A family of ospreys (Pandion haliaetus melvillensis) live on Ilot Mato in the great south lagoon of New Caledonia. The island is one of many in New Caledonia's World Heritage Site and I think there is one family of ospreys on each one of these lovely little islands. They build their nests high in the trees, although on some of the islands where there are no high trees they resort to building their nests on driftwood or even on uplifted chunks of coral. I believe there are four ospreys living on Ilot Mato - but I'm not certain as they do move around alot and they all look pretty much alike to me. They do things together - I often see them on the beach or exposed tide flats foraging for fish, crabs and sea snakes and they will soar together on the thermals over the island. Strangely, when they fly off to hunt in the lagoon for fish they go alone. They sometimes call to each other with a shrill cry that carries a long way.
New Caledonia is the closest South Pacific Island to Australia and New Zealand. It is a French Territory and although the official language is French the culture is a blend of Melanesian, European, Polynesian, Vietnamese, Chinese, Indonesian, and more. There is one large mountainous island called Grande Terre and 6 smaller islands - the three Loyalty Islands, Belep and the Isle of Pines.The islands are remarkably unpopulated and there are vast areas of wilderness. There are hundreds of kilometers of walking treks, camp grounds, more than 42 parks and reserves, and crystal clear rivers with sparkling waterfalls. Almost one third of the population is located in the capital city of Noumea. Nickel mining is the primary industry and is the major contributor to the high standard of living in the country. Grande Terre is surrounded by the second largest barrier reef in the world and the protected lagoon created by this barrier reef is the largest in the world. Listed as a World Heritage Site in 2008, the lagoon is 24,000 square kilometers and supports a diverse and luxuriant fauna of fish and invertebrates.The vibrant, clear and rich colors are one of the first things that visitors notice when they arrive. Noumea has a complete range of hotels, resorts, restaurants, and activities to welcome visitors.