Corona Wildlife Diary: Day One Hundred

25 June 2020 | Posted in Michael Blencowe
Corona Wildlife Diary: Day One Hundred

The uplifting role that wildlife plays in our lives has become more vital than ever. So, for my own sanity as much as anything, one hundred days ago I started keeping a daily diary of what I found around my garden. It really helped. Though today is the last day you can still join the community on the ‘Sussex Wildlife Trust Nature Table’ page.

Day One Hundred.

Haha. I actually did it! 100 days!

From before the Spring Equinox to past the Summer Solstice. 100 days of the diary, 100 days of wildlife in my garden and 100 days (or 0.55% of my life) confined to my cul-de-sac by a pandemic.

I could keep on writing them, there's certainly something new to write about everyday, but now seems like a good time to end this and move on. I'm also aware that some of you are getting concerned that I'm turning into some sort of weird recluse.

I guess the reason I haven't left the cul-de-sac in all this time is because I really haven't felt I needed to. There's been an entire world for me to discover right here on my doorstep.

For the last few years I've tried to make this small garden as wildlife friendly as possible. And it's an investment which has really paid off for me because the wildlife that lives here has helped me stay sane and focused in a world turned upside-down.

I hope I've highlighted the important role that back gardens can play in helping your local wildlife to survive. Maybe it has inspired some of you to make some wildlife-friendly improvements too, whether that's creating a small pond, making a bee hotel or perhaps considering turfing up your pointless mown lawn and turning it into a wildflower meadow. Let me know!

If I've learnt anything it's been how to appreciate the wildlife I have living around me and the endless fascination, wonder and joy it provides. I guess it's a bit like William Blake said in his poem in Auguries of Innocence

"To see a World in a Grain of Sand / And a Heaven in a Wild Flower"

Speaking of poems, yesterday I received this epic poem from Annabel in Henfield. If you ask me it's much better than anything William Blake ever wrote.

Pome (1)

Pome (2)

Pome (3)

Pome (4)

Right, well it's time for me to go. I've packed my binoculars, a map and few other essentials.  


..and I'm emerging from my bungalow bunker and venturing out into the (almost) post-pandemic world.


We have all had to face new challenges over the past 100 days but the wildlife of Sussex is facing increasing challenges year on year and I fear this situation will only get worse as we all emerge from lockdown into a different era.

Sussex Wildlife Trust acts to protect the wildlife and the natural environment across Sussex and helps people of all ages discover, learn and act for nature

Our work is only made possible through the wonderful support of our members. If you aren't already a member it would be great if you would consider joining us.

You can join Sussex Wildlife Trust here.

Thank you for reading these daily diaries and for all your kind comments. I hope that, in some small way, they've helped you through the last 100 days too.

I'm taking a break for a bit but Sussex Wildlife Trust will be back running guided walks and events in the near future. So we'll meet again soon. 

And, as a lot of you have asked, we'll try and put these diaries out in a book at some point.

Until then I've put together this short film of memories for you. 

I guess in the future when someone asks me 'what did you do in the 'Great Pandemic of 2020' I'll say, "Well, I just stayed at home and I did this.."

The Corona Wildlife Diaries are archived here.


  • christine.d:

    25 Jun 2020 08:50:00

    I am without words, or almost. Thank you for thinking of creating a 100 days diary. Today’s blog is stunning and I am sure will give a lot of people who read the diaries the incentive to look and understand wildlife a little better. I cannot deny I have learnt new things throughout this time. The notes I have made will I hope, enable me to add new information to the catalogue of enviromental facts we have already and continue my involvment back at Woods Mills before too long.
    Just had to mention your blog a few days back. The Buff Tip moth, is my favourite moth, and the photographs you showed are very similar to the ones we show the children. I love that moth!
    Thank you sooooooooo much Michael and hope to see you soon.

  • Gordon:

    25 Jun 2020 08:56:00

    That was amazing, Michael. Thanks for helping me and many others get through these strange times. Stay safe.

