How do you have your Canon S1 IS set up?
Here's what I've been doing lately. I set the Custom setting (C) for 10x optical zoom (no digital zoom), manual focus set to infinity, Auto ISO setting. This seems to be the best setting for the occasional faraway bird on the wing. When I turn the camera on it instantly zooms out and is ready to go.
I have the shortcut key (the S button) set to adjust the ISO because on bright sunny days, ISO 50 should give the best quality and I don't want to take the time to wade through a menu. On cloudy days or dark conditions, AUTO probably is best and I can quickly change to that.
I've also been keeping the Manual (M) setting for about 1/200 and about f/5.6, and then manual focus out to infinity for the purpose of taking handheld moon shots at the 10x zoom setting. It's been working very well.
I'd be interested in what others have been doing with these settings.