The Southern Highlands Photographic Society came along with me today to see some of the local Ground Orchids, in Kangaloon. (Photo Les Valentine)
We also saw many other interesting creatures, including a large number of Spiders (which love Orchids, as the Spiders know many insects come to the Orchid flowers). There also was a very fine (large) Weevil, hiding inside the old seed capsule of a Woody Pear. I picked up the Woody Pear, to show the group, and nearly died of fright, for I thought that I had picked up a very large Spider within the open seed capsule. Fortunately, before the panic set in completely, I realised that it was a harmless Weevil. These creatures are sap-suckers, which means that their mouth parts are reduced to a tube, which in this case is folded under the head of the Weevil. Another distinctive feature of these large weevils is their antennae, which (as in this image) are often bent, and they protrude from well out along the "proboscis" (nose) of the insect.
We started out with a fine display of Flying Duck Orchids (Caleana major). These plants were in great condition, which is pretty amazing given how dry their chosen habitat is - on a rock shelf with very shallow, poor sandy soil.
We also saw a number of Purplish Beard Orchids (Calochilus robertsonii). These flowers continue to bewilder me, with their intricate "beards" made up of scent glands on the "labellum" (lip) of the flowers.
Here is a shot of me photographing a nice group of "Donkey Orchids" (Duiris sulphurea). Les Valentine took this photo and the one above of some of the SHPS people getting into the action down on Tourist Road.