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.

27/06/2021 ….. Pink Lake Lookout

Esperance, Pink Lake, Western Australian Orchids

As Deb started work at 2pm today, I decided to checkout a new location. But where? Deb mentioned the Pink Lake Lookout and the Great Ocean Trail as a location with possibilities. As I had the Ford this sounded like a great spot to try.

First up though I decided to check out our location on Pink Lake to see if the Mosquito orchids have started to flower yet. This place unfortunately is getting to be a dumping ground for illegal rubbish and it actually had an abandoned van backed up on the other side of the barrier. I only found the leaves with sprouts growing, so a week or so off from flowering I guess.

Now time to check out the new location. I park the Ford at the lookout, where a family of friendly magpies greets you. One of them grabs a dead bird from my grill that would have been mummified, as it has been there for a few weeks. Crossing over the road I climb up to the seat on the Great Ocean Trail. Now which way? Right or Left.

I choose to go towards the Pink Lake Golf Club. The trail is paved so easy walking. However orchids don’t grow in paved walk trails, so I skirt the very edge looking into the surrounding scrub. I decide to leave the trail and head down into the valley via the cleared space underneath the over head powerlines. At a fallen banksia tree I did see some Caladenia leaves growing so things are promising. However as nothing else is found I push through a patch of grass trees (Xanthorrhoea platyphylla) back to the trail.

Many many grasstrees to push through

A little bit further along I leave the trail to to left and head in to a patch of open ground. It is here I find more leaves before finally stumbling across what I thought to be a lone Banded greenhood (Pterostylis vittata) in flower. After taking some photos I look around and there are many more flowering nearby. In fact the area is covered in them, ranging from 1cm to over 30cm in height.

After more searching I find a patch of smaller rosettes, so down on my hands and knees for a closer inspection as they are under the scrub. I find some orchids so close to being in full bloom, that it is frustrating to say the least. They are most likely Curled-tongue shell orchids (Pterostylis rogersii) which are coastal orchids found from Esperance to Binningup during the months June to August.

Time to move back to the trail, so I push through some scrub and stumble across some Cyrtostylis leaves. Upon closer inspection they have orchid buds around 2-3 cm in height, so flowering is not too far away. Will have to inspect later to confirm if they are Mosquito or Midge orchids.

Cyrtostylis sp. in bub

Further along the track on the edge of the vegetation I find more Caladenia leaves, which is exciting for the season ahead. As I get closer to the golf course road the edge of the trail gets overrun in weeds, though some more Caladenia leaves are found in the less overrun areas.

Upon reaching the road I turn back and discover a Redbeak orchid leaf in the road base of the trail edge. Quickly looked for more but only the one leaf found. Made it back to the start of my trek with no other finds, so I decide to quickly check the trail in the other direction.

Redbeak leaf

Checking the non-lake side of the track I find some more small Caladenia leaves where the trail heads down to the Eleven Mile Beach Road. However I head up a slope into the scrub for one final look. Banded greenhoods in flower are found which is great, followed up by more leaves. Time to leave as I have a Birthday BBQ to get to by 5pm and it is already after 4pm.

This location looks as though if may become a regular haunt for us given the number of leaves etc found on this one quick visit. Maybe next weekend I’ll bring Deb along as the Shell and Mosquito/midge orchids may be flowering. If not the Caladenia orchids will require a later revisit anyways.

20/06/2021 ….. Munglinup weekend .. Day 2

Cascade NR, Fields NR, Munglinup NR, Nature Reserves, Road Trip, Speddingup NR, Springdale NR, Weekend away, Western Australian Orchids

Waking to another beautiful morning at Munglinup Beach Camping Ground we enjoy a leisurely morning before packing up the camper and moving to Springdale Nature Reserve for our first orchid hunt. No orchids found so we move onto Munglinup Nature Reserve to see if we have better luck.

