Can you believe the texture of these fantastic northern lights shots from Churchill photographer Alex De Vries – Magnifico? Just because aurora borealis season doesn’t technically start until January, that doesn’t mean the lights can’t appear in this dramatic fashion over a rustic cabin in Churchill, Manitoba…as they tend to do. Alex has a knack for finding new and creative settings in and around Churchill where he can capture the essence of this amazing phenomena! We are surely all getting excited about polar bear season which is just around the corner but northern lights season has an allure of its own that is indescribable. Lights can happen year – round in Churchill and the polar regions, however, polar bears can only be seen with assurance in October and November. Luckily polar bears have migrated to the ice by the time travelers arrive for northern lights in January! Both seasons are worth the trip north.
Polar bears feasting on a beluga whale carcass in Churchill. Alex De Vries – Magnifico photo.
This polar bear shot from Churchill photographer Alex De Vries – Magnifico shows how polar bears are evolving in a time when global warming is limiting their ability to hunt seals in the winter season on the Hudson Bay ice. Seals closer to land in summer and beluga whales have become prey when they used to have no fears of being hunted in summer. Evolution at its finest!
Polar bear, two gulls and raven in Churchill. Alex De Vries – Magnifico photo.
Sleepy polar bear on the Precambrian shield. Alex De Vries – Magnifico photo.
Three polar bears feast on a beluga whale carcass in Churchill while gulls await the scraps. Alex De Vries – Magnifico photo.
A curious polar bear surveys the area from behind a rock outcrop. Alex De Vries – Magnifico photo.
A large, healthy polar bear emerges from a nap in the rocks on the Hudson Bay shore. Alex De Vries – Magnifico photo.
August in Churchill can be polar bear sighting time and this year seems to be setting the bar higher than ever. The polar bears photographed by Alex De Vries – Magnifico appear quite healthy and active. In fact, a big bear was spotted in the middle of Churchill just today. It seems that the polar bears are adapting to more ice-free days and finding alternative food sources. As you can see in one photo, a group of three polar bears graze on a beluga whale carcass adding to their fat storage and subsequent energy reserves that will allow them to make it through the fall while they wait for Hudson Bay ice to form. Summer bear sightings have increased almost every year and particularly in August, the buffer time before the Churchill polar bear season starts in October into November. Enjoy!
Polar bear season in officially begins in October though recent Churchill summers have seen increased numbers in polar bear activity…or “inactivity” as polar bears at this time of year are pretty lethargic in nature. This family of three polar bears was spotted by Churchill local photographer and guide Alex De Vries – Magnifico yesterday while fighting off some pesky bulldog flies. These insects last for about two weeks and then are gone. Sometimes they are chased away inexplicably by a thunder storm.
Unofficially these are the first photos of polar bears in the area since last polar bear season in Churchill this past November. These bears are looking very healthy and ready to withstand the summer and early fall prior to the pack ice forming on the Hudson Bay. This is a good sign for the polar bears of the region!