Hi, ditto regarding the caps. That aside, do yourself a big favor and buy the best once and then forget about it. I've gone through 4 tripods before getting my Gitzo 3 series. I have a Gitzo GT3830 made of basalt fiber (strong like carbon, slightly heavier, but much cheaper). This is $503 at BH today. Next up, a ball head. I use a Really Right Stuff BH55 with pro clamp (knob). They have a quick lever clamp for a little more $. This is $415 directly from RRS. It is rated for 50 lbs capacity and probably could hold more. If you are going to be tracking birds in flight, you will want a sidekick. Wimberly and Induro make them. I think these are pretty even, but know that for the Wimberly, you will need to purchase a separate adapter plate for it to fit into the BH55.
This setup is just of $1k, but feel it worth it. Get something like this and I doubt you'll ever need another tripod, unless you want a much lighter one for travel. but I find that if my travels will restrict me from taking my 3 series gitzo, then I probably should not take any tripod ( i.e. Disney World trip). Anyway...best of luck.