Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Saturday, September 24, 2011

A Blue-tongued Lizard and a Bird Orchid

Further up the hill from the spot where the Petalochilus hillmanii are growing (on Cambewarra Range) I had found leaves of what were likely to be Bird Orchids. I have not reported these, as there has been no previous record of this species here. One was budding, so I figured I ought wait till it flowered, to get a positive ID.

Well, yesterday, I took Alan up that ridge to show him what I had found so far, up there. I mean, in addition to the Tall Leek Orchids I have reported on from this spot.

We pulled off the road and straight away I found my path blocked by this magnificent specimen of a Blue-tongued Lizard. It clearly felt little urge to move out of my way. It was soaking up the warmth from the hard, hot soil.

Blue-tongue Lizard soaking up the warmth
This is the close-up of this Lizard. Uncharacteristically it made no attempt to hiss at me,  nor to attempt to  scare me with its spectacular blue tongue. I was actually hope it would do that, as the light was perfect for photography..

This Blue-tongue just tried to out-stare me.
Anyway, we eventually persuaded the Blue-tongue to scurry off the road, to safety. Then we went looking for the Bird Orchids.

After showing Alan the leaves of  known plants of that species, we then browsed for other possible plants. This strategy was rewarded with one plant in flower, and another advanced bud. This allowed us to make a positive ID of that species. Illawarra Bird Orchid - Simpliglottis chlorantha

These plants are "within range" and they do like to grow at this altitude. But they have not been reported from this locality before. They have been reported from the Budderoo Plateau (to the north) and from the Budawangs (to the south). So it is nice to be able to "fill in the gaps" in the range of this species of Orchid.
Illawarra Bird Orchid - Simpliglottis chlorantha
Here is another shot of the entire plant.
Two leaves and the open flower of Illawarra Bird Orchid.
So, yet another Orchid species for the list from this extraordinary locality.


catmint said...

love that lizqrd, shame it was so relaxed it didn't show us its beautiful tongue. Congrats on your exciting discovery.

Denis Wilson said...

Thanks Catmint.
Yes, I was pleased with my Lizard.
Strange that it seemed not to recognise the risk of lying on the track, nor even to be approached by two people (even just ones carrying cameras).
Anyway, it all ended peacefully.
The Bird Orchid was a "nice" find. Very satisfying to have recognised the leaves first, and then having waited for the flowers, to have my ID confirmed.
This place (high above Kangaroo Valley) is rapidly becoming my favourite Orchid spot.