Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Birds of the Central Plateau

Here are the 28 species of birds seen in Caiman (near Bohoc, near Pignon) in fall 2014.  See this post for information about spotting the rare plain pigeon.  * indicates endemics to Hispaniola.

(add grassquit to Nov.)
English nameCreole nameScientific nameOct. 2014Nov. 2014
·  Antillean Mango Wanga Nègès Anthracothorax dominicusxx
·  Vervain Hummingbird Wanga Nègès Mellisuga minimaxx
·  Hispaniolan Parakeet* Parich Aratinga chloroptera4
·  Cattle Egret Krabye Bulbulcus ibixx
·  Plain Pigeon Ramye Columa inornata22
·  Common Ground Dove Zotolon Columbina passerinaxx
·  White-necked Crow* Kaw Corvus leucognaphalusxx
·  Hispaniolan Palm Crow* Ti kaw Corvus palmarumxx
·  Smooth-billed Ani Boustabak Crotophaga anix
·  Greater Antillean Grackle Mèl Diab Quiscalus nigerx
·  Prairie Warbler Ti Tchit Zèl Jon Dendroica discolorx
·  Cape May Warbler Setophaga tigrinxx
·  Black and White Warbler Ti Tchit Demidèy Mniotilta variaxx
·  Palm Warbler Ti Tchit Palmis Dendroica palmarumx
·  Ovenbird Ti Tchit DoreSeiurus aurocapillaxx
·  American Redstart Ti Tchit Dife Setophaga ruticillaxx
·  Palmchat* Esclave Dulus dominicusxx
·  American Kestrel Grigri Falco sparveriusxx
·  Hispaniolan Woodpecker* Sepantye Melanerpes striatusxx
·  Black-crowned Palm-tanager* Kat-je Tèt Nwa Phaenicophilus palarumxx
·  Hispaniolan Lizard Cuckoo* Tako Sauruthera longirostrisxx
·  Broad-billed Tody* Kolobri Todus subulatusxx
·  Gray Kingbird Pipirit gris Tyrannus dominicensisxx
·  Bananaquit Kit Coereba flaveolaxx
·  Nutmeg Mannikin Mannken Lonchura punctulata - introxx
·  Turkey Kodon Meleagris - intro? xx
·  Chickens! Poul Gallus gallusxx
·  Guineafowl Pentard Numida meleagrisxx

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Ramye (plain pigeon) in the central plateau

There is a confirmed pair of ramye, plain pigeon (Patagioenas inornata), near l'Université Chrétienne de la Communauté de Caïman east of Pignon.  Here is video so you can hear their low groan.  Turn the volume up and listen at seconds 3, 11, and 20.  The birds fly off at second 31.

Older Haitians say that when they were young they saw 100s of these birds at a time.  Now there is reported to be only 1,000-4,000 in the Caribbean.  The ramye have been seen in other places near Caiman and Bohoc since 2009.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Mystery freshwater plant of Haiti

This fall we will be back at Etang Laborde to perform a bioassessment which will document the plant and animal life at this lake.  During our reconn we found this plant growing along the shore along with other aquatic plants.  Does anyone know what it is?
What is the plant on the left?

What is this plant?

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Ecotours in Les Cayes

If you are interested in ecotours around the Les Cayes area, visit our sister blog site to read about birding, forts, caves, and other sites you can explore.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Turtles and amphibians of southern Haiti

The Audubon Center appreciates all nature, not just birds.  Here are some photos of turtles and frogs found in the Les Cayes area.  Does any one know which species they are?

Frogs A & B - This is the invasive species the Cane toad, or Marine toad.  They secret a toxin that can kill small mammals and harm humans, and they eat Haiti's native animals. 

C'est l'espèce invasive le crapaud de canne, ou crapaud marin. Ils secrète une toxine qui peut tuer les petits mammifères et les humains de nuire, et ils mangent les animaux indigènes d'Haïti. 

Frog C is most likely Eleutherodactylus abbotti.

The turtle is most likely Trachemys stejnegeri, though the range map on CaribHerp indicates it may be the other native freshwater turtle Trachemys decorata.

Frog A - Etang Lachaux

Frog A - Etang Lachaux

Frog B - Etang Laborde

Frog C - Les Cayes.

Frog C - Les Cayes.

Frog C - Les Cayes.

