When I look back over my orchid notes for the past few years, my comments are almost identical. It is certainly not the time to become overly excited about terrestrial orchids in the Anglesea District.
Last year, and in 2010, Midge Orchids Corunastylis sp. started to appear in late February, but, as in 2009 and 2008, there is no sign of these species as yet. These orchids are described on a factsheet. The ground is just so hard and dry. Nevertheless if we get some good rainfall in the next few weeks, it will be surprising how quickly the autumn orchids will appear.
My survey last weekend was almost a nil return, but I did manage to observe four pairs of Bird Orchid leaves just breaking through the ground at Gum Flat. Whether they are Autumn Birds Chiloglottis reflexa or Tall Bird Orchids C. trilabra only time will tell. It is difficult to distinguish between these two species, but if you read the descriptions in the orchid book Orchids of the Anglesea District (available through ANGAIR), and look carefully at the flowers with the help of a hand lens, you may become an expert!
Also keep your eyes open for Parson’s Bands Eriochilus cucullatus, Tiny Greenhoods Pterostylis parviflora, Brown Tipped Greenhoods Pterostylis sp. aff parviflora and Autumn Greenhoods Pterostylis sp. aff. revoluta.
The burnt area off Gundrys Rd and Forest Rd could be worth exploring. The best Fringed Midge Orchids Corunastylis ciliata and Bearded Midge Orchids C. morrisii that I have ever seen were observed in that area many years ago. I was also told that Autumn Greenhoods were seen in the same area, but I have never been successful in finding them. This species bears a large white and green flower, with a brown tinge at the apex. If you see any large, flowering greenhoods in the field at this time of the year, they will be Autumn Greenhoods, and we would be very excited to hear of your finds.