Trip 26 – Dryandra, double or nothing

With Spring now blooming with WA’s wildflowers, we decided to do another little long weekender down at Dryandra Woodlands. Dryandra has become a firm favourite spot of ours as it’s only 2hrs from home and also due to the variety of plants and animals to be seen. And, this trip didn’t disappoint.

Taking a Friday and Monday as annual leave, we shot down to Dryandra after work on the Thursday, arriving late arvo to find BJ holding a couple of sites. Normally relatively empty, the Congelin campground was pretty full as the Toyota Landcruiser club, who sponsor the campground, had reserved four of the eight sites. No stress, however, we (Jules, Georgia and myself) got the last remaining site and were soon setup, sitting by the campfire with BJ and a glass of wine. Rod arrived a little later that evening, completing our posse for the weekend.

Jules, Georgia and I decided to spend Friday morning exploring the Eastern area of the Woodlands which was a lovely drive, barring the sheep with the dodgy leg, before heading out to the Quindanning Pub for lunch. Rod and BJ also went for a drive with Rod looking for Kangaroo’s to chase and video through the Canola fields using his drone.

Another nice little fence and field (almost) symetrical photo
Bob tailed lizard hiding in the grass
A lot of the local farmland is yellow with Canola crops.
A type of Petrophile
Dryandra Flower – after which the area is named
Another Prickly Dryandra

Friday evening we were booked into the Barna Mia wildlife sanctuary. So leaving camp at 6pm, we were settled in and watching the intro and informational video’s before 7. Caitlin, our guide, advised us that Barna Mia is an educational facility only and that they don’t do any breeding there. Rather, in two separate enclosures, they host about 50 animals, being Woylies, Quenda, Bilbies, Marla and Boodies which you can view on these tours to help learn more about them and the area. Using red light torches, (so we don’t ‘night blind’ ourselves or the animals), you venture out into the enclosures, find a log to sit on and wait for the animals to come in for a feed which Caitlin puts out for them. The only animal we didn’t really see was the Quenda, though we did see one shuffling around the fringe of the torchlight, but we were also lucky to see a mum Brushtailed Possum with bub on back come in for a feed as well. An enojyable evening, but once you’ve completed the first feeding station, the other three stations become much the same. We were then treated to a couple more ‘wild sightings’ of Woylies, we think a Boodie and a couple of Owls on our drive back to the campground.

Note: the following pics are all black and white as the red torches we were using cast a horrible colour over the pics.

A Marla, which is essentially a tiny, smaller than a Quoka, mini Kangaroo
A Boodie getting a feed. Notice his fat tail which is where they store excess food as fat for lean times.
Another Boodie but with the Brushtailed Possum mum and bub coming in for a feed.
The strange looking Bilby

Saturday morning we decided to take a slow drive out along the back roads of the park, stopping to view the varied wildflowers and Orchids along the way, but also hoping to spot an Echidna, or even the rare Numbat.

Well, we saw our first Numbat towards the back of the Woodland along side of the road. Luckily we saw him from about 40metres away, allowing us to pull up and approach slowly, however, he didn’t seemed fazed at all and we managed to creep up, closer and closer until we were only 10 or so metres away. He then decided to have a little forage, before making his way back into the bush.

A short video of the 1st Numbat we found

The Numbat watching us as we slowly approached
At this point we were probably only 10metres or so from him and he didn’t seem that bothered at all.

Whilst approaching this Numbat, at this point wholly focussed on creeping closer without scaring him away, an Echidna decided it was a great spot to cross the road, wandering just past us on his way across. So after finishing with the Numbat, we then went and got a few pics and some video of the Echidna.

A short video of the Echidna we found

The Echinda who decided to cross the road in front of us whilst we were watching the Numbat.
The Echinda trying to see if we were still there, their eyesight is very poor

At this point we were understandably pretty happy, having had our second, but Rods and Georgias first sighting of the rare Numbat, with an Echinda thrown in as well. However, things got better as on the other side of the park we came across our second Numbat of the day, this one foraging in the open grasslands. What made it cooler, was I (Tony) had only a few seconds earlier just commented on the fact that this area of the Woodland was nice and open with plenty of fallen timber and that if I were a Numbat, that this is where I’d live. And then, hey presto, we come around a little bend in the road and there it is, having a grand old dig in the grass before he suddenly realised we were there. This little guy didn’t hang around too long however, and soon scampered off into the bush.

A short video of the 2nd Numbat we found

Our 2nd Numbat of the day.

What a great day! And, to finish the day we had some, ok, many…, New York Sour cocktails by the campfire with a lovely Roast Lamb and veggies, whilst trying out Jules’ new “Cooked Aussies” by the Inapropriate Gift Co. drinking cardgame which is not for the young or faint of heart.

Sunday morning started a little slower than normal but we were soon up and about and today was Orchid hunting day! At this time of year, September, the Dryandra Woodlands have a stunning array of wildflower colours. Most of them are really obvious and beautiful, however, look a little closer, in fact, in some cases, look really closely and there’s a veritable smorgasboard of different Orchids out there. So, we spent Sunday morning Orchid hunting, eventually ending with a tally of what we think are fourteen unique Orchids! Check them out following:

What I think is a Dark Tipped Spider Orchid – Caladenia Postea
A Rabbit Orchid – Leptoceras Menziesii
Lemon-scented Sun Orchid – Thelymitra Antennifera
What I think is a Primrose Spider Orchid – Caladenia Xantha
Donkey Orchid – Diuris SP Woody
Cowslip Orchid (these are everywhere) – Caladenia Flava
What I think is a Sugar Orchid – Ericksonella Saccharata
What I think is a paler/white Sugar Candy Orchid – Caladenia Hirta
Blue China Orchid – Cyanicula Gemmata
Sugar Candy Orchid – Caladenia Hirta
What I think is a Crimson Spider Orchid – Caladenia Footeana
A Snail Orchid, a Karri Snail Orchid I think – Pterostylis Karri
What I think is a Green Spider Orchid – Caladenia Falcata
What I think is a Primrose Spider Orchid – Caladenia Xantha
What I think is a Common Dragon Orchid – Caladenia Barbarossa
A lady we spoke to mentioned these little fellas who we wouldn’t have recognised otherwise – a Little Laughing Leek Orchid – Prasophyllum Gracile
A closer shot of the Little Laughing Leek Orchid – Prasophyllum Gracile
Blue China Orchid – Cyancula Gemmata

Unfortunately, Rod had to leave Sunday arvo, so Georgia and I did another drive hoping to spot more Numbats but alas, we were unsuccessful. We did, however, spot plenty of other pretty wildflowers and some birds etc.

Regent Parrot
A Western Whistler (formerly known as a Golden Whistler)
I loved the wrinkles in the tree bark of this tree, as it entered the earth below.
A tiny little fungi in the grass, it was only about 20mm tall.
Morning Iris
Red Leschenaultia

Bacon and eggs for brekky on Monday morning before we said our goodbyes with BJ. We chose to come home a more circuitious route, heading up through the Wandoo forest area not far from York. A lovely drive home made all the better by the Spoonbill we saw on the way through.

A Spoonbill

All in all, another wonderful trip in a beautiful location with great friends and we’re already planning our return trip! So until then safe travels.

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