It was heavy overcast and I wanted to see just how well the Nikon D200 did at higher ISO numbers. I didn't expect to get lucky and have this female Northern Harrier sit still for me; and, no, I didn't get THAT close. This is one of the few raptors that the female and male have distinctly different colors.
This is at ISO 800 with a Nikon 300mm F4 EDIF at F5.6. Shutter speed was 1/160. That's an odd number because I usually shoot in Aperture priority and let the camera figure the shutter speed.
Turned out better than I expected but I wouldn't go any higher than ISO 800. I have another shot of this bird at ISO 400 and there is no quality difference.
By the way, all of this is hand held, or in this case, resting on a towel draped over my truck window. Back in the film days I never shot anything without a tripod. What I have learned is that you miss a lot of pictures when you are tethered to something like a tripod or monopod. Not saying there isn't a time to use one, just try not to think it is indispensable.