A polar bear tests the ice along the Hudson Bay. Colby Brokvist photo.
Polar bear sensing the air in the Churchill Wildlife Management Area. Colby Brokvist photo.
Fantastic red fox close up in Churchill. Colby Brokvist photo.
Polar bears roaming the tundra in Churchill. Colby Brokvist photo.
The tundra in the Churchill Wildlife Management Area is alive and bustling with Arctic wildlife. Polar bears, Red and Arctic foxes, as well as Ptarmigan, are being spotted throughout the region. With the polar bear season in full gear, the images are coming fast and furious. This polar bear season has about two weeks to go and the scene is set for incredible culmination out on the snow-covered tundra of the Churchill Wildlife Management Area. Keep watching for more news and images from the north!
Polar bear mom and cubs on the tundra. Jason Luoma photo.
Polar bear taking a look into the polar rover. Kry Walczak photo.
Two sparring male polar bears near the tundra lodge in Churchill Wildlife Management Area. Jason Luoma photo.
With snow already covering the tundra in the Churchill Wildlife Management Area, polar bears have become more active and are up and about sparring and moving along the coastal region near the Tundra Lodge. Numbers of bears being spotted by Natural Habitat Adventures groups are close to 15 or more.
Here are two Natural Habitat Adventure guide reports from the past week in Churchill:
“Wildlife is OFF THE CHARTS. A true banner week for this early in the season. We had three diverse weather days and incredible wildlife sightings, including: eight polar bears with close encounters, Arctic fox, red fox (silver morph),gyrfalcon, harbor seal, snow bunting, snowy owl, semi-palmated plovers, semi-palmated sandpipers, glaucous gulls, herring gulls, willow ptarmigan, common raven and common eider!!”
This pair of Arctic foxes were caught rumbling around in the willows atop the snow covered tundra by Natural Habitat Adventures guide Colby Brokvist with his group travelers. Churchill endured an early winter blizzard this past week and the land has a nice white blanket for animals to hide in. These foxes are somewhat hard to make out as they playfully spar and spring away from each other. Another unexpected Churchill wildlife treasure we have not seen in a long time. Polar bears are also amassing in good numbers for this time of year and with the snow we should see some sparring action like that of the foxes soon. Enjoy!
We’ve posted other videos of Arctic foxes hunting lemmings in the snow – covered tundra and they all are fantastic. This video is a bit humorous as well as a pretty cool synopsis of the technique needed to hone in on the furry little mammals, usually lemmings, beneath the snow. We never get tired of watching these hunting sequences in Churchill! Enjoy!
In late fall, pre – winter, colors of the tundra and the species that roam the land come to a crossroads of earth tones. This pallet gradually transitions into a great white north we all think of when envisioning the forthcoming and exciting polar bear season. This time is short though one of the most beautiful in the Arctic and surrounding regions.
Multi colored red fox with the colors of the textured tundra behind. Katie deMeulles photo.
Each year during polar bear season in Churchill either red or Arctic foxes tend to be the more prevalent species for that particular season. In recent years there has been an influx of red foxes that have seemingly displaced the gorgeous, white coated Arctic fox population to some extent. Hunting, legal and illegal, has also played a role in lowering the Arctic fox numbers. Warming temperatures facilitate the red fox species to become more adaptive to the northern weather and even ice conditions in winter. The patchwork colors of the red fox in particular meld with the myriad of tundra color splashes.
The colors of the tundra deep into fall in Churchill. Ed Bouvier photo.
Early season photo of a sleepy polar bear. Paul Brown photo.
While snow is imminent in the Churchill region, polar bears will take this time to conserve energy by limiting movement as much as possible. Sleeping bears will soon be wandering restlessly as the snow falls and temperatures drop to freezing or lower by month’s end. Polar bears gazing toward the Hudson Bay in anticipation of a freeze over will become the norm as November marches on.
Lichen growing on rocks in Churchill. Steve Selden photo.
Silver fox scouring tundra for lemmings. Colby Brokvist photo.
The tundra will release the last fruits of its bounty to the scouring animals looking to nurture their bodies with berries, plants or lemmings before the winter hits hard. Changing appearances in foxes, hares and birds foretell the new season that will become a energetic forum of multiple species before the freeze leads to mass exodus lead especially by the king of the Arctic, the mighty polar bear.
Snowy owl on the tundra in the CWMA. Colby Brokvist photo.
A Gyrfalcon in the late fall in Churchill. Brad Josephs photo.