Taking Lilly for her walk this morning across the back fields on another perfect cloudless early spring day, I noticed that there were a lack of small birds tweeting in the trees and bushes. The reason soon became clear. High above the fields a couple of common buzzards were soaring on the thermals with lazy flaps of their wings, calling occasionally. I stopped to watch them. Lilly's ball lay a few yards away, unpicked up and unthrown. I have noticed more and more buzzards in recent years, not only here in the Peak District but across the country generally. This is a healthy sign of a robust ecosystem. Buzzards are at the top of the food chain and would be the first to suffer decline when things get tough. They are magnificent birds. Their flight is effortless and their eyesight outstanding. The pair I watched drifted away down towards Woo dale. One of them suddenly swooped ground wards and landed in a field. It obviously had picked out some prey. It stayed on the ground for a few seconds, before with a few flaps of its wings pulled itself and its prey into the sky and resumed its flight to join its mate. Of course I hadn't brought any binoculars, so it wasn't long before it was hard to see them in the clear blue sky. By now, Lilly was growing impatient with me. Adopting the classic Collie position she stared at me and then at the ball that was some yards away. "Come on stop wasting time with those birds and throw the ball for me" her eyes told me. So with a final glance towards the buzzards, I strolled over to the ball. I sensed Lilly tense. Normal service was about to be resumed.