We park up just inside the track and venture in on foot. First orchid for the day is the Dark banded greenhood (Pterostylis sanguinea) which is a widespread orchid flowering June to September.

Once we reach the old gravel pit Deb heads off to the area she had previously found Hare orchid (Leporella fimbriata) leaves. She was lucky to find some in flower even though they are way past their best.

Also found a very promising leaf about 4mm across. It appears to be from the Drakaea genus however the only species mentioned as being located near this location has a smooth heart shaped leaf. This leaf has small hairs over it’s surface so may be another species not listed for this location. Again any assistance you can provide to the correct identification would be appreciated.

Nothing more found at this location so we move onto one of our regular haunts along the highway. At the intersection of Mills Road we go exploring, though not expecting too much to be found. However we find our first orchid from the Diuris genus, which is exciting. The Green Range donkey orchid (Diuris littoralis) is found in large numbers, however there are only a few early flowering ones, given that they are said to flower from July to September.

Also found some dark greenhood orchids and well as some lighter green in colour. They may be two species or colour variant’s of the same. Possible identification: Dark banded greenhood (Pterostylis sanguinea), Mallee banded greenhood (Pterostylis arbuscula) or Banded greenhood (Pterostylis vittata). Give me your thoughts.

We next move along Mills Road to our next location (Mud Map SE32). We first explore the north side of the road and come across a Hairy-stemmed snail orchid (Pterostylis setulosa) flowering all alone. Another solo specimen is later found. Crossing to the south side of the road proves fruitless so we move on.

We head further north, as we have chosen to check out Cascade Nature Reserve. Here we pull into the old quarry/gravel pit and go exploring. First up we find more banded greenhoods, then discover a shell orchid in bud. It should be a Dwarf shell orchid (Pterostylis brevichila), which flower from July to September, as it is just starting to flower. All other inland shell orchid species commence flowering in May.

If we get a chance we will return later to catch the shell orchids in full flower. However we must keep moving, so even further north we check out Fields Nature Reserve. This is a new location so very unsure what may be here. Unfortunately we only find more greenhood orchids. These appear to be a mixture of species, which is cool.

The only other species found was a single, early flowering, Brittle snail orchid (Pterostylis timothyi) which have a small rosette of pointed leaves and the flower is green and fawn in colour. They are said to flower from July, hence this one is not fully formed as yet.

We now head east and at the Scaddan / Dalyup boundary, we check out Speddingup Nature Reserve. We had visited here back on the 22/5/21, when we located many pterostylis rosettes, so we hope some have now flowered.

Well first up we found what appeared to be a Midget greenhood (Pterostylis mutica) in bud. Then as expected we finally find some Dwarf shell orchids (Pterostylis brevichila) in flower. In fact they were even growing on the edge of the track. These are an inland shell orchid which flowers from July, so we are lucky some early flowering specimens were here.

I venture across the road and find more banded greenhoods. Again the species may be variable.

It is now 4pm so time to make tracks for home. A great day with some good finds. The season is starting out great. I can’t wait till the next adventure.

19/06/2021 ….. Munglinup weekend .. Day 1

Lake Shaster NR, Munglinup Beach, Nature Reserves, Other Reserves, Road Trip, Weekend away, Western Australian Orchids

Following a great nights sleep, in our Ezytrail camper, we awake to a beautiful winters morning at the Munglinup Beach Campground (Mud Map SE 33). After a leisurely breakfast we finally go exploring for orchids. In the consolidated sand dunes we find what we have been looking for. So many pterostylis rosettes, so we move around in extreme care, looking for orchids in flower.

In the middle of all theses rosettes we eventually find some Curled-tongue shell orchids (Pterostylis rogersii) standing tall. Well about 100mm tall that is. Flowering plants lack the rosette which is a distinctive feature of shell orchids.

