It may seem slightly distasteful to seek silver linings from the Covid-19 crisis but a tonic is desperately needed to distract us from rapidly mounting casualty figures and Draconian restrictions.

Silver linings can be found. Drastic reductions in road and air traffic have combined to lower pollution levels so the air we breathe now is at its purest for years. And you can almost hear the sound of silence, as Dylan Thomas once nearly wrote.

It was so quiet, at least before vehicle use began to expand again, that morning birdsong seemed as raucous as it was in the 1950’s.

Wild Things: It's amazing what can be found on your doorstep

When I jump out of bed and open a window birdsong flows into the bedroom. The robin, with its slightly mournful but persistent warble, is soon joined by a blackbird with much louder, fluty notes. My local blackie often throws a Trimfone impression into his morning recital. Many birdsong enthusiasts insist blackbird song even eclipses that of the nightingale.

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Blackbird by Donna Zimmer

Starlings are also impressionists but concentrate mainly on bird subjects among their distinctive clicks, wheezes and whistles. I hear a collared dove’s repeated three note chant with an accent on the middle one. “Two COOOS please” he goes. There’s a woodpigeon in the background giving a longer cooing song often written as “Who cooks for you-oh.”

When I go for a walk a flock of 20-plus house sparrows tunelessly but cheerfully chirp while a dunnock sings his “squeaky wheelbarrow” song from a hedge also containing a tiny wren trilling at amazing volume. A great tit pipes up his “teacher-teacher” song and a blue tit flies to an apple tree, scolding with a hurried trill.

Wild Things: An aural treat to lift your spirits in dark times

As I approach a sweet chestnut tree, larger birds dominate the chorus. Crows caw, magpies ch-chak and ring-necked parakeets screech.

Then a nuthatch chants his high-pitched repeated call sounding a little like Morse code before, from the copse, comes a rich collection of powerful and varied notes reaching a crescendo. It’s an African migrant the blackcap which rivals nightingale and blackbird for the title of our greatest songster.

Yes, perhaps we must just sigh and say to ourselves: Hi-ho, silver linings really do exist.