25/09/2020 ….. Peak Charles Long Weekend – Day 1

Esperance, Helms Arboretum, National Parks, Nature Reserves, Peak Charles NP, Red Lake Townsite NR, Weekend away, Western Australian Orchids

It’s Friday before the Queens Birthday long weekend and I have taken another RDO, so as to make it extra long. A camping weekend at Peak Charles which is some 150kms or so NNW of Esperance is planned.

We pack up the Triton and camper trailer then head up to pick up Deb C. who rides shotgun with my darling Deb driving. We are taking Deb C. on her first ever trip North of Esperance. First point of call is the Esperance Bird and Animal Park for a takeaway coffee/hot chocolate and sweet slice. This was to give us energy for our first orchid hunting location, which just for a change is good old Helms Arboretum (Mud Map SE 35).

First orchids found alongside section 21, were the wonderful Cowslip orchid (Caladenia flava subsp. flava) , the Common bee orchid (Diuris decrementa) and the Lemon-scented sun orchid (Thelymitra anennifera) which are regular finds at this location. Oddly enough they are all yellow in colour.

Then just before hopping back in the Triton Deb spies a spider orchid in the overgrown Section 21, so we all go to investigate. We discover many beautiful large Esperance king spider orchids (Caladenia decora) in flower. The spreading petals that barely drop are a distinguishing feature when comparing them to the often co-located and similar Heberle’s spider orchid. Due to the lack of colour some may actually be hybrids with the Esperance white spider orchid.

Leaving Section 21 we head straight down to the track between Sections 1 and 2. Nothing much found along this track, however upon driving further we find the Rattle Beaks (Lyperanthus serratus) growing on the edge of Section 9. No longer right on the bull ants nest, thank goodness, but about 2 metres away. Only the one in flower though which was disappointing.

We then zigzagged our way through multiple sections and found many more Esperance king spider orchids and other possible hybrids. Could not resist posting more photos of these beautiful orchids.

We also came across some much smaller orchids. The Zebra orchid (Caladenia cairnsiana) for example has flowers that are only 15mm across whilst the Esperance king spider orchids can be up to 100mm.

We then checked out a patch in Section 83 to see if we could find the small spider orchids we had found in previous seasons. Prior to reaching the exact spot of the spider orchids some other orchids jump out at me. The Purple enamel orchids (Elythranthera brunonis) are so bright you cannot miss them.

And then the Western wispy spider orchid (Caladenia microchila) appears in it’s usual location. Only a small clump of 2 plants though is found this year. A a little further off the road are some more Lemon-scented sun orchids and Common bee orchids in flower.

Also discovered in in the reedy grass were some Elegant donkey orchids (Diuris concinna) which differ to the bee orchids in only having a small amount of brown markings at the base of the labellum. Coincidently, this species was named in 1991 from specimens collected at Helms Arboretum in 1985.

Walking back to the Triton we find more Esperance king spiders orchids and accompanying hybrids.

Moving up to Section 107 where we expect to find the magnificent Esperance white spider orchids (Caladenia longicauda subsp. crassa) flowering. We were not disappointed. These orchids can be larger the the Esperance king spider orchids and as mentioned previously the two hybridise with each other to form many varied coloured specimens.

Then on the edge of Section 109 we locate some more Zebra orchids. Some are not the usual colour and the lateral sepals are not clasping the stem, so may also be hybrids.

OMG it’s 12 o’clock and we are less than 20kms into our 150km drive, so we had better get a move on. Heading north on the Coolgardie-Esperance Hwy we make a pit-stop at the Grass Patch local store. Was an interesting reception, however Deb still purchased some locally made jam and relish, plus we all enjoyed an ice-cream.

Just north of Grass Patch we pull into Red Lake Townsite Nature Reserve and head down our track looking for the Frog greenhoods we have previously found here. No such luck this season however after eating our lunch and by a stroke of luck we found a lonely sun orchid just starting to bloom. As there seems to be only 2 species flowering north of Esperance I will be calling this one the Shy sun orchid (Thelymitra graminea). They flower during October and November, which would explain why we only found one starting to flower.

