to September between Perth and Albany.

As I’m taking photos of the snail orchids Deb moves on a finds Mosquito orchids. As I walk in her direction I too find one which appears to be Mosquito orchid. I take photos of my orchid then head over to Deb. Her orchids are much duller and greener in colour so a closer inspection confirms we have made a brand new discovery. Midge orchid (Cyrtostylis huegelli) is the correct species as the labellum is much thinner than the broad one on the Mosquito orchid. These orchids are found July through September and range from Kalbarri to east of Esperance.

We now move on as we have limited daylight due to the fact we left Dwellingup around 2pm. At least we found something in the Jarrah forest closer to Dwellingup. Our next stop is still Jarrah/Marri forest however is closer to Quindanning. This spot never fails to disappoint. We find Banded greenhoods (Pterostylis vittata) and Little pink fairy orchids (Caladenia reptans subsp. reptans). Little pink faires are found July to October from Northampton to Esperance.

Also found are more Slender snail orchids (with the lateral sepals nibbled down) an unopened Jug orchid and Donkey orchids. Common donkey orchid (Diuris corymbosa) which are found August to October from Gingin to Bunbury.

Moving along we next stop at Mud Map SE 11 location on Williams-Kondinin Rd. Here we find our first Cowslip orchid (Caladenia flava subsp. flava), in flower for the season. These are found July through December from Geraldton to Israelite Bay.

The most prolific orchid found was another donkey orchid. Small flowered donkey orchid (Diuris porrifolia) which are found late July through September from Perth to Boyup Brook, however  Florabase confirms sightings in Local Govt areas of Williams and Narrogin. Our site being in between these 2 towns I am confident of identification.

Also found were Banded greenhoods and Jug orchid (Pterostylis recurva) finally open.

Moving on to another Mud Map SE 13 location which will be our last stop as it is getting late. (5.15pm) We race around for the next 30 minutes and find 8 different species which is amazing. Those already found today include : Slender snail orchid, Little pink fairy orchid, Banded greenhood, Small flowered donkey orchid and Cowslip orchid.

Now for the new finds of today: Dark banded greenhood (Pterostylis sanguinea), Cupped banded greenhood (Pterostylis concava) and Crowded banded greenhood (Pterostylis sp. ‘crowded’). The Cupped and Crowded are brand new finds for us in fact. The Cupped are found June to August from Bindoon to Mt Barker whilst the Crowded are found July to September between Katanning and Wongan Hills.

Light is fading fast so we make tracks for Esperance. We arrive home just before midnight….

Road trip to Perth

11/08/2017

An early morning start for the long haul from Esperance to Perth. First stop was at Pallarup Rock N.R. It was just after 7am and it was freezing. There was a lot of water around so I had to watch my step. First orchid found was a little Blue beard or Blue fairy orchid (Pheladenia deformis). Took a pic and then ventured across the flowing water onto the granite rock. Some more Blue beards found and then further

into the scrub some yellow caught my eye. Donkey orchids. Now which type??

I believe them to be Western wheatbelt donkey orchid (Diuris sp. ‘western wheatbelt’) which occur July through September and range from York to Ravensthorpe. Walking back more Blue Beards and Donkey orchids are found as was a lone Jug orchid yet to fully develop.

On the track back to the sealed road I spy one poor specimen of a Snail orchid

My next stop for a quick orchid hunt is the Lookout at Lake Grace. As expected I found some Wispy spider orchids. Also as expected it is too hard to attempt to identify them all but I believe two types to be Chameleon spider orchid (Caladenia dimidia) and Common spider orchid (Caladenia vulgata). The Chameleon is found July to September from Paynes Find to Norseman whilst the Common is found July to October from Kalbarri to Esperance.  

Also found up here were Dark banded greenhood (Pterostylis sanguinea), Jug orchid and another Donkey orchid.

Moving on, the next quick check was on the Piesseville Tarwonga Rd turn-off. There were so many Caladenia orchids in bud, but could not for the life of me find one in flower. In the ditch to the side of the road I  found many snail orchids, including Hairy-stemmed snail orchid (Pterosylis sp. ‘inland’) and whilst photographing them I also found some Banded greenhoods (Pterostylis vittata) and Dark banded greenhoods.

On Albany Hwy just past Williams I was stuck behind a slow moving truck, so I decided to check out the Williams Nature Reserve. It was a promising place however I was running out of time, so a few quick checks before heading off to meet up with Deb and Kirstie in Perth.  Only found some great Dark banded greenhood specimens.