  • Susan ( poet laureates sister):

    25 Jun 2020 09:37:00

    Thank you Michael 100 times. Stay safe and don’t forget to pack your sun lotion!

  • Diane henderson:

    25 Jun 2020 09:38:00

    Thank you truly a highlight of my lockdown. Taught me to appreciate the small things in life and learnt a few new songs!!! Thank you again.

  • Vince Massimo:

    25 Jun 2020 09:43:00

    Thank you, Michael for your inspiring and entertaining stories. In the last 100 days I have smiled a lot and cried once, but I have now thrown away that stapler.

  • Charlie:

    25 Jun 2020 09:50:29

    Thank you Michael. When I look back on this time in years to come your daily blog, and the wildlife you so beautifully describe, will frame my memories. Your weekly bird race gave structure to a formless and frightening time.

    Many of us worry about what might happen later in the year, but we’re equipped with more knowledge now. We’re more ready, individually and as a species. Perhaps this foreboding is a feeling with which we’re already familiar. The days are shortening (albeit slowly) and even on a sunlit day like today we know nature’s lockdown (of sorts) will come in time. But we trust in the cycle of things.

    Looking forward to more from you Michael – and we’ll be signing up for a walk round Woodsmill as soon as possible!

    with best wishes Charlie in Ovingdean

  • El:

    25 Jun 2020 09:51:00

    Great stuff mate. I have read / watched all 100 of them and loved them all!

  • Dilys:

    25 Jun 2020 10:38:00

    Bereft….that’s how we feel, I hate good-byes. Many thanks for all your efforts, on so many levels, you made me reflect daily. I’ll buy the book!

  • Rita:

    25 Jun 2020 10:51:00

    Thank you so much. I have enjoyed every one along the way!

  • Sally:

    25 Jun 2020 10:54:00

    I have loved your wildlife diaries, they made me laugh and I learned a lot. You win the internet. I’ll miss it.

  • Linda Medhurst:

    25 Jun 2020 10:56:00

    Beautiful video, I absolutely loved seeing so much of which might soon again disappear. Thankyou.

  • Liz C:

    25 Jun 2020 11:31:00

    Thanks so much Michael, we’ve all learnt so much from your daily blog and had so much enjoyment from the Bird Race. Enjoy your well earned rest.

  • Louise:

    25 Jun 2020 11:36:00

    Thank you Michael. And what a nice poem from Annabel too. Well done to all Bird Racers and keep up the good work for wildlife everywhere.

  • Jan McKinnell:

    25 Jun 2020 11:45:00

    Thank you seems inadequate, Michael, but it has been absolutely fabulous. Well done, enjoy a well deserved rest from the computer and I hope that we’ll soon be able to meet face to face before too long. You are a STAR!


    25 Jun 2020 11:50:00

    Thank you so much, Michael. I do hope your Wildlife Diary is reaching the Sussex Records Office, here in Chichester? They ask for our records of the Lockdown… Please act! (Sorry, don’t know their website, but it’s something obvious….)

  • Alan, Lewes:

    25 Jun 2020 11:50:00

    Thanks, Michael, for entertaining and informing us. You’re a star!

  • 25 Jun 2020 12:00:00

    Congratulations Michael on reaching your century, you certainly deserve a rest. I’ve read every one of your daily diaries. They have been interesting, entertaining and educational and have given me some good laughs. I’ve also really enjoyed the music links – they have brought back lots of memories. Thanks for helping us get through lockdown. I’ll certainly miss my daily dose of Blencowe.

