A beluga whale in the murky Churchill River. Reinhard Mink photo.
Polar bear scouring the tundra. Reinhard Mink photo.
Aerial of view of Halfway Point and the Hudson Bay. Reinhard Mink photo.
Pod of male beluga whales in the Hudson Bay. Reinhard Mink photo.
View of Churchill with Fort Prince of Wales in the foreground. Reinhard Mink photo.
Beluga seemingly hovering in the Churchill River. Reinhard Mink photo.
Summer is winding down in the north and the action has been relentless with the usual incredible Churchill summer highlights. The polar bears have been wandering the rocky Precambrian coast of the Hudson Bay and Churchill River and belugas have posed for shots like these above for the entire summer. We can’t get enough of the awesome scenic vistas near the coast and inland along rocky tundra. Another summer in the north with the wildlife one only dreams of! These images from Reinhard Mink are just a sample of the wildlife wonders of Churchill!
Beluga whales in the Churchill River . Alex De Vries – Magnifico photo.
There’s nothing quite like being out on the Churchill River or Hudson Bay with the beluga whales on a cool, calm and sunny afternoon. The harmony with the water, sky and whales is transcendent. Having spent 10 seasons guiding travelers in Churchill interacting with the belugas, I can tell you without a doubt there are few places that bond humans with nature. Enjoy!
We hope you all enjoy our first guest blog report from Churchill and Natural Habitat Adventures guide Moira Le Patourel. Her group of travelers experienced a classic and exciting week in Churchill and the photos and report below give a feel of the adventure experienced!
“The first trip of the summer is always an exciting one in Churchill. Vast Ice floes are visible out in the bay, seemingly close to shore, but just slightly too far away to use the spotting scope to search for polar bears still out on the ice. Bears had already been spotted close to town and our first group of the summer was lucky enough to spot a resting polar bear on the beach, while out on the tundra on their first evening in Churchill.
Things were in full bloom on the tundra in a spectacular array of colours; snow-white from the White Mountain Avens, with their buttercup-yellow center, a carpet of brilliant green from the Sea Purslane, and a vibrant mat of magenta from the Purple Hedysarum. It was certainly a feast for the eyes!
Sea pursalane inhabits the beach areas in Churchill. Moira Le Patourel photo.
Beluga sightings were excellent throughout the trip, with several young calves spotted swimming with their mothers. During our final morning on the zodiacs, the river was all a-splash with beluga activity – pods of feeding-frenzied belugas, young and old, cavorted around the boats in pursuit of their fast-moving prey – capelin. Arctic terns plummeted into the water from the surface, with the white whales pushing the capelin up from below. Quite the sight to behold!
Beluga whales in the Churchill River with excited Nat Hab travelers. Moira Le Patourel photo.
A visit with local sled dogs and their owner was an interesting way for our visitors to learn about what life is like for a musher and his team in the remote sub-Arctic town of Churchill. With the train to Churchill not running at the moment, the logistics have become more complicated over the past month, and the cost of living has significantly gone up for the residents of Churchill. Our group learned about what those changes meant for mushers and dog teams in the area.
Churchill sled dogs are alaways a popular attraction. Moira Le Patourel photo.
Walks in both tundra and taiga habitat allowed us to spot many different bird species; some of the favourites were nesting/dive-bombing Arctic terns, red-necked phalaropes, lesser yellowlegs, Pacific loons and tundra swans with young. Churchill certainly is the place to be in the summer, especially for those visitors in search of feathered friends. Many guests on this trip were able to add several species to their life lists.
Many laughs, smiles, hugs and songs (you can’t leave without singing Baby Beluga at least once!) were shared by all for our first adventure in Churchill this summer. Looking forward to what the coming days will bring!”