Feral Goats on the West Coast of Ireland

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Since first sighting the Feral Goats on Goat Island whilst sailing last year, I had wanted to return to capture some shots of this enigmatic species. Goat Island is situated at the North Western end of Roaringwater Bay on the West Coast of Island.

Weather conditions yesterday were perfect for photography – blue skies and very light winds. My good friend Liam Arundel and I took the rib and headed out into the bay. As we approached Goat Island the goats were nowhere to be seen, so we took the opportunity to photograph the resident Shags, Oystercatchers, Great Black-backed Gulls and Fulmar. Then after rounding the island and approaching from the North West with the sun behind us, we spotted about 15 Feral Goats on the pinnacle of the island.

The Feral Goat is the domestic goat (Capra aegagrus hircus) when it has become established in the wild. Feral goats are common in many areas of the Irish west coast including counties Cork, Mayo, Donegal and Kerry. In the town of Killorglin, in County Kerry, a Puck Fair takes place each year in which a wild goat is captured and crowned “King” of the fair, in a continuation of ancient Celtic practices.

Feral Goats (Capra aegagrus hircus) on Goat Island, Roaringwater Bay, West Cork, Republic of Ireland

Feral Goats (Capra aegagrus hircus) on Goat Island, Roaringwater Bay, West Cork, Republic of Ireland

Feral Goats (Capra aegagrus hircus) on Goat Island, Roaringwater Bay, West Cork, Republic of Ireland

Feral Goats (Capra aegagrus hircus) on Goat Island, Roaringwater Bay, West Cork, Republic of Ireland

Feral Goats (Capra aegagrus hircus) on Goat Island, Roaringwater Bay, West Cork, Republic of Ireland

Feral Goats (Capra aegagrus hircus) on Goat Island, Roaringwater Bay, West Cork, Republic of Ireland

Feral Goats (Capra aegagrus hircus) on Goat Island, Roaringwater Bay, West Cork, Republic of Ireland

Oystercatcher (Haematopus ostralegus) at Roaringwater Bay, West Cork, Republic of Ireland

Great Black-backed Gull (Larus marinus) at Roaringwater Bay, West Cork, Republic of Ireland

Fulmar (Fulmarus glacialis) at Roaringwater Bayer, West Cork, Republic of Ireland

Shag (Phalacrocorax aristotelis) at Roaringwater Bay, West Cork, Republic of Ireland

Shag (Phalacrocorax aristotelis) at Roaringwater Bay, West Cork, Republic of Ireland

Shag (Phalacrocorax aristotelis) at Roaringwater Bay, West Cork, Republic of Ireland

Ken Billington

Ken Billington

Ken, a scientist by training held various management positions in the chemical and pharmaceutical industries during his professional career, enabling him to travel extensively throughout Europe, the Americas, North Africa, Asia and Japan. Ken has always been a keen photographer and bought his first telephoto lens 10 years ago. This was the beginning of his interest in bird photography. Since then he has also become an active supporter of birding and wildlife conservation.

Ken Billington

Ken Billington

Ken, a scientist by training held various management positions in the chemical and pharmaceutical industries during his professional career, enabling him to travel extensively throughout Europe, the Americas, North Africa, Asia and Japan. Ken has always been a keen photographer and bought his first telephoto lens 10 years ago. This was the beginning of his interest in bird photography. Since then he has also become an active supporter of birding and wildlife conservation.

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Nic Slocum

Lovely images from this gorgeous part of Roaringwater bay Ken…we had a minke whale just south of goat island again 

Glenn Bartley

Thanks, Nic – the conditions couldn’t have been better!