Walk in the foothill forests in mid-Autumn and you'd think hardly anything is flowering. But if you know where to look ... I found four tiny orchid species flowering on the amazing Barrm Birrm land, in Riddells Creek.
I wasn't looking for anything in particular, just out for a walk with the kids during their Easter school holidays (April 12). If anything, I was looking for the last of the dragonflies for the season and spider hunting wasps.
The first orchid I came across was the tiny-flowered Corunastylis morrisii (Bearded Midge-orchid): http://natureshare.org.au/observation/8953/
Having seen the Midge Orchid, I then realised that I knew of a nearby colony of what I call Autumn Greenhoods (or Tiny Greenhoods) from previous years and I thought they might be flowering too, and sure enough they were. We think the species name is Pterostylis sp. aff. parviflora (Southern Victoria) or Red-tip Greenhood (parviflora means small flowers): http://natureshare.org.au/observation/8952/
Then I started wondering about other orchid species that might be in flower now. Next I remembered an orchid I've only seen occasionally, only in March, and only in a very small area of a shady, damp part of Barrm Birrm. But there it was, Eriochilus cucullatus (Parson's Bands) - another tiny flower but in close-up it is quite amazing. http://natureshare.org.au/observation/8954/
Finally, realising I was on a roll, if the Bearded Midge-orchid was in flower I thought there is a good chance the other Midge Orchid species known on Barrm Birrm was also in flower. This species is a nightmare to find because it is so small it is almost invisible. But I went to a place where I'd seen it before and after a short search I spotted one, Corunastylis despectans (Sharp Midge-orchid): http://natureshare.org.au/observation/8966/
My guess is this last orchid could be commonplace, but it is so ridiculously small it is rarely seen. Even when I know where to look, it takes me a few minutes to spot one!