Winter has settled in to a more predictable pattern in Churchill these days with temperatures consistently in the -25C range. Snow has been falling for the last day or so though the outlook for the rest of the week is clear and cold. Ice coverage in the Hudson Bay is catching up quickly to the mean for this time of year and polar bears are surely happy with that fact. Occasional spectacular Aurora Borealis (Northern lights) displays have been making their appearance…as the “high” season for viewing this amazing phenomena, approaches. Soon brave travelers from across the world will be coming to Churchill in February to take it all in. I’ll keep you updated on the action in the sky as well as daytime activities on the snowy tundra.
Continuing with our recap of this past polar bear season in photo’s, here are a few more images to remember it by. These were some beautiful shots captured by people close to the bears. They tell the story of some trends we saw throughout a weird, unique season.
In a season when ice coverage in the bay was at least two weeks behind the norm in the month of November, numerous seal kills were documented with polar bears feeding on the carcasses. For some bears this pre-season sustenance can be the bridge to survival. Are the bears adjusting to shorter ice seasons with keener hunting techniques or are more seals being pushed on land due to the lack of early ice formation?
Sparring was a featured occurrence for travelers virtually every day once the season was in full gear. Male bears were overall regarded in healthy shape and willing to exert their precious energy while waiting on the tardy ice to form. Even females were observed roughing it up as agitation in a crowded Churchill Wildlife Management Area escalated.
More sows with cub(s) were reported than in past years. Not sure if this signifies anything or not but it did make for a widely diverse behavioral stage on the tundra. There was also more aggressive action by male bears toward the mom’s with cubs….only natural.