Brief trip to Haiti, January 2013

Published by Haynes Miller (hrm AT

Participants: Haynes Miller


I participated in a workshop in Port-au-Prince 16-20 January, 2013, and spent the next two days bird watching around Kenscoff in the hills south of the city. The workshop was at the Hotel La Plaza in Port-au-Prince. This is a comfortable hotel with a nice pool and patio eating area. Some rooms have ethernet cables, and there is some wireless connectivity, but the internet service was spotty.

One day we took off the afternoon and hired a bus to take us to Wahoo Bay, a very small but pleasant swimming beach north of Port-au-Prince. There were no birds at all at the beach itself, but I noted a few on the drive. Kenscoff is a substantial village spread out along an active roadway at an elevation of about 1500 meters. The surrounding countryside is quite beautiful - scattered trees and hand-tilled terraced garden plots against bright red soil. The views are spectacular, down to the city (though the main part of PAP lies behind Morne l'Hopital) and into Port-au-Prince Bay, spreading east along the rift with Trou Caiman and Lake Azuei, with the Massif Central behind. The mornings were chilly, perhaps 15 deg C, warming up to low 20's during the day. There were no bugs. I think this is too high and cool for malaria to be a problem.

I stayed at Le Florville in Kenscoff (at the recommendation of Florence Sergile). This is mainly a large restaurant, very well-known in Port-au-Prince. It has about five hotel rooms in a separate building. Mine was newly painted, very large, and featured a spectacular view. In addition to a large and comfortable bed there was a convertable couch. I was offered three prices and chose the middle one. There was a wireless connection with excellent service.

From Port-au-Prince there are 'busses' (or tap-taps, i.e. brightly painted covered pick-up trucks) to Fermathe, just above Petionville, and from there you can take a 'taxi' (i.e. the back of a motorcycle). This is not how I got there. I was lucky enough to make contact with Rene Durocher, a photographer located in Petionville. He arranged for a driver to pick me up at La Plaza and drive up to his very attractive house in the northern outskirts of Petionville. We then drove on up to Kenscoff, dropped off my things at the hotel, and drove on up the hill to several attractive spots. We went to the Wynne Farm office and met Janey Wynne. Janey has feeders which I am sure attract a wide variety of birds early in the morning. One of her workers (Leon) led us up the path into the farm, past fields of flowers to one of many spectacular vistas, this one south to Furcy and beyond, to Morne La Visite in the distance.

We drove on up to just below the radio towers at the top of this hill, at about 1900 meters. There was a good selection of birds there.

We drove on into the hills, and ended up in Furcy at The Lodge. This is another very attractive hotel with an excellent restaurant. We had a good lunch there, along with quite a large number of families who'd driven their SUVs up from Port-au-Prince for a Sunday outing. We made only the briefest exploration of this extensive and rather forested area.

We drove back down the hill to Kenscoff, where I spent the afternoon relaxing in the hotel and enjoyed a dinner at La Florville.

Rene arrived at 6:00 the next morning and we headed off on foot, up the hill towards the Wynne Farm property. The views became progressively more spectacular, and once we had crossed into the farm we found some beautiful and productive spots. Many birds are attracted to the Loquat trees (Eriobotrya japonica) which Janey Wynne apparently introduced into Haiti and which are doing very well.

We continued to climb, arriving eventually at the Wynne Farm hydroponic station; descended briefly through abandoned aquiculture pannes, then up a roadway under construction, and arrived at the very radio towers we had been at the day before. The grounds around these towers were also quite productive. The walk down was easier. The entire morning walk took six or seven hours.

The next morning I payed up at La Florville. Earlier they had been able to deal with credit cards, for dinner bills, but now in the morning the desk clerk was not up to it. After 20 minutes of fussing I pulled out cash, which I was glad to have brought along. I had relatively little opportunity to buy things in Haiti, but everywhere I did US cash was readily accepted.

I had invaluable help from many people in setting up this excursion: Michel Degraff, Josianne Hudcourt-Barnes, Mark Oberle, Jim Goetz, Florence Sergile, and of course Rene Durocher. Here are some contacts: Jim Goetz,; Florence Sergile,; Rene Duroucher,;; Le Florville Restaurant, Bed and Breakfast, Mireille (Mimi) Florville and Bernard Bryant, (509) 3289-9911, (509) 3449-6161, (509 2227-1437,

There are accomodations at the Lodge in Furcy as well. Nicole Gardere (509) 2510-9870, (509) 3458 5968,; Wynne Farm

Species Lists

Cattle Egret 20 from road along the coast north of Port-au-Prince

Rock Pigeon 1, Wynne Farm

White-winged Dove 2 from road along the coast north of Port-au-Prince

Zenaida Dove heard at Port-au-Prince hotel; seen at Wynne Farm

Mourning Dove common at Port-au-Prince hotel and Wynne Farm

Common Ground-Dove heard at Port-au-Prince hotel

Hispaniolan Lizard-Cuckoo* 1 heard at Port-au-Prince hotel

Smooth-billed Ani 1, Wynne Farm

White-collared Swift 1, radio towers

Antillean Palm-Swift several, overhead once at Port-au-Prince hotel

Antillean Mango 4, Wynne Farm

Narrow-billed Tody* 4, Wynne Farm

Hispaniolan Woodpecker* heard calling at Port-au-Prince hotel

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 1, Kenscoff

American Kestrel Port-au-Prince hotel and common at Wynne Farm

Merlin 1 from road along the coast north of Port-au-Prince

Greater Antillean Elaenia Wynne Farm and Furcy

Hispaniolan Pewee* 1, Wynne Farm and Furcy

Golden Swallow 3, radio towers

Rufous-throated Solitaire heard several at Wynne Farm

Red-legged Thrush Wynne Farm

Northern Mockingbird 3, Wynne Farm

Palmchat* 1, Wynne Farm

Black-and-white Warbler Wynne Farm

Common Yellowthroat 2, Wynne Farm

American Redstart 1, Petionville

Cape May Warbler 1, Wynne Farm

Northern Parula Port-au-Prince hotel

Black-throated Blue Warbler 10, Wynne Farm

Palm Warbler 2, Wynne Farm

Pine Warbler Wynne Farm and Furcy

Prairie Warbler Wynne Farm

Green-tailed Ground Tanager* 1, Wynne Farm

Bananaquit Port-au-Prince hotel

Black-faced Grassquit 8, Wynne Farm

Greater Antillean Bullfinch 8, Wynne Farm; and Furcy

Black-crowned Palm-Tanager* 2, Wynne Farm

Hispaniolan Spindalis* 1, Wynne Farm

Greater Antillean Grackle 20 perched in tree at hotel in Kenscoff

Hispaniolan Oriole* Port-au-Prince hotel

Antillean Siskin Wynne Farm

House Sparrow Port-au-Prince hotel

* Hispaniolan endemic species: 9