Helms Arboretum – We did miss you !!

25/09/2017

After a weekend of fishing we head out to Helms Arboretum (Mud Map SE35) on a long weekend Monday, to see what has changed whilst we were away on our Road Trip. First up are the usual suspects : Common bee orchids (Diuris decrementa), Cowslip orchids (Caladenia flava subsp flava), Lemon-scented sun orchid (Thelymitra antennifera), Purple enamel orchid (Elythranthera brunonis) and Esperance king spider orchid (Caladenia decora)

These guys were all found prior to our Road Trip as well, so the search now is for anything new. Well we are not disappointed, as we find a patch with many White spider orchids. Some appear to be the Rigid white spider orchid (Caladenia longicauda subsp. rigidula) as the petals and lateral sepals are stiffly spread. One had white fringe segments and the other red, same with the calli. This orchid is found between Ravensthorpe and Israelite Bay from August to early October.

Other white spider orchids were found which seem to be another species or subspecies. Some appear to be the Esperance white spider orchid (Caladenia longicauda subsp. crassa) which flowers August to early October as well, but ranges from Jerramungup to Cape Arid. The flowers are larger with broader petals and sepals.

The other appears to be the Reclining spider orchid (Caladenia cruscula) due to its short labellum and short petals and lateral sepals. This one flowers August to September and ranges between Salmon Gums and Mt Ragged. So we are a bit south of this range

With so many variables and possibilities my naming of the above orchids is quite likely incorrect, so please let me know your thoughts. However the next orchid is more recognisable. The Zebra orchid (Caladenia cairnsiana) can only be confused with the Dwarf Zebra orchid which is found in inland areas and has a incurved dorsal sepal.

Final orchids found were more Cowslip orchids in good numbers. Some pics taken then off we go to have our big catch of fish weighed.

This was our final orchid adventure of the 2017 West Australian orchid season.  I hope you have enjoyed reading about our adventures as much as we enjoyed having them. 2018 will prove a more challenging year as we move into our newly built home in April/May.  So we will be busy painting, putting up fences, laying lawn, landscaping and numerous other tasks. This will reduce the hours available for Orchid Adventures, so we will see how the new year progresses. Until then take care.

Last Hoorah of our Holidays

22/09/2017

As we came home early from our Road Trip we had to finish our holidays with a final orchid hunt. What better place to check out than Boyatup Hill (Mud Map SE40) . Like Helms Arboretum, Boyatup never disappoints. Arriving at 10am we immediately go exploring for orchids. Our first orchid is the Purple enamel orchid ( Elythranthera brunonis).  Closely followed by the small Diuris orchid, from the Bee orchid complex. From the habitat found and the small stature of the plants they appear to be the Common bee orchid (Diuris decrementa).

In close proximity we come across a Red beak (Pyrorchis nigricans), Cowslip orchids (Caladenia flava subsp. flava), more Purple enamel orchids and Common bee orchids.

Then prior to hopping back in the Triton we find some Lemon-scented sun orchids (Thelymitra antennifera) and what appears to be an Esperance king spider orchid (Caladenia decora) nearing the end of it’s season.

 We now pass through the gravel pit and head up the track to a spot that allows us to turn around, where we get out have morning tea, then head on up the overgrown track on foot,  towards the granite outcrop. Along this overgrown track we find some Pink candy orchids (Caladenia hirta subsp. rosea), more Cowslip orchids and Esperance king spider orchids, plus some of the small, Zebra orchids (Caladenia cairnsiana).

As mentioned Boyatup is a great location and as proof we have already found 8 varieties in the first half hour of looking. What will a few hours bring? We can’t wait to find out.

Next orchid found was a Pointing spider orchid (Caladenia exstans) which is only found between Esperance and Israelite Bay from September to early November.

More yellow spied. Cowslips and Lemon-scented sun orchids found.

Then to our surprise we find a Beautiful donkey orchid (Diuris pulchella), very near it’s season end, but still showing off it’s mauve colouring.

The further along we walk the more we find. More Zebra, Cowslip, Pink Candy, Pointing spider and Beautiful donkey orchids, then something new for the day. We break out of the overgrown track onto an open, damp, low granite rock space about the size of a soccer pitch and find a Blue china orchid (Cyanicula gemmata ), but exact identification is uncertain as 3 different species can be found in this location.

