Hurricane Matthew hit the Tiburon Peninsula in Southwest Haiti on October 4, 2016 with wind speeds of up to 140 mph. In less than 24 hours it dumped more than 2 feet of rain in some places and destroyed most of the trees in the forests and nearby towns and cities.
The forests in this region included some of the better-preserved habitats for the remaining wildlife in the country. We are currently in Haiti, trying to assess the damages caused to some of these areas in the southern mountain range of Massif de la Hotte and Massif de la Selle.
So far, the destruction has been wide and most of the trees have suffered extensive damage. However, as expected, the foliage is coming back to most of the broad-leaf trees in the lower and mid elevation areas we have surveyed. Common endemic birds, like the palm chat, white necked crow and several hummingbird species, are present in similar numbers. We’ve also noted similar numbers with several of the migratory birds, like American red start and ovenbirds, which reflect numbers recorded in previous years. However, we have yet to see the broad-billed tody, a small native bird, or tracks of the endemic mammals. In terms of amphibians, we have heard or observed the Hispaniola tree frog, the spotted land frog and the southern whistling frog, all common to the lowlands in this part of Haiti.
Today we set up to the high mountains and see what we will find there. We'll try to stay connected and give you more information on what we find!