We finally reach the Kumarl – Lake King Rd turnoff and commence the unsealed road part of the drive to Peak Charles campground. We arrive to an all but, packed campground with only 1 uneven spot left. We decide to head head south around the rock, with the intention of finding the camping area in the Salmon Gums, however we find a track heading back towards the rock, so decide to investigate. It proves to be a dead end, however after a bit of manoeuvring we settle here as our camping spot.

We set up our camper and then the gazebo and camper stretcher for Deb C. Fire pit organised so I go for an explore up the rock. Way too steep for me in the fading light so grabbed a photo looking out over the woodlands, which I have selected as the Feature photo for this post. Time now to settle in for 3 nights camping under the stars.

Bliss!!

20/09/2020 ….. Boydell Road Bounty

Esperance, Western Australian Orchids

Very windy day with some rain. Feeling a bit unwell today, so spent the morning inside. Deb went off to her work at 2pm and I fell asleep in the Lazyboy. Was woken by some really strong winds. Decided then that I can’t waste the whole day, so went out to check on the location shared by Dana S to my post of the 19/7/2020 on my Facebook Page.

Pulling up alongside the road I venture on the south side and it is not long before I stumble across some bee orchids. Over the entire location I came across many bee orchids and they appear to be two of the locally recorded species. Smaller ones with only 2 or so basal leaves seem to be the Common bee orchid (Diuris decrementa) whilst the larger ones may be the Bee orchid (Diuris laxiflora).

Found many Lemon-scented sun orchids (Thelymitra antennifera) however no decent photos obtained as they were hardly open due to the cloudy day and the wind just defeated my attempts. The best are posted for recording purposes.

The Small mantis orchid (Caladenia attingens subsp. gracillima) starts to appear all over the location. The profile photos are great in showing how up-swept the lateral sepals are plus how the tip of the labellum tucks under.

An unexpected find was a Red beak (Pyrorchis nigricans) in flower. No recent fires here so a pleasant surprise find. Also some Cowslip orchids (Caladenia flava subsp. flava) found south and north of the road.

Then near a drainage ditch on the north side of the road I find a selection of orchids in one small location. The most obvious was the Purple enamel orchid (Elythranthera brunonis) as there were 8 flowers in view. As I moved towards them I noticed a small Zebra orchid (Caladenia cairnsiana) and whilst on my knees getting a shot I noticed the Short-sepaled spider orchids (Caladenia brevisura) hiding behind the enamel orchids.

With the light fading, wind still blowing and now being past 5pm I make tracks back home, happy in the knowledge that this new location had turned up 8 and possibly 9 orchid species.

Successful sharing – Boyatup and more

Day Trip

22/09/2019

We are collected from our home by Eric and his father, for an orchid adventure out east of Esperance. We will be showing them our Boyatup location ( Mud Map SE 40) and in return we get chauffeured and have the chance to discuss our findings, views, information and thoughts on our beautiful terrestrial orchids. Enjoying the great outdoors by taking nothing but photographs and leaving only footprints.

Our Boyatup location had been affected by bushfire last summer, so this will be our first visit since early August. It will interesting to see which orchids are in flower later in the season after a summer bushfire.

As usual we turn off fisheries Road into the track leading to the rock and jump out once the first orchid is spied. Seen by Deb of course :). Following will be photos taken of the orchids found along this first part of the track.






Purple Enamel Orchid

Elythranthera brunonis

One of the 2 species found in Western Australia.

The Purple enamel orchid was named in 1963.

Can grow to a height of 300mm







Red beaks

Pyrorchis nigricans

One of the 2 species found in Western Australia.

Red beaks were named in 1810 and placed in the Lyperanthus genus before being moved into the Pyrorchis genus in 1994.

