Live from Churchill: October 31, 2009

A daily field report on polar bears from our guide Steve Selden in our Churchill, Manitoba office! Check out our polar bear tours here.

The final day of October saw temps around 20F as snow continued to fall and blanket the tundra. Persistent winds finally calmed in the later afternoon while the sky brightened above the thick cloud cover. The bright glow of the sun was seen across the Churchill River and the temperature fell even more. (more…)

Live from Churchill: October 30,2009

A daily field report on polar bears from our guide Steve Selden in our Churchill, Manitoba office! Check out our polar bear tours here.

Aggressive polar bears are part of the Churchill experience.

Aggressive polar bears are part of the Churchill experience.

Winter arrived in Churchill on fierce winds whipping across the Hudson Bay from the North. By mid afternoon a noticeable change in the temperature (25F) and snow flurries coming sideways was a sure sign of the changing season. This time it’s the real thing.

The day began with a “bang”…literally. Guide Jared radioed in from Northern nights Lodge requesting the office to call Bear Alert. As Conservation officers arrived, both Jared’s and Guide Eric’s folks were there. One officer quickly pulled out his shotgun and blasted off about 20 rounds of cracker shells in the direction of the massive 800 lb bear that was concealed somewhat in the willows just 200 feet away from the hotel. (more…)

Live From Churchill: October 29, 2009

A daily field report on polar bears from our guide Steve Selden in our Churchill, Manitoba office! Check out our polar bear tours here.

PB16dmintyTraffic reports from the tundra and the Churchill Wildlife Management Area (CWMA) reported free and easy polar bear movement on the coastal road yet heavy congestion on the inland road to Gordon Point. Guide Eric reports a mother and two cubs situated smack in the middle of the trail while his rover maneuvered for position to view the spectacle. As the morning progressed, about eight other bears came and went, much to the contentment of all onlookers. At one point, curious cubs visited rovers one by one. Due to temps once again around 31°F, the bear movement was slower than normal and momma decided to have a little fun with our travelers. This is one traffic jam nobody complained about, however. As Guides Brent, Sue and Eric camped out in their rovers and enjoyed lunch, momma and cubs were happy to pose for photos. Film at eleven.

Guide Jared and group were away from the others out on the coast and thoroughly enjoyed watching a big 700-pound male polar bear splash around in the water. Two Arctic Fox meandered by during the afternoon as well. Snow buntings here and there also caught the attention of the group.

Back in town, cracker shells once again rang out sporadically in the snow and fog while Conservation trucks buzzed around the streets. Bears are very healthy this year but that hasn’t kept them from coming into town. Curiosity and aromas lure the animals into town and Bear patrol (675-BEAR) works tirelessly to keep them out. Incredible controlled chaos in the north.

Live From Churchill: October 28, 2009

A daily field report on polar bears from our guide Steve Selden in our Churchill, Manitoba office! Check out our polar bear tours here.

More of the same, weather-wise…temps around 32°F with scattered flurries. Cloudy skies lightened later in the day, then finally gave way to dense thick fog that smothered the Churchill area. The gradual warming trend has led to some melting of the ice over the scattered ponds allowing for moisture levels in the air to rise. Fortunately, before the precipitation came, all the travelers were safely settled in their dinner venues enjoying Churchill’s fine northern cuisine.

Curious creature!

Curious creature!

News from the tundra in the Churchill Wildlife Management Area (CWMA) focuses on the mothers and cubs that are showing up on the land. Guides Scott and Karen with their respective groups remained stationary in their polar rovers out just past the lodge on the trail to Gordon point. Guide Karen reports watching a mom and two two-year old cubs, one male and one female, resting peacefully near their rover while intermittent nursing occurred. When a lone male bear appeared, mom became nervous and the cubs stood up to see him. The family proceeded, led by mom, to run across the track in front of the rover then back to the rear of the vehicle and off onto an icy pond. The male subsequently remained in the area and then stood up against the rover’s wheel and peered inside. Mmmmm, Nanaimo bars! On the way back to launch, Scott’s folks spotted a Lemming and a beautiful Snowy Owl hot on the trail. (more…)

Live From Churchill: October 27, 2009

A daily field report on polar bears from our guide Steve Selden in our Churchill, Manitoba office! Check out our polar bear tours here.

Warmer temperatures prevailed as the mercury settled around 31°F for the day. Low clouds and fog canceled our helicopter excursions, so many visitors elected to go dog-sledding, whipping through the willows by the ponds just outside of town. Though on wheels, the custom-made carts provide an excellent way for travelers to experience northern dog teams hard at work. And until we switch over to sleds following a heavy snowfall, the ride tends to be slightly more on the “Ruff” side. Sorry.

Photo: Colin McNulty

Photo: Colin McNulty

The big news from the tundra and the Churchill Wildlife Management Area (CWMA) was the initial spottings of mother and cub polar bears out around the Tundra Lodge. First reports came in from Lodge Guides Rinie and Leah themselves as they reported one mom with a yearling and another with a cub of the year or “coy” as they are known. This captured full attention of all lodge guests as the cameras buzzed throughout the afternoon. “Rocky,” the big 900-pound male, seemingly welcomed the respite from the attention as he snoozed unconcerned by the willows to the west. (more…)

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