Meeting the Neighbours

In the company of goats

Bronwen Scott

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Ready for my close up. © Bronwen Scott.

A brief break in the rainy weather presented me with a choice. Should I go outside and a) clean the gecko poop off the window sills or b) talk to the goats? It was a tough decision, as you can imagine.

You lookin’ at me? © Bronwen Scott.

The garden backs onto a big paddock with…well…I’m not sure how many goats. More than twenty, less than fifty. When I wandered out (ignoring the window sills) the goats spotted me and gambolled over to the fence to check whether I was bringing them food. I rarely give them treats but they are ever hopeful.

Mum and kid. © Bronwen Scott.

When brush-turkeys exhibit this behaviour, I show them my empty hands (and sometimes pockets). They angle their heads, look me in the eye with an expression that’s both accusing and disappointed, and wander off. But goats are not brush-turkeys*. Once this mob realised I didn’t have food, they transferred their attention to the camera. Goats are curious creatures.

Shy. © Bronwen Scott.

I had hoped to take shots of the animals grazing in the paddock, not lined up along the fence staring at the Nikon. So I talked to them about photography until they became bored and meandered away. They had stayed while I showed them the images on the camera back but lost interest when I started on depth of field. After all, it’s difficult enough to look through the viewfinder when your eye’s on the side of your head. But doing that and holding a camera with cloven hooves is beyond the capabilities of even the most dextrous goat.

Wonky Goat, the oldest gal in the flock.

The animals were pleasant company and neither party outstayed their welcome. Next time I might take some treats with me instead of the camera.

* Taxonomic tip of the day

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Bronwen Scott

Zoologist, writer, artist, museum fan, enjoying life in the tropical rainforest of Far North Queensland. She/her. Website: bronwenscott.com