No other flowering orchids found. Numerous leaves of different species found, so a return visit later in the season may be warranted. As we are camping the night we spread our search wider, by packing up the Triton and driving west into Lake Shaster Nature Reserve. This track west leads to some possible beachside camping and day use areas and it along this track that we find our next pterostylis species.

They appear to be Dark banded greenhoods (Pterostylis sanguinea) which are a greenhood with brown to green flowers. They are found in coastal dunes and scrublands when near the coast.

Further along the track a lonely snail orchid is spotted. I am unable to identify this specimen after referencing my books, so if you can assist please leave a comment.

We reach the beach and take a break to enjoy the lunch that Deb had whipped up back at camp. We then move a little further west to another beach where Deb tries her hand at fishing, whilst I explore for orchids in the surrounding dunes. Deb was more successful than I, so we return back to camp with no more orchids found, however I did find a good patch of leaves.

Found the orchid we expected in the shell orchid and the snail and greenhood orchids were a bonus. Deb got to fish and we both got to enjoy our beautiful south east coast on a sunny winters day. Now to light the campfire and have a drink or two.

Relaxation time

07/06/2021 ….. Wander home from weekend visiting family

Highbury SF, Road Trip, State Forest, Weekend away, Western Australian Orchids

A roadtrip to Perth and back with two grandkids in tow. What were we thinking. LOL!! So after a great catch-up with family in Dwellingup, Mandurah and Perth it was time for the long trek home. All the more interesting given our two special passengers.

Leaving Dwellingup we make a quick stop at Marradong Church for a look at the memorial sculpture. Then we stop at Quindanning Hall for a toilet break and to stretch our legs before we head off towards home. However at Highbury State Forest, along Tarwonga Road, we decide to have a quick scout around for some orchids. I walk along the track with my grandson, whilst Deb and the granddaughter drive slowly along in the Triton.

Too my delight , we find some orchids. The common Hairy-stemmed snail orchid (Pterostylis setulosa) and Banded greenhood (Pterostylis vitatta) are found. Also found was the recently named Mallee banded greenhood (Pterostylis arbuscula) Pictures taken, then we hit the road again.

Next stop was at the small town of Kukerin, for another toilet stop. This was a great little stop with bouncy pillow, playground and windmills to entertain the grandkids.

We grabbed some lunch at Rosies Cafe & Bakery in Lake Grace before our final push to Esperance. It was an enjoyable return trip with the grandkids. Not much in the way of orchids but we did only check out one location, which is very unusual for us.

23/05/2021 ….. Weekend away . Return trip .

Nature Reserves, Pallarup NR, Weekend away, Western Australian Orchids

After a great nights sleep in the Ezytrail camper, we awake to a beautiful day at Lilian Stokes Rock in the Frank Hann National Park. As the search yesterday proved fruitless we decide to pack up and head west to Lake King. We call into the tavern for lunch and refreshments before starting our orchid hunt.

First up we park up at the roadside stop and venture across the road to the walk trail No. 3 that leads north from the Blue house. There is a lot a rubbish from years gone by along this trail but we do find some Pygmy orchids (Corunastylis fuscoviridis). Mostly spent ones are found however on the return trip we did find some still in flower.

The only other recognizable orchid found were some Banded greenhoods (Pterostylis vitatta) just starting to flower. Nothing more found so we head off to another location.

We head south to a favourite location of ours.; Pallarup Nature Reserve. As it is nearly 3pm we have a quick scout along the track leading to the water tank. It is along here we find the Crinkle-leafed bunny orchid (Eriochilus dilatatus subsp. undulatus). Another bunny orchid without the crinkle-leaf is also found. Unsure of the identification so will just name this a ?? bunny orchid (Eriochilus dilatatus). Any help in providing an identification would be appreciated.

We reach the granite rock and head above the catchment wall for where we usually find Hare orchids (Leporella fimbriata). We are not disappointed, however the numbers are lower.

15/05/2021 ….. Saturday saunter up the lookout.

