That was until disaster struck - I was scanning for more Grebes with my bins when I heard a sickening crunch behind me and when I turned around I saw that my tripod had fallen over and with it my D500 camera and my newish 500mm lens. I don't know exactly what happened, I might have touched it with my big camera bag, or the ground might just have been a bit more uneven than it seemed. Whatever the case, it was lying on the gravel path and my heart was pounding.
At first I thought it had survived as this is top of the range professional Nikon gear, but when I picked up the lens I found that it had completely snapped in two and the camera was also dented. And to make matters worse, I still had a mile or so to walk to get back to the car.
I haven't been able to bring myself to look at the lens damage poperly yet, but I know it will be a very, very expensive repair. I'm just hoping that I'll be able to claim it on my house insurance as I specified it for accidental damage. There'll still be a £350 excess but I'll be happy to settle for that under the circumstances.
So at the moment I'm just consoling myself with some of the photos I took like these, before I go out and do some gardening to take my mind off the whole sorry incident.