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As others have said, it really depends on what you do.
Ground rule is heavier the base, the better the support. but of course, that is confounded by the weight you have to carry. So a lot of people get light weight, high quality carbon fiber tripods, with hooks on the bottom of the center column, so they can hang a weight (usually your camera bag) on the bottom, so you have the weight, but don't have to carry it all on the tripod itself.
I'd go with a Gitzo 2-series at the minimum, or a 3-series if you use bigger lenses. RRS equivalent are the TV-23 or TV-33.
CF is a good way to go, especially with the high frequency vibration dampening effect CF has. Personally, I like and own Gitzo tripods... but RRS ones look REALLY nice as well (wish I had the budget and justification to buy one!)
The tripod head depends heavily on what you do. In general, ballheads are very very versatile. But if you primarily shoot landscapes only, then a 3-way pan-head may be better to get fine control one axis at a time. If you want to get a ballhead, I am 110% invested in my RRS BH-55. It's the best head I've ever had/used. And their quick release system is nice as well.
I do have an Acratech, and it's fantastic for a light weight setup if you're hiking or traveling with your gear. It's no competition against the BH-55, but it's competent, and half the weight (.45kg vs .86kg).
If you said you're thinking about birding in the future, I'd go to RRS's site, and order from their Full-size packages (TV-33 or TV-34 series). Birding can get you into pretty big glass, and you're always better off a little more support than not enough. And once you buy a high quality tripod, it'll serve you well for a LOOOOONG time (hence I have no justification to buy an RRS now :-P )
If I were just starting out now, and had a good budget, and know what I know now (and have a D800), I'd go for the TV34L with BH-55LR package from RRS, and maybe even add a Pano-Gimbal setup as well. And maybe a smaller one for traveling.