Next orchids found were a small grouping of a Caladenia hybrid. One parent is the Cowslip orchid but deciding the other was proving difficult. The other parent does not appear to be the usual Pink fairy orchids as the dorsal sepal hangs forward over the column, which is a feature of the Pink fans.  Reviewing the site esperancewildflowers.blogspot.com.au  and the Spider Orchids EBook 2018 it appears the other parent to be the Little pink fan orchid.  I would never have picked this due to the recorded location being  West of Bremer Bay. So in my research the EBook mentions a hybrid between these two orchids being photographed in Esperance and the Esperance wildflowers blog records finding the Little pink fan orchid within his 160km radius of Esperance. So I am recording these orchids as (Caladenia flava x Caladenia nana) an unnamed hybrid.

 Before leaving this open area we find our smallest orchid of the day. A Laughing leek orchid (Prasophyllum macrostachyum) which is found September through January in a range from Dongara to Cape le Grand. We are 50km East of this range however the flowers appear wider spaced, lateral sepals are shorter and dorsal sepal is wider, than the related Little laughing leek orchid, so I am happy with my classification.

The track becomes over grown again and we find a lone spider orchid. Appears to be a Western wispy spider orchid (Caladenia microchila) although this is far from certain

Then we come to the low prickly scrub which leads up to the Granite outcrop. Close to the base of the rock is a thick woodland but for now we are searching in thigh high bushes. Amazingly we find a Rattle Beak (Lyperanthus serratus) growing under one of the bushes bordering the track. Further along we find more Rattle beaks pushing through the prickly shrubs.

We don’t have time or inclination to bush bash to the granite rock so after a few more minutes finding further Purple enamel, Pointing spider, Esperance king spider and Zebra orchids we back track to the Triton and move on to another location closer to home, only just.

On a track named Bebenorin Rd we first come across what appeared to be another Esperance king spider orchid, but on closer inspection I believe it to be a Heberle’s spider orchid (Caladenia herberleana) due to the narrow clubbing of the lateral sepals. These flower September and October in a range from Augusta to Cape Arid which causes them to grow in the same area and at a similar time to the Esperance king spider orchid which makes it difficult to distinguish between them.

Close by we find some Dancing spider orchids (Caladenia discoidea) and more Cowslip orchids, this time with longer, thinner lateral sepals.

Another first for the day is the Common mignonette orchid (Microtis media) which flowers September through January and ranges from Shark Bay to Eyre, one of the largest ranges of the orchid family in WA.

Getting hungry so we head off to Thomas River for lunch, but not before taking a few more pics.

Just at the entrance to the National Park we find some more Rattle beaks, Lemon-scented sun orchids, Purple enamel orchids and Bee orchids, however only got good pics of the Rattle beaks.

We decide to have lunch at the top campground as they have undercover seating. First though we check out the beach and take a walk up the trail for a bit, looking for the patch of leaves we found months earlier. Nothing doing, so we head back to have lunch. On the track in, Deb spies some blue and we are lucky enough to find a solitary Coastal sun orchid (Thelymitra granitora) with a Lemon-scented sun orchid neighbour.

We park the Triton in one of the camping bays and quickly look around, finding  a Pointing spider orchid and a King spider orchid, species unknown due to it’s petals and lateral sepals being nibbled off.

After lunch we make our way to the Len Otte nature trail. At the base of the first rise we find a small Laughing leek orchid and further up a some Pink fairies (Caladenia latifolia) and  Common bee orchids.

Moving through a wooded part of the trail we find some Western wispy spider orchids, before coming out onto the next clearing. Here we get the fright of our life, with a big, black, curled up snake hiding in the low bushes. We keep to the track from now on, no bush bashing, so to speak.

Now to add to our day the heavens open up and it starts to rain. We try to hurry back but the I see another Blue sun orchid, which appears to be another Coastal sun orchid. Then just as the rain and wind picks up we find some Rabbit orchids (Leptoceras menziesii) in a new location for this nature trail. Photos with it raining and your lenses fogging up, is not an easy task.

