Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Sunday, September 15, 2013

It has actually rained in Robertson (September 2013)

Well, by my records, the last time  we had decent rain in Robertson, was in the last week of June.
Since ten we have had 17 mm in July, and a mere 1.5 mm in August. At long last, we have had 21 mm over the last 3 days. It won't play "catch-up" but it is a start.

I had the pleasure of accompanying two British visitors and their Australian friends for an Orchid tour of the Southern Highlands on Saturday. They were Dr. Colin Scrutton, a retired Professor from Durham University and his wife Angela. They were accompanied by two Australians, John (another geologist) and Ross, an Orchid enthusiast. Colin had contacted me months ago, via the Internet, because he had Googled "Bird Orchids" and my Blog came up.

So we were on a promise - to find Illawarra Bird Orchids.
Illawarra Bird Orchid
Simpliglottis chlorantha
Fortunately, it was a successful mission. In fact, the season has been beneficial for many early flowering Orchids (late Winter, and early Spring seasons). I knew there were some in flower, but in fact we found literally hundreds of plants and at least a dozen in flower. Far more than I had ever seen before (even though the weather was not particularly favourable),

Illawarra Bird Orchid
Full plant (note the paired leaves and sandy soil).

As the visitors were staying on the Shoalhaven coast (could they have decided to stay further away?) I arranged to meet them at the base of Cambewarra Mountain. That way I could show them some of the other Orchids on that mountain.

Thelychiton epiphyticus
Tree version of the Sydney Rock Orchid
which has been re-classified as a separate species.

 My guests were very impressed with the next Orchids we looked at.
A magnificent tall spike of
Prasophyllum elatum

Close-up of Prasophyllum elatum
The Tall Leek Orchid
Note the pollinia dislodged from the flowers
but which were not stuck on an insect.
In the battle to achieve pollination
I would have to score this
Insects 2: Orchids 0 .

Next stop was Macquarie Pass.
I showed them the few remaining flowers where Alan and I had been the previous week, looking at remarkable colonies of Prasophyllum erecta, and Prasophyllum hildae. Even with very tired flowers, the size of these colonies was still impressive. I was able to show them some fresh flowers elsewhere on the Pass, so they could get decent photos of the hildae flowers.

And we moved on to Tourist Road, East Kangaloon to see the Pterostylis x ingens - a naturally occurring hybrid.

Pterostylis x ingens
In between those "highlights" we saw many other species as well - far too numerous to mention here.
At this stage, we decided to call it a day.

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