Well, the 2nd month of winter rolls around and I am home alone for the weekend. I only have the Ford so have to stick to decent roads and tracks on my orchid hunting adventures. I decide to head out East to see if anything new has started to bloom.
1st stop: Track off Old Smokey Road – Had to walk the track as it was not decent enough to tackle in the Ford. Firstly, I will mention the orchids found that had finished their season and the ones found yet to bloom. White bunny orchid (Eriochilus sp.) had finished, whilst the Mignonette orchid (Microtis sp.) was a remanent from last season. Next up Sun orchids (Thelymitra sp.) with leaves only currently growing are found.
The first orchids found flowering were the greenhoods. Possibly both the Dark banded greenhood (Pterostylis sanguinea) and Banded greenhood (Pterostylis vittata) were found, however with both having varying colours it is hard to distinguish. Some P. sanguinea are all green/white whilst rarely some P. vittata are found fawn coloured. The other orchid found was the Fawn snail orchid (Pterostylis parva) which also has fawn toning plus pointed leaves to its rosette.
2nd stop: Coolinup Road – More greenhoods are found flowering, possibly a mixture of P. sanguinea, P. vittata and Mallee banded greenhood (Pterostylis arbuscula). Another snail orchid is also found flowering, however this time they appear to be the Brittle snail orchid (Pterostylis timothyi) due to it’s thinner, taller stature.
Also found were some Caladenia sp. leaves, Bird orchid rosettes and Mosquito orchids in bud, tempting another visit, later in the season.
3rd stop: Track off Fisheries Rd before Parmango Rd – This is a new location and not too much is found this time. I am lucky to stumble across a Western wispy spider orchid (Caladenia microchila) in flower. A lot of dumped rubbish in the area, which is terrible, however I did locate 3 old Cottees bottles, to add to our collection. I wandered into the dried-up lake area, which was almost devoid of any growth, just a bed of leaf litter. On the slow drive back along the track to Fisheries Road I did find some spent Hare orchids (Leporella fimbriata) still distinguishable.
4th stop: Under powerlines off Parmango Road – I revisit one of our newer locations and walk up to the gravelly area to see how the spiral leaf orchids are faring. Along the track and at the targeted patch I did stumble across some spent Hare orchids, Caladenia sp. leaves and the spiral leaves of a Thelymitra sp. A highlight of this patch was the couple of small Scented Autumn leek orchids (Prasophyllum sp. ‘Early’) found in flower.
Well, this certainly turned into a day of being too early for some orchids, late for others and only a few in flower. As the season progresses so will the numbers of orchids in flower increase. I look forward to a re-visit later on with Debbie in tow.