Nearby Deb finds a lone Snail orchid. From location and the length of the lateral sepals I am naming it Ravensthorpe snail orchid (Pterostylis sp. ‘ Ravensthorpe’), which is found from Stirling Ranges to Esperance, flowering August and September.

Still getting wet, but unperturbed, we still search whilst walking quickly back and find some more spider orchids and cowslip orchids.  No good photos though, due to rain and fogging lenses, so will not post them. Well this was quite a day of orchid hunting, as our holidays draw to an end. However we did finish on a high – 22 species found in just over 4hours of searching.

Road Trip – Day 19 – Tutanning Nature Reserve to Harrismith

19/9/2017

After breakfast we go for a more leisurely search around our campsite for any orchids we may have missed in our late search yesterday. Ant orchid (Caladenia roei), Sugar orchid (Ericksonella saccharata), Cowslip orchid (Caladenia flava subsp. flava) were again located as was one Fringed mantis orchid (Caladenia falcata) with a dangling labellum. Also found was a yet to open Thelymitra species.

We then hurried back to camp, packed up a headed back along the track we drove down late yesterday afternoon. First up were some Donkey orchids, which due to the location they must be Western wheatbelt donkey orchids (Diuris brachyscapa).

Further along we find more Cowslip orchids plus better specimens of the Fringed mantis orchid.

And finally after a very long spell we finally find another Pterostylis specimen, the Jug orchid (Pterostylis recurva).

Our final stop along the bush track was at a small granite outcrop, where we found some Lemon-scented sun orchids (Thelymitra antennifera)  and some yet to flower Elbow orchids (Spiculaea ciliata)

We leave Tutanning N. R. and head on down to Wickepin, where we have a yummy lunch, before heading over to visit Toolibin Lake N. R.. On the track in we spy many Fringe mantis orchids, some with two flowers per stem.

We decided to take a walk alongside the track to see what other orchids may be around. We came across Cowslip orchids, Dancing spider orchid (Caladenia discoidea) and Pink fairies (Caladenia latifolia).

We then drove to the parking area and attempted the lake walk, however it was closed due to flooding from recent heavy rain, which had washed away some of the infrastructure. I decided to walk back along the track and Deb drove the Triton, which proved fortuitous as I found some Ant orchids and Deb found some spider orchids.

Drooping spider orchid (Caladenia radialis) is the obvious specie as it has a smooth margined labellum with distinctive striping.

Final find before hitting the Wickepin-Harrismith Rd is a great Pink fairy twin.

As soon as we got on the Wickepin-Harrismith Road we took a track near Dulbining Lake,  that seemed to run adjacent to the road and drove along in 1st gear with our heads hanging out the window looking. Some spider orchids are seen on the left hand side of the track, so we alight from the Triton to check them out. They appear to be Common spider orchid (Caladenia vulgata).

Moving slowly along this track we find many other orchids, starting with Cowslip orchids, Fringed mantis orchid and Pink candy orchids (Caladenia hirta subsp. rosea).

 

Then we find what we initially thought were more Ant orchids. However on closer inspection we have found Purple-veined spider orchid (Caladenia doutchiae) which flowers August to October between Mullewa and Ravensthorpe. In the middle of all these is a lone Ant orchid.

Final orchids found before getting back on the sealed road were what appeared at first to be Common spider orchids. However the flowers had much broader labellum’s and if they were fully unfurled, long petals and sepals. I am going to name these Pendant spider orchid (Caladenia pendens subsp. pendens) which flower August to early October in a range from Wongan Hills to Walpole.

Travelling west we arrive at Harrismith and as the weather was looking like rain we decide to book a room rather than risk getting our canvas camper wet. Rather than a room we take the donger which has its own shower and toilet. Was really cheap and rough but was sufficient for 1 night. After unpacking into the bedroom we decide to take a drive around the self drive wildflower tour. Our first orchids were more Fringed  mantis orchids. (Mud Map SE 10)

Also found were Western wheatbelt donkey orchids, Sugar orchid and Jug orchids.

Back just before sunset, so we have a shower and get changed into fresh clothes, then make our way over to the Oasis Hotel for a meal, game of pool and a few drinks to celebrate finding 15 different orchids.

