Sunday, December 20, 2015

Monarch butterflies in Haiti

La Fouchet 20 Dec. 2015
Here are photos I took of 3 monarch butterflies in Haiti.  Two were at Wynne Farm in the mountains near Kenscoff.  One was at La Fouchet restaurant near the US embassy in Port au Prince.  If you would like exact locations, contact me.  Photos are in original resolution.  Also shown is Asclepias (milkweed) on which I saw monarchs.  It is growing by the lake Etang Lachaux near Les Cayes.

Monarch 1 at Wynne Farm, 19 Dec. 2015
Monarch 1 at Wynne Farm, 19 Dec. 2015
Monarch 2 at Wynne Farm, 19 Dec. 2015
Monarch 2 at Wynne Farm, 19 Dec. 2015
Milkweed by Etang Lachaux 9 Mar. 2015
Etang Lachaux 9 Mar. 2015

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Wynne Farm – an ecological retreat near Port au Prince

Thanks to tour group Voyages Lumière, I visited the Wynne Farm located in Kenscoff, a 1.5 hour drive from Port au Prince.  I am eager to share this find with everyone interested in ecology and environmental education in Haiti.  More pictures can be seen on the Audubon Center of Les Cayes website.  

The farm is a mix of sustainable agriculture and preserved forests, and an excellent place to bring a school group or agronomy students to learn about conservation.  Janey Wynne’s father started the farm in 1950s, and the contrast to the surrounding deforested hills is striking.  Wynne Farm shows what Haiti could look like if conservation was a priority.

Tour details: Contact Voyages Lumière to arrange transportation.  Or contact the farm directly at  Allow for three hours at the farm if you really want to explore and take pictures or go birding.  The early morning would be best for birding.  With a 8:45a pick up near the US Embassy, we arrived at the farm itself by 10:30a, driving most of the way to it, with the final stretch a walk down a very steep paved road (difficult if you have bad knees!).  An agronomy student doing his internship at the farm, Michard, gave me a tour of the farm, then left me to explore.  We left the farm around 1:30 and were back at the truck by 2p.

Clouds drifting through the cool forest.

Decomposition in action.
The forests of Wynne Farm in the background, deforested land in the foreground.
Eroded hillsides outside the farm boundary.

Agriculture on deforested hills surrounding the farm.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Birding at UCC elementary

In Haiti’s Central Plateau, Louiders and I have been taking the UCC 2nd – 6th grade students out birding, class by class.  The kids learn how to use the binoculars and the importance of protecting birds.  We’re guaranteed to see the palmchats that come to a nearby tree each morning to feed, and have seen and gray kingbirds and also Hispaniolan woodpeckers which have either red heads (male) or black heads (female).  The kids are much more focused on finding the birds than I had expected!  First grade and preschoolers get in-class lessons about how Haiti’s pretty birds help us.

4th graders looking up birds.

4th graders looking at palmchats.

The 6th grade class.

Preschoolers waiting for lunch!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Birding at UCCC university

Birding lessons have begun at Université de la Communauté Chrétienne de Caïman in Haiti’s Central Plateau.  Ecology 201 and 401 students have been rising early to learn how to use binoculars and the bird book, then we take a walk to see what birds are in the campus neighborhood.  Numbers of species vary each day, but together we have seen around 20 species over 4 days. 

Quick list so I don’t forget: Piprit  krabye gade bef,  wanga neges, some kind of yellow warbler, black & white warbler, black faced grasskit, ramye, ground dove, hisp crow, white-necked crow, kestrel, parakeets, redstart, palmchat, mockingbird, hisp. woodpecker, tody, tako, kat je tet nwa.

Black-crowned palm tanager in a papaya tree.

Cattle egret on a cow.