Can grow to a height of 300mm




Common bee orchid

Diuris decrementa

One of the 18 species in the Laxiflora complex of the Diuris genus found in Western Australia

Common bee orchid was named in 2013

Can grow to a height of 300mm

Cowslip orchid

Caladenia flava subsp. flava

One of the 4 subspecies of Cowslip orchid (caladenia flava) found in Western Australia

The Cowslip orchid was named in 1810

Can grow to a height of 250mm





Rattle beaks

Lyperanthus serratus

Is the single Western Australian species of the Lyperanthus genus

Rattle beaks were named in 1840

Can grow to a height of 500mm

We have now reached the gravel pit so drive across this to the track leading to the granite outcrop named Boyatup hill. Back in August we found loads of Pink bunny orchids and Blue beards, plus other orchids in smaller numbers. Let’s see what is now in flower. The following photos are of the orchids found in the area which was burnt by last summers bushfire.



Red beaks



Pyrorchis nigricans



Granite china orchid

Cyanicula nikulinskyae

One of the 8 species in the Gemmata complex of the Cyanicula genus found in Western Australia

Granite china orchid was named in 2000

Can grow to a height of 130mm







White mignonette orchid

Microtis alba

One of the 10 species found in Western Australia

White mignonette orchid named in 1810

Can grow to a height of 600mm




Tall leek orchid

Prasophyllum elatum

One of the 16 species in the Elatum complex of the Prasophyllum genus found in Western Australia

Tall leek orchid was named in 1810

Can grow to a height of 1200mm




Pointing spider orchid

Caladenia exstans

One of the 9 species in the Falcata complex of the Caladenia genus found in Western Australia

Pointing spider orchid was named in 2001

Can grow to a height of 450mm




Zebra orchid

Caladenia cairnsiana

One of the 2 species in the Cairnsiana complex of the Caladenia genus found in Western Australia

Zebra orchid was named in 1869

Can grow to a height of 400mm

Pink candy orchid

Caladenia hirta subsp. rosea

One of 2 subspecies in the Hirta complex of the Caladenia genus in Western Australia

Pink candy orchid was named in 2001

Can grow to a height of 250mm

Hypochromic variant






Cowslip orchid

Caladenia flava subsp. flava

Rabbit orchid

Leptoceras menziesii

Is the only member of the genus Leptoceras

Rabbit orchids were named in 1810 and placed in the Caladenia genus before being moved into the monotypic genus Leptoceras in 1840.

Can grow to a height of 300mm




Common bee orchid




Diuris decrementa




Esperance king spider orchid

Caladenia decora

One of the 22 species in the Huegelii complex of the Caladenia genus found in Western Australia

Esperance king spider orchid was named in 2001

Can grow to a height of 500mm




Dusky fairy orchid

Caladenia x erminea

Hybrid between Cowslip orchid (Caladenia flava) and White fairy orchid (Caladenia marginata)

Dusky fairy orchid was named in 2001

Can grow to a height of 160mm

Beautiful donkey orchid

Diuris pulchella

One of the 26 species in the Corymbosa complex of the Diuris genus found in Western Australia

Beautiful donkey orchid was named in 1991

Can grow to a height of 500mm




Western wispy spider orchid

Caladenia microchila

One of the 43 species in the Filamentosa complex of the Caladenia genus found in Western Australia

Western wispy spider orchid was named in 2001

Can grow to a height of 250mm

Esperance white spider orchid

Caladenia longicauda subsp. crassa

One of the 14 subspecies of C. longicauda, which is one of the 14 species in the Longicauda complex of the Caladenia genus found in Western Australia

Esperance white spider orchid was named in 2001

Can grow to a height of 500mm




Heberle’s spider orchid

Caladenia heberleana

One of 22 species of the Huegelii complex in the Caladenia genus found in Western Australia

Heberle’s spider orchid was named in 2001

Can grow to a height of 450mm




White fairy orchid

Caladenia marginata

One of the 4 species in the Latifolia complex of the Calendenia genus found in Western Australia

White fairy orchid was named in 1839

Can grow to a height of 200mm




Custard orchid

Thelymitra villosa

One of the 6 species in the Antennifera complex of the Thelymitra genus found in Western Australia

Custard orchid was named in 1839

Can grow to a height of 600mm




Blue china orchid

Cyanicula gemmata

One of 8 species in the Gemmata complex of the Cyanicula genus found in Western Australia

Blue china orchid was named in 1839

Can grow to a height of 150mm




Condingup china orchid

Cyanicula sp. ‘Esperance’

