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Ecological team on the hunt

3 Aug 2017

Our ecological team recently searched an area of Banksia woodland in the southern suburbs to check for Drakaea elastica, an orchid species listed as Threatened under the Wildlife Conservation Act 1950 and the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1986. D. elastica has a distinctive leaf that is visible in July and early August each year. 

 

Often these surveys don’t turn up the elusive rare orchid that we are looking for; however, looking at the ground for hours is not completely without reward!  A number of small, cryptic species can be viewed at this time of year, including common orchids such as Leporella fimbriata (Hare Orchid, photo 1), Pyrorchis nigricans (Red Beak Orchid, photo 2) and Pterostylis vittata (Banded Greenhood, photo 3) and Thelymitra (Blue Lady Orchid, photo 4) whose curious flowers are presently on show.

Leporella fimbriata (Hare Orchid)

Leporella fimbriata (Hare Orchid)

Pyrorchis nigricans (Red Beak Orchid)

Pyrorchis nigricans (Red Beak Orchid)

Pterostylis vittata (Banded Greenhood)

Pterostylis vittata (Banded Greenhood)

Thelymitra crinita (Blue Lady Orchid)

Thelymitra crinita (Blue Lady Orchid)

 

Scanning the ground also yields sightings of small plants and animals that might normally be overlooked, including these tiny Droseras (Sundews, photo 5) and a sleepy bobtail lizard (Tiliqua rugosa, photo 6).  Banksia menziesii (Firewood Banksia, photo 7) was also in full flower, looking stunning in the late afternoon sun.

 

Droseras (Sundews)

Droseras (Sundews)

Tiliqua rugosa (Bobtail lizard)

Tiliqua rugosa (Bobtail lizard)

Banksia menziesii (Firewood Banksia)

Banksia menziesii (Firewood Banksia)