Turtle A
Turtle A
Turtle A


Wednesday, February 5, 2014

A 1931 Book of Birds of Haiti

I recently purchased the 1931 book 'The Birds of Haiti and the Dominican Republic' by Alexander Wetmore and Bradshaw H. Swales.  The book begins with a review of natural history surveys done on the island since the arrival of Columbus.  Then gives a summary of the avifauna in various regions of the island.  It also gives accounts of the bird species found on the island.  My attention was drawn to references of parrots and parakeets being common.  There are some black and white photos from the 1927 birding expedition, as well as black and white illustrations of some of the birds.  I plan to compare the bird list in this book with that of the 2006 Princeton Birds of the Dominican Republic and Haiti.  Visit the Audubon Center Facebook page for photos from this glimpse into history.  https://www.facebook.com/audubonhaiti

Thursday, January 30, 2014

A visit to Etang Laborde

In December 2013 I had visited Etang Laborde for the Les Cayes Christmas Bird Count.  This month I had the opportunity to return to the lake when my guest, aquatic ecologist Dr. Donald Huggins, wanted to visit it for a possible bioassessment study.  In May 2013 we had done a base-line bioassessment of nearby Etang Lachaux, which continued to recede in the 2013 drought.  Now we needed to see a lake that still had water, fish, and birds.  The residents along the lake were very kind to us, telling us about the history of the lake levels and giant fish and crayfish they had seen.  Our botanist friend Dr. Craig Freeman identified the aquatic plants from photos we had taken (see next post).  The large flocks of ducks I saw during the Christmas count had moved on, but still we saw over 19 species of birds.

People use these springs for drinking water.  They are about 15 m from the lake shore. 

Drawing by a man who said he saw a fish almost 1 m long.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

2nd Aquatic Ecology Workshop in Camp Perrin

Thank you to Jean Dunes Gustave, Ministry of the Environment for the South, for inviting the University of Kansas (KU) to hold a second aquatic ecology workshop at his office building in Camp Perrin.  This 2ème Les Principes Écologie Aquatique focused on the results of our May 2013 study of Etang Lachaux, a lake along National Route 7 south between Les Cayes and Camp Perrin.  See these past blogs for the lake study and the 1st workshop in May 2013.  The 29 participants represented 13 organizations and including people who owned land around the lake.  Presenters were Dr. Donald Huggins from the Kansas Biological Survey (KBS) at KU and Debbie Baker from KBS and Audubon Center of Les Cayes.

We discussed the results of the water chemistry of the lake, and gave recommendations for increasing water volume so that the lake can be used for a fishery.  Participants said that 1975 was the last time the lake completely dried up.  We suggested that lake managers do not stock this shallow lake with carp which are bottom feeders and stir up the lake sediment.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

2013 Christmas Bird Count Results

Thanks to organizers Pastor Sean Christensen in Simon and Anderson Jean of the Haiti Audubon Society, we had a successful 2013 Christmas Bird Count in Les Cayes.  Volunteers included Dr. Paul Rudenberg and family, Debbie Baker, three AUC students, and others.  The CBC was also an excellent way to teach the community why we love birds.  Scroll down for a table of results.

We observed 9 new bird species this year and beat our old record for species observed by 11 species! This was primarily due to having a team in the Maniche area the entire day, which allowed for higher elevation species.  We had fewer observers than the previous two years, however, we still had a maximum of five teams and we were more strategic in our locations and schedule, which contributed to such a high amount of species observed.  The lack of water at Etang Lachaux certainly affected our numbers, especially for duck species.  Pastor Sean's group spent a brief time at Wharf Massey (new location), which accounted for two new species:  Rock Pigeon and Barn Swallow.  There was at least one other swallow species present, but was not identified.  Our Cattle Egret numbers were down significantly.  The last two years we identified a roost and were able to count them at dawn. We didn't do that this year.  This year and last we failed to identify House Sparrows, which are regularly seen in downtown Cayes.  We have yet to see a Zenaida Dove or a Black-whiskered Vireo, which are possibilities.

Winter plumage Black-bellied Plover. This is a very common sight in winter in Haiti. — at Gelee Beach Aux Cayes. Photo by Sean Christensen.

A Lesser Yellowlegs (bottom left) with two Greater Yellowlegs. This is an open pond area in a mangrove. — at Islet Massey, Cayes, Haiti.  Photo by Sean Christensen.

