We booked a full day with Nigel and although the weather was against us on the day we had a great day with Nigel. We were collected from our B&B and Nigel drove us to many locations on the island. In between the showers some good photos were taken. Nigel provided a substantial lunch and the minibus was comfortable and spotless. Nigel was a great guide, with great knowledge and passion for the wildlife on the Island. We will definitely be booking with him again next year.
Posted by Sharon and John
This was our second 4 day stay with Nigel and Fiona, and won't be our last.
Nigel's knowledge of the island is amazing, I think he has all the wildlife micro chipped, as he knows exactly where to find them. We really know that this is due to him spending all his spare time ensuring he knows where the best places to spot the wildlife are.
The accommodation, food and hospitality are excellent, and nothing is to much trouble. There is also a hide in the garden that has a view of a White-Tailed Eagles nest, where you can sit early morning, or into the evening, weather permitting.
As Nigel normally only takes 6 people on these breaks, there is plenty of room on the mini bus. So every one can have a clear view no matter which side you are on.
On each visit we have seen exactly what we hoped to see. This time we hoped to see Corncrake, which we saw within 5 mins of landing on Iona, The rtip to Staffa to see the Puffins was great, with the added bonus of the Great Skuas.
Nigel really tries to maximise your chances of seeing as much as possible, and over the 4 days we saw 88 species of birds, including White-Tailed and Golden eagles, Short Eared Owls and Hen Harriers , also otters, deer and seals.
To get and idea of what you could see, you can read Nigel's weekly blog on the website.
Posted by Lynne H
Years ago we booked a tour with Richard and had a great time, so automatically tried to contact him again, for our proposed Mull visit. As it turned out, Nigel Shannon and his wife Fiona had bought the Mull Wildlife Tours from Richard and now seem to be trading as 'Island Encounters'.
We were delighted to find we could stay at their homestead as an all inclusive package, so booked it for 4 nights.
He met us off the ferry, along with 6 other folk and after a tour around, took us back to his home at Bunessan, in a lovely, remote area at the far south west of Mull. I had no idea what to expect accommodation wise, so was amazed to find a large, beautiful home that they had built themselves, incorporating the original stone from the derelict croft that was originally on the land. It reminded us of the homesteads we had seen in the Falkland Islands. Our on suite room was very attractive and comfortable.
They are still working on the garden, although the 2 deer we spotted early one morning, grazing on one of Fiona's little flowering shrubs, are making it quite a challenge. They love their birds and the feeders attract them in. They have a hide in the garden and this allowed distant views of a White Tailed Eagle one evening. We even had great views of a Cockoo a couple of times, in their garden.
Fiona is a great cook and we certainly enjoyed our meals.
The weather was very poor a couple of days, but that didn't stop Nigel finding us every thing we were hoping to see. Including Eagles, otters, seals and many raptors. He knows every inch of the Island and where the critters are likely to be.
When we went to Iona, Nigel knew where the Corncrakes were likely to be and sure enough we first heard and then found one, within about 20 minutes of landing.
We had a great boat trip to Staffa, for Fingal's Cave and saw a raft of Puffins on the sea. I don't think they had actually started nesting that week.
We had a great 4 days. If we go to Mull again we will certainly book with Nigel at Island Encounters.
We decided to take a four day break with Island Encounters in Mull, as I had wanted for a long time to see otters in the wild and I knew that the chances of seeing eagles and other birds of prey was high. We were not disappointed! Nigel (who has taken over from Richard) and Fiona, were the perfect hosts. The holiday is now centred in Bunessan. The food was excellent (Fiona takes care to find out about her guests' food preferences), the rooms were beautiful and Nigel was happy to adapt his programme to accommodate the wishes of his guests, as well as full of ideas as to what to see and where. He is exceptionally knowledgeable about all aspects of Mull and wildlife, balanced by a sense of fun and an interest in the world in general.
The first full day was sunny if cold, and we were able to see seals, otters in the distance, wild goats, golden eagles, white tailed eagles and hen harriers. A lovely lunch was provided as a picnic. In the next two days, rain and low cloud prevented us from going to Iona, as planned, but we were able to see an otter close to and over the holiday 66 species of birds. Nigel adapted his plan on the bleakest day by taking us to see a local art gallery and Toblemory, in addition to wild life spotting. Nothing was too much trouble. We will be back.