Fwiw, I actually was never recommending the Tammy 500 to the OP, Although it is the best $400 I ever spent. The OP doesn't need to upgrade their body either, they just need to spend more time learning how to use it. I never recommend upgrades unless you have specific reasons. Sure AF-S lenses are great if you can afford them. When you start getting hooked on birding that is not an option if you are poor.
I didn't mean to imply that you were advocating any lens. And definitely thanks for the photos. All I meant by my comment is that for every cheaper screwdrive lens that one would want for birdwatching, the money saved can go towards the better lens. The Nikon 70-300mm VR is a better optical design than the non-AFS version, for example, and your awesome awesome 70-300mm VC is a superior optical design to the non-USD design. So you aren't just getting an ultrasonic focusing motor, you're also getting worthwhile image quality for your money.
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