Email Debbie Baker if you would like these results as a spreadsheet.   debbieauc at gmail.com

2009* 2010 2011 2012 2013
Nom anglais Nom latin 30-Dec 27-Dec 17-Dec 15-Dec 14-Dec
Canard / Oie
West Indian Whistling Duck Dendrocygna arborea
Gadwall Anas strepera
Eurasian Wigeon Anas penelope 1
American Wigeon Anas americana 49 8 138 120 145
Blue-winged Teal Anas discors 5 386 120 2
Northern Shoveler Anas clypeata 1
White-cheeked Pintail Anas bahamensis 6
Green-winged Common Teal Anas crecca 50
Canvasback Aythya valisineria
Redhead Aythya americana
Ring-necked Duck Aythya collaris 21 3 26 180 2
Lesser Scaup Aythya affinis 7 1
Ruddy Duck Oxyura jamaicensis 56 14 12 4 10
Least Grebe Tachybaptus dominicus
Pied-billed Grebe Podilymbus podiceps 66 63 55 31 6
Les Oiseaux du marécage
White Ibis Eudocimus albus
Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus 100 90 420 286
Black-crowned Night Heron Nycticorax nycticorax 1
Yellow-crowned Night Heron Nyctanassa violacea 1 17 7 x
Green Heron Butorides virescens 3 16 13 25 12
Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis 194 311 763 1450 394
Great Blue Heron Ardea herodias 26 2 12 9
Great Egret Ardea alba 18 23 7 12 9
Tricolored or Louisiana Heron Egretta tricolor 3 x 5
Little Blue Heron Egretta caerulea 16 21 12 18 19
Snowy Egret Egretta thula 9 20 8 20 54
Black-necked Stilt Himantopus mexicanus 38 32 296 327 264
Les Oiseaux de la mer
Red-billed Tropicbird Phaethon aethereus
White-tailed Tropicbird Phaethon lepturus
Magnificent Frigatebird Fregata magnificens
Brown Pelican Pelecanus occidentalis 2
Neotropical Cormorant Phalacrocorax brasilianus
Double-crested Cormorant Phalacrocorax auritus
Turkey-Vulture Cathartes aura 12 6 30 16 41
American Kestrel Falco sparverius 17 8 17 25 27
Merlin Falco columbarius 1 2
Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus
Osprey Pandion haliaetus 2 3 2 3 1
Red-tailed Hawk Buteo jamaicensis 3 2 1
Poul de l'eau
Purple Gallinule Porphyrio martinica
Common Moorhen Gallinule Gallinula chloropus/galeata 32 9 48 22 19
American Coot Fulica americana 10 35 5 16 7
Caribbean Coot Fulica caribaea 63 71 57 37 18
Northern Jacana Jacana spinosa 7 14 16 1 2
American Golden Plover Pluvialis dominica
Black-bellied Plover Pluvialis squatarola 40 11 37 3 28
Semipalmated Plover Charadrius semipalmatus 1
Wilson's Plover Charadrius wilsonia 2
Killdeer Ardea alba 4 5 6 12
Piping Plover Charadrius melodus
Kentish Plover Charadrius alexandrinus
Common Snipe Gallinago gallinago 26
Short-billed Dowitcher Limnodromus griseus 5
Long-billed Dowitcher Limnodromus scolopaceus
Hudsonian Godwit Limosa haemastica
Marbled Godwit Limosa fedoa
Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus
Upland Sandpiper Bartramia longicauda
Greater Yellowlegs Tringa melanoleuca 1 7 2 35 4
Lesser Yellowlegs Tringa flavipes 1 57 32 49
Solitary Sandpiper Tringa solitaria
Spotted Sandpiper Actitis macularius 24 1 7 8 17
Willet Catoptrophorus semipalmatus 3 8 12 16
Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres 14 8 38 1 58
Red Knot Calidris canutus
Sanderling Calidris alba 33 46 39 12
Semipalmated Sandpiper Calidris pusilla 2
Western Sandpiper Calidris mauri x
Least Sandpiper Calidris minutilla 1 37
White-rumped Sandpiper Calidris fuscicollis
Baird's Sandpiper Calidris bairdii
Pectoral Sandpiper Calidris melanotos