  • Lucy:

    25 Jun 2020 12:59:00

    Safe travels! Beware the Volkswagen Beetle with eight legs 🕷♥

  • hoops:

    25 Jun 2020 13:07:00

    Your diary has been wonderful and has gone beyond educating and entertaining us; it’s been a daily hit of joy.
    It’s been funny and terrifying- the kids hiding behind their hands when waiting to see your spider friend was the most memorable. Well done.
    Btw loved the poem

  • Mary:

    25 Jun 2020 13:09:00

    Thank you isn’t an adequate expression for all that you’ve done for so many of us, but know that it’s really really really been appreciated. :)

  • Linda Sims:

    25 Jun 2020 13:56:00

    Thanks Michael for all the wonderful wildlife diaries! You made me laugh and the animals were very interesting too! Hope to see you in the not too distant future.

  • Ginny-Vic:

    25 Jun 2020 14:02:00

    The whole of my lockdown life just flashed before me! So emotional! I’m going to have a cuppa tea and cherry bakewell to celebrate your fantastic 100 diaries and try and stop crying. If I knew of any wildlife awards, I would defo nominate these diaries for one! I’m so sad they're all over I think I’ll start reading them all again tomorrow! Thank you SO MUCH for all the valuable wildlife learning and musical inspiration. I don’t know anything about wildlife so I have loved finding out about it and taking part in the Bird Race. Annabel is also a really talented poet. I would love to buy a copy of the book! xx P.S please can I have your autograph? – I’ll pay extra!

  • Anne Hart:

    25 Jun 2020 14:33:00

    Thank you Michael for 100 days of smiles! Have learnt so much and look forward to your book.

  • c hydes:

    25 Jun 2020 14:35:00

    Thank you so much Michael for keeping us entertained during the last 100 days. Enjoy your rest and we’ll see you for the next bird race!

  • Brenda:

    25 Jun 2020 14:41:00

    Have so enjoyed and loved your diaries Michael, but then I enjoy all your articles. You kindly write each month for the magazine I edit – true to say it is one of the most popular pieces in the magazine. Hubby and I are members and like many others look forward to getting out and about again as we have also been ‘isolating’. Taking a lead from you we have introduced a wild area in our garden – after initially scarifying and clearing most of the grass, and as you said in your last mag article “plant it and they will come” – and they are coming.

  • Owen Hydes:

    25 Jun 2020 15:08:00

    Can’t wait for the monthly bird race!The weekly races have been very enjoyable and good to see so many people participating. The posts are always interesting. Thank you Michael for organising everything.

  • Julie McNamee:

    25 Jun 2020 15:22:00

    Thanks so much for your daily posts Michael. I still have some to read as I didn’t get a chance to read them every day but I’ll savour every one. I have a small backyard at the minute but will have a garden in the next couple of years that I intend to do up for the wildlife and your blog has been a great inspiration to me. Also thanks for the David Bowie references – you can never have too many of those!

  • Liz Lash:

    25 Jun 2020 15:50:00

    I was late to this but it has been such fun & I’ve learnt so much; thank you Michael for all you’ve shared &, especially, your time. As a new member of the Trust, I look forward to becoming involved.

  • Libby Hartzhorne:

    25 Jun 2020 16:35:00

    I have read and smiled and laughed at and learnt so much from every diary entry. Having to continue to go out to work during this period, reading your entries was a really enjoyable distraction and way to switch off from daily stresses, so also from me…a massive Thankyou! Hope you enjoy some well deserved ME time.

  • Nicola:

    25 Jun 2020 18:42:00

    Thanks so much Michael. If anything positive has come out of this pandemic, it has to be this diary and the joy it has brought to so many people. Every day has taught me something new – the face mites on day 90 were a particular favourite, thanks so much for sharing!

  • Jane Joseph:

    25 Jun 2020 20:24:00

    Michael, you are extraordinary…in every sense of the word! Your blogs have been my constant companion. Witty, fascinating, hilarious, ingenious, resourceful, nostalgic ( especially the music). Your creative writing is brilliant and your photography superb. Whatever shall I do without my daily fix of wildlife on the screen? Luckily, I have oodles of wildlife all around me so I shall just have to continue for myself. Heartfelt thanks for helping me through the last 100 days. Jane

  • Robin Harris:

    25 Jun 2020 20:40:00

    Very, very many thanks, Michael. Surely the book is a must for SWT to publish – it would be a cert to attract new members. Everyone at the Trust must be applauding your efforts during these so difficult times.

