OK, I did it. I ordered a new camera. After my Rebel XSi broke at the shuttle launch, I knew I needed to get something. Something bigger, better and in my hands. Fixing my camera is going to cost a few hundred dollars, but more urgently, it's going to take six weeks or so. With the holidays well inside that six week window, I couldn't wait. So I ordered a brand spanking new Canon 7D. This is the top of the line crop sensor camera from Canon, and they don't come much better than this. I just got in via UPS on Wednesday, and today was my first chance to take it outside and put it through it's paces. I have to carry the instruction manual around with it, because I don't know how to do many of the things I want to do yet, and with so many buttons, wheels and even a little joystick, it's hard to find things at a glance. I've still got my rented 100-400mm lens from the shuttle launch, and combined with this 18 megapixel sensor, I got some great picture of small birds from far away. You've seen the old tree behind my parent's house many times before, and I've probably brought you pictures of this very same kestrel before, but never this clear. I've cropped all of these picture down to almost 1:1, so click on them and see just how well this camera/lens combination works.
That old tree is home to not only the kestrel at top, but also this woodpecker and an occasional buzzard.
I didn't catch this hawk actually in the tree, but he did fly past in a big hurry. I managed to get this and one other shot of him in the air before he hid in the non-dead trees.