Churchill sort of slows down this time of year with activity and news. Wildlife sightings diminish as well..save for some searching around for the eight bird species that over-Winter in the region. An occasional arctic or red fox appear from the windswept snow carving grooves into the frozen snow banks. Polar bears, sometimes just a short distance from land out on the Hudson Bay, become invisible with all the whiteness of the ice pack and the incessant blowing ice crystals. Sled dogs loose from their chains roam around tundra hummocks on the outskirts of town and would be mistaken for polar bears by novice visitors if this were October or November. All in all, the land becomes frozen in time and the town is not far behind. In a couple of more weeks life will start to creep back in somewhat as Gypsy’s Bakery will reopen its’ doors and locals will gather at the large table near the coffee machine to talk.
March is the beginning of the weather ” break-up” and talk of the river ice “break -up” will naturally work itself into conversation. The cold will slowly ease its’ grip on the region and ice will break free from the land and in the river. An occasional sow polar bear with cub(s) in tow will emerge from a den in Wapusk National Parc and venture out to the pack ice in the Hudson Bay. Daily events start to point toward the blooming of Spring and any early signs only escalate the anticipation. Soon enough the beluga whales will be heading up river to Mosquito Point and various gulls and terns will be airborne looking for capelin brought to the surface by those same feeding whales. Wildflowers….uh wait a minute..now I’m going to far…getting ahead of ourselves a little..save that for late march/early April. Winter won’t let go that easily.
So..in anticipation of the Spring though still not too far away from last polar bear season here are some of the best shots of that memorable season. Many of these shots will be archived on display in the new website featuring polar bear photography coming soon! Keep an eye out.