I've gone afield a few times in the past weeks but always came back empty handed. June seems to be a dead month for feathered creatures.
Not being able to go on a productive sortie, I keep my reflexes keen (and the electro-mechs of my gear in top shape) by shooting hand held macros. The 1D4's clean high ISOs make possible faster shutter speeds and smallish apertures (for deeper DOF) without flash.
1D4 + 100 2.8 USM macro, f/8, 1/320 sec, ISO 3200, hand held, manual exposure in available light, heavily cropped/NR'ed/processed/resized to 1200x800
1D4 + 100 2.8 USM macro, f/7.1, 1/320 sec, ISO 3200, hand held, manual exposure in available light, heavily cropped/NR'ed/processed/resized to 1200x800
fantastic indeed! I want to try out this macro thing too but the bar has been set so high!
Edu, macro shots are a good way to practice shake control, DOF placement and composition. The same principles and approaches used in birding applies.
If you don't have a macro lens yet, get some cheap extension tubes. This will allow your short lenses (20-100 mm zooms or primes) to shoot very close and get good magnification. Here's a local source of cheap extension tubes.