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Leaders

Mark Finn lives on the Black Isle in Scotland and is the principal leader of Birdwatching Breaks having formed the company in May 1987. In 2005, Mark set up Black Isle Birding for tours based in Scotland. Mark originally trained in hotel management and catering before pursuing careers in the Merchant Navy, industrial catering and, finally, as a sales representative. He has travelled widely in search of birds both whilst leading trips and on reconnaissance trips for future tours. His travels have taken him to a wide variety of destinations around the world. Mark is also a member of the Scottish Ornithologists Club. In between leading tours, Mark deals with the administration work of Birdwatching Breaks. He has a keen interest in sport, particularly cricket and soccer, and enjoys wine and good food.

Igor Fefelov lives in Irkutsk, Siberia. Igor is a skilled bird guide and naturalist having written several papers on waders and swifts which occur around Lake Baikal. Igor has an interest in anything concerning the natural world. His ability, professionalism and personality are second to none making him an ideal guide for Birdwatching Breaks in this huge area of Russia.

Assen Ignatov is one of the most experienced birdwatching and wildlife guides in Bulgaria. He has an MSc in biology from the University of Sofia and now he works in National Natural History Museum Assen. He is also an excellent wildlife artist with many paintings and drawings in numerous books, calendars and others. He leads birdwatching, wildlife, butterflies and photography tours.

Mike Jarvis lives in Darwin, Australia and operates his own birding company. He has been a nature enthusiast from his earliest memory and has lived in Perth, Geraldton and Carnarvon on the west coast. Mike and his wife Jenny are Wildcare volunteers and care for injured and orphaned wildlife, mainly birds and reptiles. With decades of research, observation and wildlife experiences behind him, he enjoys the privilege of sharing this with others by leading tours to wild places in Darwin and the Top End.

Harriet Kemishiga lives in Kampala, Uganda. Harriet is Uganda’s only female bird guide and one of the directors of Harrier Tours. Her passion for wildlife and birds started when she was a little girl growing up with her grandfather at the edge of Kibale National Park.  Harriet has successfully guided many birding trips in Uganda and Rwanda since 2003. She has also worked for the avian vocalisation centre recording sounds of rare species that have not been recorded to science. Harriet is probably one of the best birding guides within Africa today with an incredible knowledge of birds and sounds within her native Uganda.

Anders Faugstad Mæland lives in central Norway and has been a birder from a young age. Anders has established himself as a professional guide in Norway and taken part in a wide variety of ornithological surveys and biodiversity projects. He was the main ringer and migration counter at Jomfruland bird observatory from 1997-2011 before setting up Norwegian Birding. Anders has an intimate knowledge of his native Norway and its abundant wildlife especially the far north of the country.

Simon MacLaughlin lives near Inverness in the Scottish Highlands and is currently a warden for the RSPB. Simon has worked in conservation for many years and has a vast knowledge of forestry and the wildlife than occurs within it. Simon has a good knowledge of birds and is exceptionally good with people and his enthusiasm and passion for wildlife. He is a welcome addition to the Birdwatching Breaks team.

Ass Ndiaye lives in Dakar, Senegal. Ass has worked with Birdwatching Breaks since we initiated tours to Senegal in the mid-1990s. Ass is a skilled birder with a happy knack of locating unusual birds. He has a particularly good eye for raptors and owls. Ass lives with his wife and young son and is an avid follower of football, particularly the English Premier League.

Simon Papps lives in Waltham Abbey, Essex. Simon is a vastly experienced birder having travelled to a wide range of countries in pursuit of birds. He was formerly the sub-editor at Birdwatch Magazine, the highly respected monthly publication for birders. Currently, Simon works as the Commissioning Editor for Natural History Books at New Holland Publishers based in London. Away from birding, Simon enjoys all sports, but particularly football.

Jane Stylianou lives in Nicosia, Cyprus. Jane has  been interested in birds since the age of five and has continued birdwatching since moving to Cyprus in 1985. She has worked as a Development Officer for BirdLife Cyprus for over four years and is currently carrying out field work and doing conservation-based projects on a freelance basis. Together with another local birder, Jane operates Cyprus Birding Tours. 

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