One of the 8 species in the Gemmata complex of the Cyanicula genus found in Western Australia

Condingup china orchid was first collected in 1996 but is yet to be formally named

Can grow to a height of 150mm




Laughing leek orchid

Prasophyllum macrostachyum

One of 4 species in the Gracile complex of the Prasophyllum genus found in Western Australia

Laughing leek orchid was named in 1810

Can grow to a height of 300mm




Bearded bird orchid

Pterostylis turfosa

One of 13 species in the Barbata complex of the Pterostylis genus found in Western Australia

Bearded bird orchid was named in 1840

Can grow to a height of 200mm




Hybrid spider orchid

Caladenia x

Unnamed hybrid orchid. Possible parents: C. decora: C. longicauda: C. heberleana: C. hirta:




Lunch time and it’s time we move on. Eric wishes to show us a location where he has previously found the Holy Grail of orchids: Queen of Sheba orchid. He did not have to ask us twice. After having a bite to eat we head off at this new location, just off Parmango Road. Immediately we come across a new orchid, that Deb and myself had never seen. The following orchids are the ones found at this new location, which is now firmly added to our must visit sites.




Twisted sun orchid

Thelymitra flexuosa

One of the 6 species in the Antennifera complex of the Thelymitra genus found in Western Australia

Twisted sun orchid was named in 1839

Can grow to a height of 350mm




Purple enamel orchid

Elythanthera brunonis

Common bee orchid

Diuris decrementa

Cowslip orchid

Caladenia flava subsp. ?



Rattle beaks

Lyperanthus serratus

White mignonette orchid

Microtis alba



Custard orchid

Thelymitra villosa

Dancing spider orchid

Caladenia discoidea

A distinct species of the Caladenia genus endemic to Western Australia

Dancing spider orchid was named in 1839

Can grow to a height of 450mm




Lemon-scented sun orchid

Thelymitra antennifera

One of the 6 species in the Antennifera complex of the Thelymitra genus found in Western Australia

Lemon-scented sun orchid was named in 1840

Can grow to a height of 250mm




Jug orchid

Pterostylis recurva

A unique species of the Pterostylis genus endemic to Western Australia

Jug orchid was named in 1873

Can grow a height of 900mm


.

What a great new location this was off Parmango Road. Time to move on, so we take Eric and his father to our original location off Coolinup road which is on the other side of Condingup. Here we first visit the gravel pit, then decide to bush bash down to our small granite location. The orchids listed below were found on that bush bash plus around the small granite location.




Esperance king spider orchid

Caladenia decora

Laughing leek orchid

Prasophyllum macrostachyum

Heberle’s spider orchid

Caladenia heberleana



Common bee orchid

Diuris decrementa

Bearded bird orchid

Pterostylis turfosa



Purple enamel orchid

Elythranthera brunonis

It proved a very successful day with Boyatup proving itself once again to be a magnificent location for orchids, with this season especially good after last summers bushfire. Thanks to Eric for sharing his Parmango Road location we finally got to see the Twisted sun orchid in bloom and Eric the custard orchid. Nearly 6 hrs spent searching for orchids in great company.

Road Trip 2019 – Ravensthorpe to Esperance

National Parks, Numerous days, Road Trip, Stokes NP

08/09/2019

After a wonderful night at our son’s place it is time to head off on the final day of our road trip. Leaving Ravensthorpe we make our way to Mt Desmond lookout, off Elverdton Road. Growing alongside the newly grader road to the lookout, were some small Western tiny blue orchids (Cyanicula aperta). Felt lucky to find them as the roadworks had cleared the places we had found orchids on previous visits. These little orchids are found from Dumbleyung to Mt Ragged during the period August to early-October. Also found closer to Elverdton Road was a Jug orchid (Pterostylis recurva) which is a common orchid, found flowering between Geraldton and Israelite Bay during August through October.

Moving further east, we visit another of our favourite spots, Mills Road near Munglinup. Deb finds the first of many orchids found in this location. The 4 orchids are hybrids of the Caladenia sp. Unable to positively ID so will just post some photos. I think Caladenia radialis or Caladenia brevisura may one of the parents. Please assist with ID if you can.

