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, firstname.lastname@example.org; Florence Sergile, email@example.com; Rene Duroucher, firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.facebook.com/renedurocherhaiti; Le Florville Restaurant, Bed and Breakfast, Mireille (Mimi) Florville and Bernard Bryant, (509) 3289-9911, (509) 3449-6161, (509 2227-1437, email@example.com
There are accomodations at the Lodge in Furcy as well. Nicole Gardere (509) 2510-9870, (509) 3458 5968, firstname.lastname@example.org; Wynne Farm http://wynnefarm.org/
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