Today I am on my way to the Caribbean. I'll be spending the next month, essentially all of winter break, traveling around the island of Hispaniola. The primary focus of the trip is, of course, bird research. I'll be traveling with a friend and PhD student at Cornell who studies the endangered Black-capped Petrel and Golden Swallows. I'll also be looking for Hispaniolan Crossbills and conducting some Bicknell's Thrush surveys for my former job. I'll be keeping daily eBird checklists and hope to add at least a few species to my life list.
The first leg of the trip is to the Macaya Biosphere Reserve in Haiti. I have never visited, but have only heard stories of how amazing the area is. It's one of last remaining wild areas in Haiti and still host to many endemic species, including 13 frog species found nowhere else. I'm looking forward to it, but from all accounts it sounds like a grueling trip. We hike for two days, over two mountains, with porters wielding machetes to clear the trail. The nearest water is a two-hour hike down the mountain. All this in weather 70 degrees warmer than it has been here the past week! I'll post more, if I survive!