Found very close-by are some Zebra orchids (Caladenia cairnsiana). These small orchids flower from August to early-November in a southerly range from Lancelin to Esperance.

Intermixed with the Zebra orchids was a Short-sepaled spider orchid (Caladenia brevisura) which adds to the possibility that it is a parent of the hybrid orchids found earlier. These orchids are found between Ravensthorpe and Israelite Bay during the months of August and September.

After further exploration a sole green spider orchid was discovered. However many more were found after further searching. The Small mantis orchid (Caladenia attingens subsp. gracillima) is as the name suggests, smaller than the related Fringed mantis orchid, we found earlier in the road trip. Flowering season is August to early-October and the Small mantis orchid is found between Jerramungup and Israelite Bay,

Another spider orchid is found, this time from the filamentosa complex. The Cream spider orchid (Caladenia horistes) flowers from August to early-October between Fitzgerald River National Park and Balladonia. The Cream spider orchid is also listed as having rare hybrids with the short-sepaled spider orchid, so it may be another parent of the previously mentioned hybrids found at this site.

A single spider orchid from the same complex, but another species is found. This time the smaller Western wispy spider orchid (Caladenia microchila) is found. Smaller labellum, thinner sepals and whiter colouring provide me with this identification.

The final orchid found in this location is the small Western tiny blue orchid.

As it is only mid-morning we decide to visit Stokes National Park, before finally heading for home. Upon arriving at the campground we immediately spy some king spider orchids. One of them is a bit worse for wear with his labellum eaten out. Non damaged specimens found with variations in colour, from bright red to pale green so identifying these will be interesting, as both the Esperance king spider orchid (Caladenia decora) and Heberle’s spider orchid (Caladenia heberleana) occur in this location and they are difficult to tell apart. They may also hybridise with each other, so ID will not be attempted at this time. Lots of photos below to show my dilemma.

Well we thought there were lots of king spider orchids, but there is also as many Pink fairies (Caladenia latifolia), which flower from August to early-November between Kalbarri and Israelite Bay. Here they range in size and colour, which just adds to the thrill of finding so many.

Some Banded greenhoods (Pterostylis vittata) were also found, whilst pushing into the scrub to grab photos of the Pink fairies. Moving on, we leave the campground and drive back towards the intersection to the day area,where we had previously found orchids. We were not disappointed as we find a few Lemon-scented sun orchids (Thelymitra antennifera) in flower. These are widespread sun orchids found from Shark Bay to Israelite Bay during the months July through October.

Also found at this corner is the every popular Cowslip orchid (Caladenia flava subsp. flava) which is also a widespread orchid with a long flowering period. These ones were a bit unusual as they had white tips to the petals. Usually solid yellow with markings.

Final orchid found for the day was a unique spider orchid, which we last found at Helms Arboretum a few years back. A single Grass-leafed spider orchid (Caladenia graminifolia) is found growing in the roadside drain under the protection of overhanging banksia bushes. Found between Mt Manypeaks and Israelite Bay during August and September this orchid self pollinates so is in flower for only a few days at the most,so we are very lucky to have found one in flower.

One hour from home and nearly noon so we decide to make tracks, so we can have lunch in our own home. Mixed emotions as we remember the last 2 weeks during this last hour of our 2019 Road Trip.

The first week did not go to plan however we made up for it by visiting Margaret River and tasting a few wines. Then we had a great time catching up with friends from our Rural youth days before our 2nd week, which did not include the planned visit to Charles Darwin Reserve, however we discovered some great new un-planned locations. A special catch up with my cousin Mary-lou that included meeting the eldest cousin Ian for the first time. Only took 55 years.

The major purpose of our road trip, other than having fun getting out in the great Western Australian outdoors, is the discovery of our very special terrestrial orchids, most of which are endemic to WA. On this note we located 70 species/sub species of orchids from 10 genera, with multiple hybrids and hypochromic variants. Refer this post for their details. 2019 Road Trip – Orchids Found

So privileged to witness the natural beauty of our amazing little corner of the world!!!!!!

