The beluga whales, by the thousands, are very active thesee days as they move in and out of the Churchill river. As the Summer “heat” (insert Arctic weather joke here) begins to wane somewhat…today’s temperature is around 14C…down a bit from earlier in the month. Personally, I feel this time of year is unmatched as far as all you can take in nature-wise. The cool, crisp air, ideal for all the trekking and whale viewing excursions, is a blend between the early Summer warmer days and the colder Fall days just around the bend. Wildflowers are hanging tough…especially the fireweed, and birds still in the area are feeling the slight urgency to journey South.
Natural Habitat Guide Sue Zajac, in town with a group of travelers, reports sadly that a third polar bear was shot after possibly breaking through a trailer house on the edge of town. That same bear may have been responsible for another foray into a Manitoba housing unit on the east side of town. This is the third fatal shooting of a polar bear this Summer as the aggressive behavior continues…most likely due to a shorter ice season in the hudson Bay. Expect more seal-kills this Fall by hungry polar bears.
The group of travelers had some spectacular beluga viewing trips out on the water, albeit hindered a bit by some pesky black flies. Then on a rover trip to the tundra for a barbeque lunch they followed a wandering polar bear out on the tidal flats in the Churchill Wildlife Management Area. Always an awesome sight to see these bruins near the water with no snow around yet.
Sue also noted that her travelers had some good looks at red foxes that had moved back into a previously vacant den down by the orange, suunburst lichen-splattered rocks on the dirt road leading to Mike Macri’s boat docks. Arctic terns are starting to make their incredibly long journey South to the pole area as they take in their last feedings of capelin that escape the beluga’s mouths. Canada geese are also nearing their departure South just as soon as their flight feathers develop a bit more. Seems like all the species beach vacations are close to an end.
All in all the signs of Fall are creeping in and soon the the tundra will take on its’ vibrant Autumn colors. Within a short time the hustle and bustle of polar bear season will be upon us…another year in the sub -arctic ..season by season.