Boyatup – 1st visit of the 17/18 Season


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Western wispy spider orchid (Caladenia microchila)  

Esperance king spider orchid (Caladenia decora)

Jug Orchid (Pterostylis recurva)

Blue beard (Pheladenia deformis)

Mosquito orchids (Cyrtostylis robusta)

Robust snail orchid (Pterostylis dilatata)

Fawn snail orchid (Pterostylis parva)

Hare orchid (Leporella fimbriata)

Banded greenhoods (Pterostylis vittata)

Dancing spider orchid (Caladenia discoidea)

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

Hood of Snails


Back to Helms Arboretum (Mud Map SE35) to see what’s now flowering. First up we locate the one and only Southern curly-locks (Thelymitra uliginosa) and it has just sprouted so hopefully it will be in flower before our September holidays.

We then made our way to Plot 8 where we find the beginning of the snail orchid eruption, which we have witnessed in previous years. First we find Hairy-stemmed snail orchid (Pterostylis sp. ‘inland’).  

Also found two other snail orchid species. Unsure of the classification for both with one being taller, with 3 stem leaves but a lack of hairs on the stem  and the other being quite small stature with 2 stem leaves and a rosette of crinkled edged leaves.

Also found were some Banded greenhoods (Pterostylis vittata)   with many more finished for the season.

Finally we head down to the western edge of the Arboretum and check out under the pine trees. Some little microtis type leaves with sprouts found and many pyrorchis leaves, some were very large. Nothing else found so we have some afternoon tea and head home.

Condingup calling


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hare orchid
Twins saying goodbye to the season


Coolinup calling – Pt 2


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Coolinup Calling – Pt1


Today we headed East . Our first destination was the track off Coolinup Road where we found a few orchids back in June.   Coolinup Nature Reserve  indicates location of Road.

My first find is two small Pterostylis orchids just budding from their rosettes, however Deb locates some fully formed Snail orchids. I take my pics then go check out her find.

From the pointed nature of the hood these are Brittle snail orchid (Pterostylis timothyi) . A little further along some Fawn snail orchid (Pterostylis parva), previously sp. ‘small stature’, were found as they have a plumpier appearance.

Also found were some Prasophyllum parvifolium orchids either pre or post flowering.  Then in the middle of our walking track I spied 2 small specks of pink. Excited to find Pink bunny orchids (Eriochilus saber subsp. saber) again.

Eriochilus scaber subsp. scaber
Size comparison with 5c coin

Deb found some late Hare orchids (Leporella fimbriata) and further snail orchids were found. Then under a WA Christmas Tree ( Nuytsia floribunda ) Deb finds some Rattlebeak (Lyperanthus serratus) leaves, which is only the 3rd location ever we have found them.

Under another nearby WA Christmas Tree I spied our first Spider Orchid of the season. It appears to be the Common spider orchid (Caladenia vulgata). There ends up being 4 in close proximity. One poor specimen has his dorsal sepal nipped off.

On the way back to the Triton, parked on the sodden track, we find more Pink bunny orchids, Hare orchids, Snail and Greenhood orchids, including the smallest flowering greenhood I have ever seen.

Highway North


Today we headed north along the Coolgardie-Esperance Hwy until we arrived at Salmon Gums. Checked out the area across from the CBH grain stacks. Only found numerous Thelymitra (Sun Orchid) leaves. Disheartened we cross the Hwy to just north of the CBH grain stack and this small green orchid comes into view. It appears to be a very small , yet to fully develop greenhood. However on closer inspection I am ecstatic to make a brand new find. Midget greenhood (Pterostylis mutica) which flower July to October and range from Wongan Hills to the SA border. They are so small and on further hunting we find more, including those in full bloom. We also come across many finished for this season Pygmy orchid (Corunastylis tepperi).

We now head south down the Hwy to Eldred Rd. Near the lake I find more Sun Orchid leaves and then come across some Dark Banded Greenhood (Pterostylis sanguinea). We then cross over the Hwy for a quick look and find some more Midget greenhoods.

Not much else so back into the Triton and we move to the south entrance of Eldred Rd and park in the bush surrounding the larger lake. Deb immediately spies a lone snail orchid. Due to it’s hairy stem I’m calling this one Hairy stemmed snail orchid (Pterostylis sp. ‘inland’), which are found from Kalbarri to Balladonia between June and September. We also found Dark Banded Greenhoods and more spent Pygmy orchids.

We then continue south and pull into Circle Valley Rd and park up for a bite to eat. Looking further around this area nothing found so we venture north over the road, on the lake side, Finally found some Midget greenhoods but nothing more. No more time to lose here so we move further south on the Hwy to our next stop.

Red Lake Town-site Nature Reserve to the right of the Hwy had an area the was fairly cleared with tracks everywhere and Dark banded greenhoods with Pygmy orchids nearby were found. Looking at Maps on the mobile phone it showed a track running in the middle of the reserve for the entire length, so we made our way to this and took it south.

Midget greenhoods found again so I then decided to walk the track whilst Deb drove the Triton.

I came across some very thin Pterostylis orchids with very small unformed flowers and very thin stem leaves. Once laying on the ground for a closer look I recognise the shape of the flower head. These are Frog greenhoods (Pterostylis sargentii) which are found July to October between Northampton and Grass Patch.

We reached the south boundary and no way back to the Hwy so we back track to find a track heading east to the Hwy. On the track more Pygmy orchids, Midget greenhoods, Dark banded greenhoods and Frog greenhoods.

Then finally some snails. From the fawn colouring I’m calling them to be Brittle snail orchid (Pterostylis timothyi). Nearby we find some Frog greenhoods in full flower and more Midget greenhoods.

Our next planned stop was Grass Patch but as it was getting late (3.30pm) we make tracks for Truslove Nature Reserve as it was burnt in the Nov 15 bush fires. We found a track to the west and followed it in a bit before walking around. Some beautiful Lechenaultia in reds, pinks and oranges, but no orchids. However on the walk back to the Triton, Deb finds both Banded greenhood (Pterostylis vittata) and Dark banded greenhood, on the side of the track.

We then drive a little further south down the Hwy and take a sandy track to the East. Slowly driving along the track the flowers have changed from Lechenaultia to Pea bushes in yellows. Even with all the yellow to distract me I was lucky enough to pick out a lone Donkey orchid. Finally some colour in our orchids. Green Range donkey orchid (Diuris sp. ‘Green Range’). Used the flash for some photos as the light was fading fast.

It was dark when we arrived home but we had found 4 greenhoods, 2 snails, 1 donkey, spent pygmy and sun leaves, so not too bad a day out.





Solo search


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

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

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