Dunlin Calidris alpina
Stilt-Sandpiper Calidris himantopus 15 x 1
Buff-breasted Sandpiper Tryngites subruficollis
Ruff Philomachus pugnax
Wilson's Phalarope Phalaropus tricolor
Red-necked Phalarope Phalaropus lobatus
Goéland / Sterne
Ring-billed Gull Larus delawarensis 1 1
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus 2
Herring Gull Larus argentatus
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus
Bonaparte's Gull Larus philadelphia
Laughing Gull Larus atricilla 52 14 7 4 1
Franklin's Gull Larus pipixcan
Black-legged Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla
Gull-billed Tern Sterna nilotica x
Caspian Tern Sterna caspia
Sandwich Tern Sterna sandvicensis 3 2 x 2
Royal Tern Sterna maxima 5 13 4 1 4
Roseate Tern Sterna dougallii 20
Common Tern Sterna hirundo 68
Forster's Tern Sterna forsteri
Least Tern Sterna antillarum 5 1
Bridled Tern Sterna anaethetus
Sooty Tern Sterna fuscata
Black Tern Chlidonias niger
Brown Noddy Anous stolidus
Black Skimmer Rynchops niger
Pigeon / Ramier
Rock Pigeon Columba livia 50
White-crowned Pigeon Columba leucocephala
Scaly-naped Pigeon Columba squamosa 5 18 4
Plain Pigeon Columba inornata
Mourning Dove Zenaida macroura 8 17 17 32 44
Zenaida Dove Zenaida aurita 4
White-winged Dove Zenaida asiatica 9 13
Common Ground Dove Columbina passerina 5 14 22 11 20
Gray-headed Quail-Dove Geotrygon caniceps
Key West Quail-Dove Geotrygon chrysia
Ruddy Quail-Dove Geotrygon montana
Black-billed Cuckoo Coccyzus erythropthalmus
Yellow-billed Cuckoo Coccyzus americanus
Mangrove Cuckoo Coccyzus minor
Hispaniolan Lizard Cuckoo Saurothera longirostris 4 1 12 20 13
Smooth-billed Ani Crotophaga ani 17 4 48 74 51
Barn Owl Tyto alba 1 1
Ashy-faced Owl Tyto glaucops
Burrowing Owl Athene cunicularia
Stygian Owl Asio stygius
Short-eared Owl Asio flammeus
Northern Potoo Nyctibius jamaicensis
Common Nighthawk Chordeiles minor
Antillean Nighthawk Chordeiles gundlachii
Least Pauraque Siphonorhis brewsteri
Chuck-will's Widow Caprimulgus carolinensis
Greater Antillean Nightjar Caprimulgus cubanensis
Black Swift Cypseloides niger 4
White-collared Swift Streptoprocne zonaris 1 11
Chimney Swift Chaetura pelagica
Antillean Palm Swift Tachornis phoenicobia 7 27 16
Ouanga Négresse
Antillean Mango Anthracothorax dominicus x 6 11 4 15
Hispaniolan Emerald Chlorostilbon swainsonii 1 1 4 3
Vervain Hummingbird Mellisuga minima 7 3 4 10
Pipirit Rivye
Belted Kingfisher Megaceryle alcyon 3 7 6 6 3
Broad-billed Tody Todus subulatus 3 4 9
Narrow-billed Tody Todus angustirostris 1 5
Antillean Piculet Nesoctites micromegas 6
Hispaniolan Woodpecker Melanerpes striatus 16 24 40 84 53
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker Sphyrapicus varius x 1
Greater Antillean Elaenia Elaenia fallax
Hispaniolan Pewee Contopus hispaniolensis 1 1
Gray Kingbird Tyrannus dominicensis 14 8 22 26 30
Loggerhead Kingbird Tyrannus caudifasciatus 3
Great Crested Flycatcher Myiarchus crinitus
Stolid Flycatcher Myiarchus stolidus 1
White-eyed Vireo Vireo griseus
Thick-billed Vireo Vireo crassirostris
Flat-billed Vireo Vireo nanus
Yellow-throated Vireo Vireo flavifrons
Red-eyed Vireo Vireo olivaceus
Black-whiskered Vireo Vireo altiloquus
Palm Crow Corvus palmarum 29 5 30
White-necked Crow Corvus leucognaphalus 17 2 26 47 47
Zwazo maske
Cedar Waxwing Bombycilla cedrorum
Zwazo palmis