Park Closure – Helms to the Rescue

Esperance, Helms Arboretum

11/08/2019

Considering we should be waking up out at Thomas River for another day exploring Cape Arid National Park on our weekend camping, (Refer 10/08/2019 post) we cannot stay home this Sunday. So where do we go on a cool overcast August day? Helms Arboretum of course. (Mud Map SE 35). This should provide us some compensation for missing out on our camping weekend.

On arriving we first check out Entrance Plot 21 along the southern edge. We straight away find some Esperance king spider orchids (Caladenia decora) and possible hybrids growing tall amongst the thick weeds.

In the unnamed southern side of the track we find some small snail orchids. Consensus is these are an unnamed species which has been tentatively called the Helm’s snail orchid (Pterostylis sp.) as they do not fit any of the named species recorded for the location.

Moving on to Plot 21 on Brockway Road, just past the wooden log sign marking Helms Arboretum, where there is usually a good patch of spider orchids growing under the large tree. Again appears to be Esperance king spider orchids in various shapes, sizes and colours.

Next we move onto Plot 12 which is planted in a species of pine, so very minimal undergrowth, which makes for easy searching. Nothing much was found before we both stumbled across a massive nook of snail orchids. What an amazing sight to behold. These snail orchids differ to the earlier found ones by having much thinner lateral sepals which do not appear clubbed. From this they appear to be the Ravensthorpe snail orchid (Pterostylis sp. ‘Ravensthorpe’) which flower in woodlands between the Stirling Ranges and Esperance during August and September.

Moving on to Plot 9 we park between Plots 9 & 13 where a patch of yellow catches my eye. The always bright Cowslip orchid (Caladenia flava subsp.flava) is found. The we find the Western tiny blue orchid (Cyanicula aperta) in our search of Plot 9. For size appreciation, I grabbed a shot with the Wild Orchid Watch scale card.

Moving to the area we have found large spider orchids before we are shocked to see that people have driven into the plot to saw up firewood, which is illegal in this reserve. They have driven right through the area our spiders were found. With a sigh of relief we find some flowering, however the numbers were definitely down from last year. Again these are beautiful specimens of the Esperance king spider orchid.

As previously found in Plot 9 we finally find some snail orchids (Ravensthorpe or Helms) and many more Western tiny blue orchids. Few pics taken before moving on.

Next is Plot 38 along Jolowah Road. where we find more Esperance king spider orchids and a spent but visible greenhood. Also a lone Cowslip and Western tiny blue orchid is found.

We then moved on to Western boundary (Marked X) and found the lone Southern curly locks (Thelymitra uliginosa) which we have struggled to find flowering over the years. It was nearly open but not enough sun today unfortunately.

We needed to keep moving as it was now past 3pm and it was getting cold. We moved on to the plot were we have found Zebra orchids on previous seasons. We found Greenhood, Cowslip and Spider orchids on the way.

In between Plots 109 and 110 is where we have previously have found Zebra orchids (Caladenia cairnsiana) and we are not disappointed this year. However numbers are way down on previous years. Zebra orchids flower July to September over a range from Nerren Nerren Station to Mt Ragged.

So we did not get to have our camping weekend out at Cape Arid National Park due to the roads being closed , however we did get to experience the orchid bounty after a summer bush fire at Boyatup hill and good old Helms Arboretum provided us with an afternoon of orchid finds, so we cannot complain.

Esperance Excellence

Esperance, Helms Arboretum, Myrup

16/09/2018

After our eventful trip along the Holland Track going back to everyday life is hard. Today though we get to babysit our grandson Oliver (Ollie) whilst his parents have a photoshoot. 

Location for the photoshoot is Helms Arboretum, so we may as well kill 2 birds with 1 stone. Orchid hunting, then babysitting, then more orchid hunting. Sound like a plan.

The arboretum (Mud Map SE 35) will always produce the goods. The question is will it produce any surprises. 

Just through the gates, we take the first track to the left and immediately we spy orchids. We had to be careful getting out of the Triton as there we Zebra orchids (Caladenia cairnsiana) growing right near the wheel tracks. These little orchids are found from Esperance to Lancelin growing August to November.

