Saturday, November 8, 2014

Of Ducks and Donkeys

A recent trip east for some bird surveys provided me the opportunity to visit a couple of favourite orchid sites.

At Glenmaggie the weird and wonderful Large Duck-orchids were in full flight. Despite the very dry habitat the plants were quite prolific with several patches containing perhaps a dozen or more specimens. I even ticked a double-header which to me is a bit unusual despite some field guides describing up to 5 flower heads per stem. (In NSW there is some concern for the Large Duck-orchid in regard to threatened losses due to hazard reduction burns!)

In the same spot I came across a few of the less common Small Duck-orchids. At this site these tiny orchids always seem to be growing closely to the trunks of Stringybark trees probably inferring some symbiotic relationship. In the pictures below a couple of the flowers can be seen in the closed position adopted to snare an insect for a short time to enable some pollen to be transferred.

The Purple Diuris or Donkey-orchids at Longford were well represented too, with many hundreds of flowers being in bloom. Some were strongly coloured, others quite pale and I even found one or two almost completely white.

The Purple Diuris is listed as a ‘vulnerable’ species in the most recent DEPI list.

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