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We frequently travel north to Queensland by non-direct routes, over a number of days. One of these meanders takes us to the glaciation rocks just off the Narrabri to Bingara road. We usually camp down by the river with the music of rapids and frogs to lull us. However, last time heavy rain made this impossible, so we found a flat place on rocks above the gorge which was roaring with floodwaters and foam.

On a morning stroll, I spotted a solitary orchid beside the dirt track. I marked it with a discarded beer-can and a fallen branch and went back triumphantly to fetch J. And you know what, despite the markers, I couldn’t find it. Further evidence that my orchid spotting skills are appallingly limited.

This is what we finally refound …

My rank amateur status as an identifier was confirmed. I didn’t even recognise it as a member of the vast greenhood alliance, and many leafings through David Jones’ big book didn’t help. Then I struck it lucky in his field guide. It’s Pterostylis mutica.

True to experience, once we’d seen this solitary orchid, they began to pop up everywhere. Our rocky camp-site was alive with them.

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