Chapter two - A stormy night
Spot is four months old, a lot of his fluff is now gone - except for maybe, he suspects, on his back.
He now has a bright white tummy, with dark grey spots and is almost as big as Mum and Dad - who spend most of their time out finding more and more fish for his ever increasing appetite.
He LOVES fish. They’re so tasty and stinky and slimy and delicious. To feed him a whole fish they pass it to him head first and he gobbles it up in one giant gulp, special spines inside his beak helping it down his throat. Yum!
He’s now fully waterproof and spends some of his time every day floating and splashing around in big rock pools with the other chicks. He’s getting braver at diving and likes to chase fish - although he hasn’t managed to catch as much as a squidlet yet. But there’s time to learn all that.
Mum has laid two big cream eggs in the burrow and her and Dad take turns sitting on them and finding fish for Spot.
The weather, usually hot and still, has changed dramatically over the last couple of days. It’s sud-denly windy and rainy. The penguins are getting blown about on the beach and battered against rocks in the sea.
One evening, as big heavy drops beat down on the beach, Spot is sheltering in his burrow. His beak pokes from the entrance as he watches the raging sea.
Dad is sitting on one of the eggs with Spot cuddled up next to him as they wait for Mum. They wait and they wait until it’s dark outside.
The wind is wild. The ocean crashes.
Dad is warm and soft to lean on, Spot’s eyes drift closed as he falls asleep to the sound of Dad’s gentle honking.
He’s awoken by an almighty sound.
A wave crashes into the burrow.
For an instant it’s filled with water and then…
Spot is swept out of the burrow, pulled by the swilling, sucking sea. Honking, he’s dragged across the beach, over the rocks and into the sea.
He’s tumbling under the water, fighting against the swell. But the waves are too strong, they sweep him further and further from the beach, the burrow, the colony…
Spot’s alone in the ocean.
Watch out for chapter three coming soon!
Select a blog
Our people are our greatest asset and we realise our vision for a world where wildlife thrives through their ideas, skills and passion. An inspired, informed and empowered community of people work, study and volunteer together at ZSL.
At ZSL, a key area of our work is the employment of Nature-based Solutions – an approach which both adapt to and mitigates the impacts of climate change. These Solutions, which include habitat protection and restoration, are low-cost yet high-impact, and provide multiple benefits to people and wildlife. We ensure that biodiversity recovery is at the heart of nature-based solutions.
A blog for lovers of ZSL London Zoo, bringing you extraordinary animal facts and exclusive access to the world's oldest scientific zoo.
Do you love wildlife? Discover more about our amazing animals at the UK's biggest zoo!
We're working around the world to conserve animals and their habitats, find out more about our latest achievements.
From the field to the lab, catch up with the scientists on the cutting edge of conservation biology at ZSL’s Institute of Zoology.
A day in Discovery and Learning at ZSL is never dull! The team tell us all about the exciting sessions for school children, as well as work further afield.
Every month, one of the pieces held in ZSL’s Library and at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo will feature here as Artefact of the Month.
Read testimonials from our Members and extracts from ZSL's award winning members' magazine, Wild About.
The Chagos archipelago is a rare haven for marine biodiversity. Hear from the team about our projects to protect the environments in the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT).
ZSL works across Asia, from the famous national parks of Nepal to marine protected areas in the Philippines. Read the latest updates on our conservation.
An Open Access journal for research at the interface of remote sensing, ecology and conservation.