Frederique and I would like to dedicate this image to the team at 360Cities.net for setting out to attempt the impossible task of creating a technological wonder and succeeding beyond anyone's expectations. 360Cities.net brings a new world of vision to our planet where people like you can exist in 10,000 locations and situations around the planet - sharing "memory bubbles" of Earth's most splendid visions. May their success bring pleasure and wisdom to all of us in the coming year.
When Frederique and I set out at dawn from Noumea to take a photo of the rare and endangered Cagou, Rhynochetos jubatus, in it's natural habitat I really did not expect to succeed. But it would be fun trying. The Cagou only exists in New Caledonia and of the estimated population of 1000 half of them live deep in the wet forests of the 9,045 hectare Parc Provincial de la Riviere Bleue, about an hour's drive from Noumea.
Against all probability we came upon a small family of Cagous close to the largest Kaori tree in New Caledonia - a tree that is over 1000 years old.
Cagous, the national bird of New Caledonia, have wings but cannot fly. They are very shy creatures and when I saw this pair moving in the forest I approached as close as I could without frightening them and then lay flat on the ground and wiggled my finger - trying to make it look like a grub. I was able to coax the female close enough to get an image with my fisheye lens. She cautiously came to within 1.5 metres when the male rushed over and extended his crest, hissing like an angry cat. She put her head down, turned and ran off. The male glared at me for a moment and then followed her into the bush. I did not see them again, although Freddy and I wandered around the forest for about 3 hours.
You can see where this pair have been scratching at the ground searching for small lizards, grubs, insects, earthworms and snails. Cagous mate for life and can live for more than 20 years. The female lays one egg a year and both the male and the female tend the egg and rear the chick. Young cagous may stay on the parent's 10 to 30 hectare territory and familys may have a maximum of 6 birds.
There is a beetle under a leaf close to the camera, hiding from the Cagous. Can you find it?
For information on visiting New Caledonia's wilderness areas download a copy of the Rocket Guide to New Caledonia.
Une Nation du Pacifique Sud, la plus proche de l'Australie et de la Nouvelle Zélande. Une chaîne de hautes montagnes, d'impressionnantes cascades et de nombreuses rivières avec une flore et une faune variée et souvent unique au monde - C'est le paradis de la randonnée pédestre ou équestre ainsi que de l'excursion en véhicule tout-terrain.Le plus grand lagon du monde, peuplé d'une faune tropicale endémique particulièrement riche, avec des récifs et des populations de poissons rares et protégées. Des centaines d'épaves sous-marines, des îlots, de nombreuses plages de sable blanc. La population calédonienne est issue d'un large brassage culturel : Mélanésiens, Européens, Polynésiens, Vietnamiens, Chinois, Japonais, et la langue et culture française. La Nouvelle-Calédonie est dotée de très bonnes infrastructures médicales et sociales. Une infrastructure touristique qui offre un large éventail de types d'hébergement allant de l'hôtel 5 étoiles au camping aménagé en passant par l'accueil en milieu tribal, les chambres d'hôtes, les refuges et l'auberge de jeunesse.