Larger orchids from the Caladenia genus were found on both sides of the track. The large orchids are none other than the Esperance king spider orchid (Caladenia decora) which flowers August to October in a small range from Bremer Bay to Cape Arid. Colours range from mostly red to greenish yellow and everything in between.

The final find before moving on to our babysitting duties was the small yellow Common Bee orchid (Diuris decrementa) which is found September to October in a large range from Gingin to Israelite Bay.

For the next 2 hours we look after Ollie, so Jace and Amber can get some classic photos prior to the arrival of their daughter, who is due within weeks.

Photoshoot over, so we say our goodbyes to the little family and continue with our orchid hunt. However to ensure we increase our chances of finding something different we decide to move onto our Myrup location. 

First orchids found were more Esperance king spider orchids, with many  in clusters. Variable in colour again, but oh so impressive.

Also found was the wonderful Cowslip orchid (Caladenia flava subsp. flava) which flowers over a huge range from north of Geraldton to Israelite Bay. There is great variability in the shape of these orchids and the amount and type of red markings. 

Pushing into the tea tree thicket we stumbled across a duo of another Caladenia genus orchid. This time it is a Short-sepalled spider orchid (Caladenia brevisura) which is found between Borden and Israelite Bay during the months August to October.

Then to our surprise we find a little Purple enamel orchid (Elythranthera brunonis) nearby. These guys flower August to October as well, though over a much larger range. Kalbarri to Israelite Bay in fact.

Then the final new orchid for the day is found. Appears to be the Western wispy spider orchid (Caladenia microchila) which flowers August & September in an easterly range from Hyden to Israelite Bay.

Western wispy spider orchid

Western Wispy spider orchid

There are so many Esperance king spider orchids in flower. To enable this to be appreciated I took a short video looking around. 

Also took some more photos of other orchids found. Previously mentioned in this post so will just let you enjoy some more orchids.

Seven species located today so all in all it was a successful day hunting. The Esperance region certainly is Excellent.

2018 Road Trip – Holland Track and Beyond – Day 5

Numerous days, Road Trip

28/08/2018

Another beautiful morning, so what better way to start than to go orchid hunting. We all make tracks for Emu Rock as it was too dark yesterday to check it thoroughly. First find for me was a rare double-headed Sugar orchid (Ericksonella saccharata) whilst Deb was checking out the small Hairy-stemmed snail orchids (Pterostylis sp. ‘inland’) I had found yesterday. 

Close by I found another Chameleon spider orchid (Caladenia dimidia) whilst Deb found a Blue beard (Pheladenia defromis).  

Whilst taking Deb and Richard back to the Chameleon spider orchids I found yesterday other orchids were found. Mallee Banded Greenhood (Pterostylis arbuscula), Hairy-stemmed snail orchids and  Sugar orchids.

Further shots taken of the Chameleon spiders then on the way back to the Tritons, I found another double header Sugar orchid. 

Time to continue our trek along the Holland Track. We make our way north back to the Hyden – Norseman Road where we start the official Holland Track to Coolgardie. What lies ahead is unknown !!!!!

The start of the track

Hyden – Norseman Road – Our Starting point of the Track proper

 Following the trip notes our first stop will be Sheoak Rock just off the track at the 12.53km mark. However after around 10kms we pull over as Deb has spied a Frog greenhood (Pterostylis sargentii). Whilst I was taking photos she also finds a Sugar orchid  nearby.  

We move on to Sheoak rock which is a few hundred metres North of the track proper. It was wet and muddy however we park up an go for a wander. On the high point of the rock was a Trig Station (Triangulation/Trigonometrical) made of metal which is nice piece of history. Whilst getting some photos it started to rain so we made our way back to the Tritons for shelter. Making our way out of Sheoak Rock I cross through a patch of bush and come across some Sugar orchids. 

Back on the track we pass a Telecom Tower (reception still) at the 15.25km point and reach Native Rocks at the 15.69km point where we park up for lunch. Whilst Deb and Richard put the kettle on and rustle up some grub I go for a scout. First off is another Sugar orchid but then I stumble across a very tall Frog greenhood growing out in the open on granite.