Dempster Head, Esperance, Western Australian Orchids

Debbie has a shift this afternoon so I decide to go exploring near the Rotary lookout (Mud Map SE34) at Dempster Head in Esperance, as the weather is quiet nice. Parking up at the lookout I head towards the port and discover new markings for walk trails. Following the trail with a blue colour and Cowslip orchid markings, I discover no orchids in flower until I am way past the water tanks and walking the gravel trail toward Lovers Cove. It was along here I finally discovered some white bunny orchids in flower.

From the stem leaf shape and size, they appear to be the White bunny orchid (Eriochilus dilatatus subsp. dilatatus) which is a common orchid found in coastal areas from Dirk Hartog Island to Israelite Bay. They flower from as early as March through to May, with up to 7 flowers per stem which can reach up to 350mm in length.

After exploring right down to Lovers Cove and back up no other orchids were found. So I decide to call it quits after 1hr of exploring, happy with my finds but hanging out for more variety on the next hunt.

30/08/2020 ….. Hamersley Inlet to Home (Road Trip 2020)

Fitzgerald River NP, Munglinup NR, National Parks, Nature Reserves, Road Trip, Springdale NR, Western Australian Orchids

We awake to a cold morning however the sun is shining so it will be a great last day of our 2020 Road Trip. First up we check out the spider orchid we found in the fading light yesterday.

Hamersley Inlet

Western wispy spider orchid

(Caladenia microchila)

Camper packed up and time to move on. We get as far as 4 Mile Beach campground before we stop and have a scout around. We only find a few Pterostylis orchids.

4 Mile Beach

Ravensthorpe snail orchid or Coastal snail orchid

(Pterostylis grossa or P. sp. “coastal snail”)

We head into Hopetoun for a bite to eat. Our next point of call is just north of the South Coast Hwy, and is a favourite of ours. We again find a few orchids for our troubles.

Mills Road

Zebra orchid

(Caladenia cairnsiana)

??? hybrid spider orchid

(Caladenia x sp.)

Small mantis orchid

(Caladenia attingens subsp. gracillima)

Cream spider orchid

(Caladenia horistes)

3 orchid species and a hybrid is not a bad haul, however we must keep moving towards home. First up though we stop at the Munglinup Roadhouse for a burger lunch. Driving in we discover some orchids on the roadside, so I jump out to get some photos and Deb heads down to order lunch.

Munglinup Townsite

Esperance white spider orchid

(Caladenia longicauda subsp. crassa)

Common bee orchid

(Diuris decrementa)

Lunch purchased, we move on to Munglinup Nature Reserve to eat and explore.

Zebra orchid

(Caladenia cairnsiana)

Cowslip orchid

(Caladenia flava subsp. flava)

Common bee orchid

(Diuris decrementa)

Esperance white spider orchid

(Caladenia longicauda subsp. crassa)

Jug orchid

(Pterostylis recurva)

Five species found, so happy we made to time to explore the area. We now move on to revisit a location we checked out on Day 1 of this road trip. Lets see if there is anything different now flowering.

Springdale Nature Reserve

??? hybrid spider orchid

(Caladenia x sp.)

Red beaks

(Pyrorchis nigricans)

?? donkey orchid

(Diuris sp.)

??? hybrid spider orchid

(Caladenia x sp.)

Reaching spider orchid

(Caladenia arrecta)

Blue beard

(Pheladenia deformis)

Common bee orchid

(Diuris decrementa)

Esperance white spider orchid

Caladenia longicauda subsp. crassa)

Pink bunny orchid

(Eriochilus scaber subsp. scaber)

Esperance king spider orchid

(Caladenia decora)

Since it is after 3 pm and we still have more than 100kms to home, we decide to leave our orchid exploration at this fruitful location. The hour long drive was a great time to look back on our awesome road trip that started back on the 8th August. The Wheatbelt Way was a great loop that opened up the amazing Western Australian countryside.