Road Trip – Day 18 – Walyormouring to Tutanning Nature Reserve

18/09/2017

After breaking camp we head through Goomalling to our first planned stop, Cunderdin Hill lookout. Lots of broken glass and pink everlastings with blue cornflowers thrown in, were the only finds. We made our way down to town centre and visited the famous Ettamogah Pub for lunch.

 After lunch we head off towards Quairading, however we notice a sign for Toapin Weir (Featured Image) so decide to check it out. What an amazing hidden gem this is. Great granite outcrop to explore, flushing toilets, fresh water supply, gas BBQ and picnic tables. We would have stayed here the night had it not been so early in the day.

Now off to explore for orchids with our first find being some spent Prasophyllum gracile complex orchids closely followed by some donkey orchids. Location would suggest them to be Western wheatbelt donkey orchid (Diuris brachyscapa). 

Next up we start finding Sun orchids that have yet to open which is frustrating given our long wait in Charles Darwin Reserve. However we finally stumble across some that have opened. The Granite sun orchid (Thelymitra petrophila) which blooms August to November from Mullewa to South Australia was a sight for strained eyes.

 Much better specimens of the Little laughing leek orchid (Prasophyllum gracile) including single plants to small clumps of plants were found on the walk back to the Triton.

Now we head off for our over night stay location which we have not decided upon just yet.. How unusual for us.. NOT. We bypassed Quairading instead driving through Dangin and south past Lake Mears to Tutanning Nature Reserve, located in the Dutarning Range. Totally unaware if any suitable camping site would be found we headed West into the reserve and on the drive in we spied some Cowslip orchids (Caladenia flava subsp. flava). However as light was fading fast, given it was after 5pm, we didn’t stop to take photos as we wanted to find our overnight stop first.  By chance we came across a wonderful cleared site, which must have been some sort of farm or townsite, now abandoned. We quickly set up camp then went exploring. First up we both came across more Cowslips.

Next orchid found by Deb was a Blue china orchid (Cyanicula gemmata), which flower August to early November in a range that stretches from Kalbarri to Israelite Bay.  My next orchid on the other hand was an Ant orchid (Caladenia roei). We then quickly moved to each others location to grab some photos.

Also found were Sugar orchids (Ericksonella saccharata) . Light is fading fast so we make our way back to camp when we stumble across another Blue china orchid.

Seven species found for the day

Road Trip – Day 16 – Arrino to Petrudor

16/9/2017

From our camp in Arrino we back track west then south to Hydraulic Road where we make our first stop of the day. Nothing found so we drive further east to a creek crossing then stop for another look. Wow there are so many Purple enamel orchids (Elythranthera brunonis) and then on the other side of the creek Deb finds some Cowslip orchids (Caladenia flava subsp. flava). 

This was also the area we were directed to find some spider orchids. Spent Pterostylis found first then some spider orchids well passed their best.

So back to Three Springs to fuel up and onwards through Carnamah to Bunjil. Turning south we travel through Latham and make a orchid hunting stop at Buntine Rock. (Mud Map N38) We park the Triton and make our way to the rock by foot. Lemon-scented sun orchids (Thelymitra antennifera) are the first to be found , quickly followed by many small Donkey orchids. They appear to be Pale donkey orchids (Diuris sp. ‘mid-north’) as they are very pale in colour and small in size.

Other donkey orchids found that I am unable to name. They did not fit the description given to the two species that are recorded from around these parts.

Confusing aspects such as : More colourful;  lateral sepals that hang rather than being reflexed; reflexed or upright petals; upright dorsal sepal. Pictures posted as evidence of these variations.

Our next orchid hunting stop was at Miamoon Reserve (Mud Map N40), which is southwest of Wubin. We walked around this flat granite outcrop which still had some wet areas which allowed us to find a new species for this trip. First up though were more donkey orchids which now appear to be Dainty donkey orchids (Diuris refracta), which flower late July to early September between Bindoon and Northampton. Also found were more Lemon-scented sun orchids.

The new species found is Common bee orchid (Diuris decrementa) which flowers from late August to early November in an area from North of Perth to Esperance. We must be in the northern margins of its territory.