After a quick bite to eat I check the other side of the track where I find spider orchids yet to open.. Oh bugger we may be too early !!!! 

However luck is on my side and I find some flowering.. Now the hard part getting a good photo then working out which species. From the looks they are possible Pendant spider orchids (Caladenia pendens subsp, pendens) due the size of the labellum and length of petals and sepals.

Leaving Native Rocks we follow the trip notes for another 6.33km to our next stop of Wattle Rocks. We did get more puddles to cross on the way.

Another muddy puddle to cross

Here we go again and again and again…….. So many bog holes

Parking up at Wattle Rocks Deb immediately spots some orchids. Some very small Dwarf zebra orchids (Caladenia pachychila) are on the edge of the track, in danger of getting run over or trampled. these little beauties flower July to September in a large inland range from Nerren Nerren Station and Mt Ragged. 

Then a few metres away there was the biggest clumping of Ant orchid (Caladenia roei) I have ever seen.  They were an amazing sight.

Further afield we find what appears to be a Hybrid. Possible parents are Caladenia roei , Caladenia pachychila, Caladenia dimidia or Caladenia vulgata. An attractive small spider orchid.

Another new orchid found, this time it appears to be a Drooping spider orchid (Caladenia radialis) which must be getting very close to it’s eastern extremity. 

Other orchids found included Blue beard, Sugar orchid, Dwarf zebra orchid and the Western wispy spider orchid (Caladenia microchila) which is found between Kondinin and Madura during the months of July to early October. 

What a great spot little spot this is, but we must move on. Next stop is 1.86km further along, at a Mallee fowl nest which appears to be in current use.  

Mallee fowl nest

Large nesting mound

We had planned on getting to Mount Holland to camp but at our current travelling speed it will be dark before we get there, so we decide to look for a suitable camping spot along the way. We find a place just past a big slippery mud hole and set up camp. We light the obligatory camp fire and cook some dinner. 

Camp ground before the storm

Getting ready to cook dinner

Luckily we chose to camp earlier as a massive thunderstorm hits and we rename our camping ground “The mud camp”, as the track is now a much muddier, wetter and more slippery than it was. Tomorrow will be interesting going.

Was a successful orchid hunting day (12 species), but not so successful in travelling the distance we had planned. Achieved less than 30kms today as the Holland Track is proving more challenging than anticipated.

2018 Road Trip – Holland Track and Beyond – Day 1

Western Australian Orchids

24/08/2018

After a morning at work, my 1/2 RDO arrives, so I race home to catch a bite to eat with Tim before we make our final pack of the Triton and camper. Off to Puma for diesel, then back home as we forgot the porta loo. Finally on the road by 2.30pm with our first planned stop being Overshot Hill rest area north of Ravensthorpe. However Debbie has other ideas. At 4.30pm she pulls over to our spot on Mills Road, just past Munglinup. I jump out of the Triton and immediately spy a small clump of spider orchids. They appear to be the Cream spider orchid (Caladenia horistes), which flower August to early October in a range from Fitzgerald River National Park to Balladonia.

Close by are our first South coast donkey orchids (Diuris sp. ‘south coast’) of the season. These are found between Denmark and Munglinup during the period, late June to August.

Also found were some Western tiny blue orchids (Cyanicula aperta), which flower August to early October in a range from Dumbleyung to Mt Ragged. 

A few metres away Debbie finds some Hairy-stemmed snail orchids (Pterostylis sp. ‘inland’) and other spider orchids.

We then nearly step on some Zebra orchids (Caladenia cairnsiana) which flower August to early November in a range from Esperance to Lancelin. These were intermixed with more spider orchids. 

Nearly 5pm so we make our way to our planned overnight stay at Overshot Hill rest area in the Nature Reserve of the same name. Unsure if the other spider orchids are also Cream spider orchids or other species from the Wispy complex. Feel free to comment as to the species name for the images below. 

Helms Arboretum – We did miss you !!

Western Australian Orchids

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.