Over the 3 weeks on the road we discovered many new locations as well as re-visiting favourite spots. So many orchid species were located along with numerous hybrids which was a pleasant surprise.

29/08/2020 ….. Gnowangerup to Hamersley Inlet (Road Trip 2020)

Chirelillup NR, Fitzgerald River NP, National Parks, Nature Reserves, Road Trip, Western Australian Orchids

A much earlier start to the day as we did not need to wait for the camper to dry out. We arrive at our first location by 8.30am and explore widely this time, as we have had quick visits on other occasions.

Chirelillup Nature Reserve

Green spider orchid

(Caladenia falcata)

Frog greenhood

(Pterostylis sargentii)

Western wheatbelt donkey orchid

(Diuris brachyscapa)

Jug orchid

(Pterostylis recurva)

??? greenhood

(Pterostylis sp.)

Sugar orchid

(Ericksonella saccharata)

Small mantis orchid

(Caladenia attingens subsp. gracillima)

Joseph’s spider orchid

(Caladenia polychroma)

Cowslip orchid

(Caladenia flava subsp. flava)

Slender spider orchid

(Caladenia pulchra)

Well after our extensive search of the reserve we decide it is time to move on. We don’t get far before we pull over at a patch of scrub, due to seeing a large colony of donkey orchids whilst driving past.

Gnowangerup-Jerramungup Rd

Western wheatbelt donkey orchid or Small flowered donkey orchid.

(Diuris brachyscapa or D. porrifolia)

Stark white spider orchid

(Caladenia longicauda subsp. eminens)

Wheatbelt spider orchid

(Caladenia x cala)

Cowslip orchid

(Caladenia flava subsp. flava)

Jug orchid

(Pterostylis recurva)

Short-sepaled spider orchid

(Caladenia brevisura)

Banded greenhood

(Pterostylis vittata)

Purple-veined spider orchid

(Caladenia doutchiae)

??? Hybrid

(Caladenia x sp.)

Western wheatbelt donkey orchid or Small flowered donkey orchid.

(Diuris brachyscapa or D. porrifolia)

Green spider orchid

(Caladenia falcata)

Wowsers! what an awesome random roadside stop that was. Hybrids plus numerous species found. We do though have to move on, so onwards to Ongerup we go.

Ongerup

Cowslip orchids

(Caladenia flava subsp. flava)

Western wheatbelt donkey orchid

(Diuris brachyscapa)

Green spider orchid

(Caladenia falcata)

Sugar orchid

(Ericksonella saccharata)

Drooping spider orchid

(Caladenia radialis)

Frog greenhood

(Pterostylis sargentii)

Blue china orchid

(Cyanicula gemmata)

Time for lunch so we head for the nearby Yongergnow Australian Malleefowl Centre, where we have enjoyed a nice meal on previous visits. This visit was no exception. With a full belly we move on towards the Fitzgerald River National Park.

Calyerup Rocks

Western tiny blue orchid

(Cyanicula aperta)

Sugar orchids

(Ericksonella saccharata)

Jug orchid

(Pterostylis recurva)

Cowslip orchid

(Caladenia flava subsp. flava)

Common bee orchid

(Diuris decrementa)

Whoops, we somehow drove into the Park Rangers residence, and were chastised for this. Oh well we know better next time. As we plan to camp at Hamersley Inlet we move further along the South Coast Hwy until we reach West River Road. Due to failing light we stop only at the lookout, before pulling into our overnight campground. After setting up we go for a quick walk and of course look out for any orchids that catch our eye. The inlet is very dry compared to when we last visited a few years back.

Hamersley Inlet

Western wispy spider orchid

(Caladenia microchila)

Sunset over the inlet

After enjoying the beautiful sunset over the inlet we head back to the camper to rustle up some dinner. We then enjoyed a game of Tri-ominos before hitting the sack. Random stops today proved very successful with many orchids found, so we don’t always have to plan everything upfront.