Natural Habitat Adventures guide Drew Hamilton has documented some pretty cool polar bear interaction out at the Tundra Lodge in the Churchill Wildlife Management Area. The photos below show a small curious polar bear checking out the end of the Tundra lodge and then a larger male bear moving in and pushing the smaller polar bear off to the willows. The small bear then finally settled into a nice spot to chill and sleep. A very interesting interaction not witnessed very often. ” It was fascinating watching the larger bear assert his higher rank as he pushed on the younger bear to make sure the interloper knew who is the boss.” ,observed Drew. Just another awesome northern experience for travelers out on the tundra.
Juvenile polar bear inspects the Tundra lodge. Drew Hamilton photo.
Juvenile nervous about large male moving in. Drew Hamilton photo.
Large male polar bear arrives on scene. Drew Hamilton photo.
Large male bear chasing off small bear into the willows. Drew Hamilton photo.
Small polar bear glancing back towards Tundra lodge at large male. Drew Hamilton photo.
Small polar bear looking cautiously from the willows at the large male polar bear. Drew Hamilton photo.
Juvenile polar bear finally over the stress…no worries. Drew Hamilton photo.
With so much happening in Churchill we are posting more amazing photos that Natural Habitat Adventures guides have submitted from some pretty spectacular trips! Aggressive polar bear sparring seems to be the theme thus far as the 2015 polar bear season settles in. Aurora borealis has also been more visible in the northern sky in vivid reds and greens. A recent Tundra Lodge group viewed shimmering ribbons across the ink black sky deep in the CWMA. Last week my son and I experienced the northern lights with a few Natural Habitat groups by the inukshuk behind the town complex. My son’s eyes lit up with wonder as he viewed them over the placid and glimmering Hudson Bay. Priceless memories for sure.
Natural Habitat travelers on the tundra lodge under amazing northern lights. Drew Hamilton photo.
The tundra lodge has enjoyed abundant bear population from the start of the season. Sparring in and out of the willows surrounding the lodge has kept travelers in awe throughout the day. This will be hard to sustain though some new exciting phenomena out in the Churchill Wildlife Management Area (CWMA) will surely arise. Every year a new and interesting behavior emerges from the polar bear population in Churchill. A cycle of other species seems to revolve from year to year as well. This season numerous snowy owls have been sighted all over the area. Last season red foxes were all over the tundra and the previous year the Arctic fox population was prolific.Every year is a new adventure!
Polar bears engaging in mock fighting on the tundra in Churchill. Drew Hamilton photo.
Snowy owls have been prolific this polar bear season. Colby Brokvist photo.
Polar bears engaged in some pre sparring jawing. Drew Hamilton photo.
Polar bear season in Churchill is now in full swing as the colder temperatures are more prevalent around the region.Tundra ponds or thermokarsts are all frozen in the Churchill Wildlife Management Area and the polar bears are active with massive sparring bouts thrilling travelers. The Churchill River is also almost frozen after initially forming around the spit of Cape Merry.Some pack ice is also beginning to form in the Hudson Bay which is about a week early by some accounts.
Natural Habitat Adventures guides are having success at locating polar bears near the Tundra Lodge where sparring has been a daily attraction. Guide Justin Gibson commented, “there were more bears than I have ever seen at the lodge this early in the season”, sparring non – stop. Bear viewing in general has been “awesome” according to Justin.With more and more polar bears arriving to the area each day it will only get better!
Enjoy these fresh photos from Churchill by Justin!
Poalr bear afraid to look at all the polar rovers. Justin Gibson photo.
Sparring polar bears near the tundra lodge in the Churchill Wildlife Management Area. Justin Gibson photo.
Natural Habitat Adventures Tundra Lodge group posing in front of inukshuk by the Hudson Bay. Justin Gibson photo.
Manitoba Conservation netting a few polar bears for a lift. Justin GIbson photo.
Polar bear lift in Churchill. Justin Gibson photo.
Polar bear lift just about to leave the ground in Churchill. Justin Gibson photo.
Another great first day for a Natural Habitat Adventures group of travelers lead by guide Drew Hamilton. While heading out to the Churchill Wildlife Management Area they stopped to admire a rough legged hawk when a guest called out from the back of the polar rover “what’s that running across the ice?” An Arctic fox was bounding along the tundra and the group was ecstatic to catch what seems to be a rare sighting this season so far.
This incident was a clear reminder that when searching out wildlife always remember to look behind you as never know what you might miss out on the land.
Polar bears sparring in the CWMA. Drew Hamilton photo.
When their polar rover neared the Tundra lodge, bear activity was already heating up. Large males polar bears were sparring in the willows just off the trail. When there was a break in the action and the males retreated into the willows to cool off, a female polar bear sneaked onto the scene to check out the rover. She seemed a bit nervous due to the presence of all the other bears around and soon departed when the sparring started back up. Quite the action packed scenes amid some drama out on the tundra!
Snowy owl on a rock in the Churchill wildlife Management Area. Drew Hamilton photo.
On the way back to town the travelers were treated to a snowy owl viewing just off the road. A little icing on a fantastic day of wildlife viewing.
Northern lights over the Hudson bay and Churchill inukshuk. Drew Hamilton photo.
In the evening the group had enjoyed a talk by Duane at Parks Canada learning about Pre-dorset art. Leaving the Parks Canada office Drew suggested swinging by the inukshuk at the rear of the town complex to check for northern lights and there they were in all their glory. Travelers spent an hour watching and photographing the aurora capping off an incredible Churchill day.
Natural Habitat Adventures group with the northern lights blazing in the sky. Drew Hamilton photo.