  • Henri and Jacky:

    25 Jun 2020 21:42:00

    100 masterpieces of knowledge, creativity and wit. Thankyou for all the joy and inspiration it’s given us in challenging times.

  • Rod:

    26 Jun 2020 00:58:00

    Well done Michael. I can’t believe this is the end; not a dry eye amongst your loyal followers.

  • Sheila Ball:

    26 Jun 2020 11:12:00

    Thank you so very much Michael. It’s been wonderful, inspiring and unforgettable.

  • Gem:

    26 Jun 2020 13:45:00

    Oh Michael, the ending of your video nearly made a hard woman cry! Beautiful. Thank you for sharing all the wildlife knowledge, songs, inspiration and humour over the past 100 days. And most of all, thanks for having a Freddie Mercury poster on your window.

  • Simon:

    27 Jun 2020 09:34:00

    Wonderful, Michael – 100 lessons in communication and wit!

  • Jean (Plymouth):

    27 Jun 2020 11:55:00

    Brilliant, Michael, really enjoyed reading you diary & learnt a few things too!

  • Clare E:

    27 Jun 2020 16:57:00

    Thank you so much for keeping us going for the last 100 days with your brilliant diary and bird race. You have inspired us to investigate the amazing wildlife we have around us and now have some fantastic lockdown memories. We have become members after learning so much from the blogs the trust has put up and look forward to the monthly bird race, although Erin has plans to go out tomorrow morning anyway :) Thanks again and can’t wait for the book!

  • Tom Timberlake:

    28 Jun 2020 21:38:00

    What an amazing legacy this is Michael! You have created something so hilarious, informative and inspiring out of the darkest days of a global pandemic… good on ya! Your humour and good spirits have reached all the way over to New Zealand and made us feel much closer to home, which, believe it or not, has been a great comfort. Enjoy your blogger retirement and keep on doing wonderful things for people and wildlife!

  • Wendy Woo:

    30 Jun 2020 16:56:00

    Absolutely brilliant! Thank you so much for 100 happy reads Michael. I’ve enjoyed every minute. Have a lovely well deserved break.

  • Jane Lawrence:

    30 Jun 2020 21:42:00

    Thank you, Michael, for brightening each of these 100 days with your wit, wonder and wildlife. Thanks also to you, our local wildlife in Staplefield will benefit (is already benefitting) from our new Bee B&B, our newly-planted wildflower meadow that’s now full of the beauty of cornfield annuals in preparation for next year’s perennials, and a lawn that hasn’t been mown all season and is now strewn with Birdsfoot Trefoil and goldfinches on thistles. You lightened the lockdown for all of us.

  • Ruth Stevens:

    01 Jul 2020 11:58:00

    Thanks Michael so much for providing us with a daily tonic to cheer us up during lockdown. I’ve really enjoyed the views of your garden and it has inspired me to do less tidying! The poem really sums it up beautifully and the final video is wonderful. Time to rest and recuperate! Looking forward to seeing you on top form again at SWT.

  • James Brooks-Fisher:

    02 Jul 2020 08:55:00

    Absolutely brilliant! Will have to be essential reading as an important history of the strange times we are enduring.
    Many, many thanks.

  • Richard Lintott:

    03 Jul 2020 09:52:00

    Thank you so much Michael. I have loved every one. It was truly inspirational. So looking forward to the Woods Mill Wanders again.

  • Sian Edwardes-Evans:

    05 Jul 2020 21:44:00

    Thank you for your love of nature, found in an ordinary garden and full of humour. What could be better? My mum has given me the subscription for the Sussex wildlife trust as a 61st birthday present – I have sent some particular episodes of the Coronavirus Diary to a 6 year old who struggles with daily life – he loved the woodpecker poo entry. Thank you for loving nature and having a laugh.

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