Final orchids found for the day were some spent Little laughing leek orchids and more Lemon-scented sun orchids.

We then made tracks heading south through Dalwallinu and turning east at Pithara. Finally we turn south down Petrudor Rd and make camp at Petrudor Rock. Before the sun sets we go for a walk around the rock but find no orchids.

6 species flowering with 3 other s past their prime. Not too bad a day.

Road Trip – Day 15 – Canna to Arrino

15/9/2017

After breakfast I take a little walk around our campsite in Canna (Mud Map N30) and finally find some orchids. It has been many days since we left Charles Darwin Reserve where the last orchids found were located. Pale donkey orchid (Diuris sp. ‘mid-north’) appears to be the orchid found, with only a few scattered individuals encountered. These orchids flower late August to late September and are found between Moora and Mingenew. Canna being only 60kms NW of Mingenew.

We say our goodbyes to Richard at the Canna Hall, then before heading off, we decide to take the Wildflower walk to Canna Church Rock. First up were more donkey orchids but then we find some Dainty blue orchids (Cyanicula amplexans). At the rock picnic area we come across some Lemon scented sun orchids (Thelymitra antennifera) and some Cowslip orchids (Caladenia flava subsp. flava), plus more donkey orchids.

After the walk we had awesome showers for a donation, then made our way south to Bilya Rock. No real parking area, so we pull alongside the track as best we could with camper trailer in tow. Onto the rock and the only colour immediately visible is Yellow. Lemon-scented sun orchids, Pale donkey orchids and Cowslip orchids were found. Some of the donkey orchids could be Dainty donkey orchids due to the reflexed petals however it is very difficult to tell.

We checked out War Rock which was surrounded by paddocks, so was overrun with weeds. Time to make tracks for Three Springs as we had to get to the bank. We also took the time to have another counter lunch, this time at the Commercial Hotel. We asked for orchid locations at the Tourist bureau and was given a map with places marked for possible sightings, however the lady informed us it has not been a great year and things flowered earlier than usual this season. We made our way around Dookanooka Nature Reserve and was lucky enough to find some Cowslip orchids early on, then much later some Purple enamel orchids (Elythanthera brunonis). First for this season as they flower August to early November on a large range from Kalbarri to Israelite Bay.

Nothing else found so we make tracks to Arrino for our next overnight camp.               Only 5 known species found today, which was a slow start to our orchid hunting as we move south away from the dry north.

Road Trip – Day 9 – Day 14 Charles Darwin Reserve to Canna

9/9 After checking out of Charles Darwin Reserve we make one more trip to the spot on the track to Mongers Well, to see if the sun orchid had finally flowered. Yeehah it has. It is very small Granite sun orchid (Thelymitra petrophila). Nearby is another one not 100% open, but a darker colouring, so I took photos of it as well.

I couldn’t pass up some last photos of a Dainty blue orchid (Cyanicula amplexans)

First day we travelled North up to Paynes Find before heading East towards Sandstone. We camped just off  the road this night.

10/9 In the morning, Deb and Richard tried their hand at some prospecting using a very old metal detector. We lunched at the National Hotel in Sandstone, then after filling up our water tanks, we took the tourist loop around Sandstone before heading West to our next overnight stop at Jundoo Dam on the road to Mount Magnet.

11/9 After stopping at Paynesville cemetery we made it to Mount Magnet for an awesome hot beef roll in the Grand Hotel. After a visit to the Dept of Mines for maps etc to help with the prospecting, we take the tourist route with a planned overnight stop at Garden Rock, near Cue.

12/9 After a walk over the granite rock we head into Cue to check out the town. Very nice old buildings but very empty streets. We now head south looking for the spot we picked from the maps for some prospecting. After having a go finding gold mid afternoon, we find at place to camp for the next 2 nights.

13/9 Deb and Richard have a day gold detecting nearby, whilst I remain at camp. Writing notes for this blog and just relaxing.

14/9 Today Deb and Richard show me some of the areas they visited yesterday and then we make tracks for Yalgoo and further south, Canna for our overnight stop.

Fingers crossed we find some more orchids soon as I’m getting withdrawal pains!!!