Palmchat Dulus dominicus 9 x 59 31 85
Bank Swallow Riparia riparia
Tree Swallow Tachycineta bicolor
Golden Swallow Tachycineta euchrysea
Purple Martin Progne subis
Caribbean Martin Progne dominicensis
No. Rough-winged Swallow Stelgidopteryx serripennis
Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica 4
Cliff Swallow Petrochelidon pyrrhonota
Cave Swallow Petrochelidon fulva
Ti zwazo
Bananaquit Coereba flaveola 20 21 47 81 63
Moqueur / Grive
Northern Mockingbird Mimus polyglottos 3 2 4 10 22
Red-legged Thrush Turdus plumbeus 3 9
Madan Sara
Village Weaver Ploceus cucullatus 3 12 11 45 128
Nutmeg Mannikin Lonchura punctulata 2 2
Black-headed Munia Lonchura malacca
Ti Kikit / Paruline
Golden-winged Warbler Vermivora chrysoptera
Blue-winged Warbler Vermivora pinus
Tennessee Warbler Vermivora peregrina
Nashville Warbler Vermivora ruficapilla
Northern Parula Parula americana 4 x 4 2 7
Chestnut-sided Warbler Dendroica pensylvanica
Yellow Warbler Dendroica petechia 2 2 4
Blackpoll Warbler Dendroica striata
Bay-breasted Warbler Dendroica castanea
Blackburnian Warbler Dendroica fusca
Magnolia Warbler Dendroica magnolia
Cape May Warbler Dendroica tigrina 5 1 11 8 10
Black-throated Blue Warbler Dendroica caerulescens 2 3 9 5 7
Yellow-rumped Warbler Dendroica coronata
Black-throated Green Warbler Dendroica virens
Yellow-throated Warbler Dendroica dominica
Prairie Warbler Dendroica discolor 1 2 2 2
Pine Warbler Dendroica pinus
Kirtland's Warbler Dendroica kirtlandii
Palm Warbler Dendroica palmarum 1 7 3
Black-and-white Warbler Mniotilta varia x x 5 7 10
American Redstart Setophaga ruticilla 8 5 13 12 25
Prothonotary Warbler Protonotaria citrea
Worm-eating Warbler Helmitheros vermivorum
Swainson's Warbler Limnothlypis swainsonii
Ovenbird Seiurus aurocapilla 3 x 3 5
Northern Waterthrush Seiurus noveboracensis
Louisiana Waterthrush Seiurus motacilla 7 1 3
Kentucky Warbler Oporornis formosus
Connecticut Warbler Oporornis agilis
Mourning Warbler Oporornis philadelphia
Common Yellowthroat Geothlypis trichas 1 6
Green-tailed Warbler Microligea palustris
Hooded Warbler Wilsonia citrina
Wilson's Warbler Wilsonia pusilla
Canada Warbler Wilsonia canadensis
Yellow-breasted Chat Icteria virens
White-winged Warbler Xenoligea montana
Greater Antillean Oriole Icterus dominicensis 1
Shiny Cowbird Molothrus bonariensis
Tawny-shouldered Blackbird Agelaius humeralis
Greater Antillean Grackle Quiscalus niger 7 10 19
Zwazo kann / Bruant
Yellow-faced Grassquit Tiaris olivaceus x 14 45 56
Black-faced Grassquit Tiaris bicolor 3
Greater Antillean Bullfinch Loxigilla violacea 5
House Sparrow Passer domesticus 3 8 1
Summer Tanager Piranga rubra
Scarlet Tanager Piranga olivacea
Western Tanager Piranga ludoviciana
Gray-crowned Palm Tanager Phaenicophilus poliocephalus 4 5 2 6
Western Chat-Tanager Calyptophilus tertius
Eastern Chat-Tanager Calyptophilus frugivorus
Hispaniolan Spindalis Spindalis dominicensis
Antillean Euphonia Euphonia musica 2 2
total individuals 1195 1025 2664 3621 2496
total species count day 65 60 72 63 83
total species count week 68 64 72 69 84
# of Field Observers 10 13 21 23 15
Minimum teams at one time 3 4
Maximum teams at one time 5 5
Miles driving 113 123
Hours driving 6 4
Miles on foot 15 12
Hours on foot 29 33
Hours owling 1 1
Miles owling 1 2

 *2009 was a provisional count and not submitted as a CBC.