A lone beluga whale took a vacation in London, England this week! The trip began with a leisurely swim up the Thames River around the Gravesland area about 30 miles east of London. The rare sight was captured on this video as well as many others posted on social media.
Helicopters from local news stations hovered above and local officials advised onlookers on boats to keep their distance. The Whale and Dolphin Conservation group was as surprised as anyone witnessing this incredible sighting.
Beluga whales are more commonly found in the Arctic. Churchill, Manitoba is a prime destination for beluga whale wildlife adventures.
Belugas at the back of the zodiac in the Churchill River in Churchill, Manitoba. Stephanie Fernandez photo.
“Beluga whales inhabit cold, Arctic waters off Greenland, Svalbard and in the Barents Sea,” the group said in a statement. “There have only been around 20 sightings of beluga whales off the U.K. coast previously, but these have occurred off Northumberland, Northern Ireland and Scotland.”
The last beluga whale spotted in the United Kingdom was off the coast of Northern Ireland three years ago,
Animal welfare organizations including the RSPCA are, “working with other agencies to monitor the situation” and have researchers on the scene to monitor the whale.
A majestic beluga signals the season is upon us. Alex De Vries – Magnifico photo.
Beluga season is going strong in Churchill. Check out this amazing beluga whale in the Churchill River by Alex De Vries – Magnifico! Over three thousand beluga whales migrate to the Churchill River estuary in the Arctic summer. Their natural curiosity enables travelers to get up close and personal with these beautiful creatures!
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!
These amazing images from Churchill were taken last week by Natural Habitat Adventures guide Eddy Savage while exploring the tundra and water around the area. This particular group literally found some treasure under a rainbow when they came across a caribou on the tundra. Other incredible beluga whale encounters were quite close up with the zodiacs. A beautiful red fox was quite inquisitive toward the group and posed for some of the best shots we have seen in a long time.
All in all the weather for the week cooperated for the incredible wildlife viewing and a full exploration of the Churchill region was successful. What a week for seeing all the treasures around every rock or inlet in Churchill and on the water!
A rainbow marks the spot a caribou pauses on the tundra in Churchill. Eddy Savage photo.
A red fox is surprised by a group of Natural Habitat travelers while searching the land for food. Eddy Savage photo.
A group of hearty Nat Hab travelers heads out on the Churchill River to view the beluga whales. Eddy Savage photo.
Secluded beach at Halfway Point with hearty sea purslane growing above. Eddy Savage photo.
Natural Habitat travelers pose with their massive Great White Bear polar rover in Churchill. Eddy Savage photo.
Cannons on the walls of Fort Prince of Wales across from Churchill. Eddy Savage photo.
A group of Natural Habitat travelers ready to roll and see some beluga whales. Eddy Savage photo.
Dwarf fireweed near Starvation Cove, Cambridge Bay, Nunavut. Mia Rachel photo.
Arctic cotton in Sylvia Grinnell Park in Iqaluit, Nunavut. Gwenyth McQuarrie photo.
Wolf pups in Alert Nunavut. Peter Gilhuly photo.
These three outstanding shots from Nunavut characterize the northern Arctic summer in Nunavut. Churchill has its fantastic beluga whale season though the further north one goes the more there is to discover across the tundra! Enjoy!