Authentic Orchids …

It’s not only time for the orchid society to flaunt the seasonally gaudy it’s also time for Victoria’s native orchids to show off their more subtle and delicate flowers. Here’s a couple that I’ve found in the past week.

This first one was in open woodland in the Grampians …

Caladenia tentaculata

This one was in the Wail State Forest …

Pterostylis maxima

Disclaimer … When it comes to matters botanical my id skills are suspect. Treat these names with caution.

Spring …

It’s a little warmer, it’s light a little earlier. Spring has been creeping up on us antipodeans. And then suddenly it’s a full on assault on the senses. For me it starts with the Rufous Songlark. It doesn’t stick around for Victoria’s frosty winter. I saw plenty recently up in the centre of the continent presumably making their way back south. The first one in my neighbourhood arrived a few days ago and announced its presence with its scratchy, far from euphonious song. You will never be commemorated for singing in Barclay Square but welcome back.

Other arrivals have followed quickly. A solitary Australian Reedwarbler was along the creek looking for some habitat. Yes you are in the right place, there were reeds here last year, they’ve been washed away in last week’s flood. The Dusky Woodswallows are also back and looking for somewhere to raise a family and the woodland was ringing to the sound of the Olive-backed Oriole.

Not far from where I live is Paddy’s Ranges State Park, just on Maryborough’s doorstep. There is a resident there that is very hard to find, the Chestnut-rumped Heathwren. It has a cousin, the Shy Heathwren, which is a positive exhibitionist by comparison. In spring the male makes a small concession to the birdwatcher by singing to attract a mate. For a short time you are in with a chance. So there I was and there it wasn’t.

But the flowers were gorgeous …

Early Nancy
Early Nancy

… tiny but perfect. The Riceflowers are bigger …

Common Riceflower
Common Riceflower

Prefer red? There were two quite different Grevilleas to choose from …

Goldfields Grevillea
Goldfields Grevillea
Cats Claw Grevillea
Cats Claw Grevillea

The Goldfields Grevillea is a threatened species, Paddy’s Ranges is very significant for its survival.

And what would spring be without an orchid or two? Australia has about 100 genera and more than 1200 species of orchid, mostly in the tropics where they tend to be somewhat showy. Here in Victoria we have to be content with rather discrete examples, mostly terrestrial and mostly just in spring.

These two were growing just a few metres apart …

Leopard Orchid
Leopard Orchid
Waxlip Orchid
Waxlip Orchid