Polar bear under the Tundra Lodge. Moira Le Patourel photo.
This is the time when the polar bear season is a double-edged sword in that the polar bear numbers are building and so is the ice that could allow them to disperse overnight. However, this time is also one to rejoice in with the uncanny wildlife around the tundra.
Nt Hab’s Brad Joseph’s group had some incredible wildlife sightings during their trip. A first-year male great gray owl at Gordon point was a memorable sighting. Out around the Tundra Lodge, there were eight polar bears paired off and sparring in optimal 0-degree weather. This is the first report this season of numerous bears around the lodge actively engaged in mock fights. Pretty exciting and a reunion of sorts for the travelers on rovers and at the lodge!
After enjoying a sunset across the Churchill River at the flats just northwest of town, the group also was blessed with aurora borealis on their second night in Churchill. Nearly as spectacular to this particular group of travelers was the fantastic newly painted murals around town by the Sea Walls project. The murals brighten up the town, which can start to become grey this time of year, as much in the daytime as northern lights do at night.
Two other pretty awesome sights for this group were seeing a good size caribou herd of around a 100 animals south of Churchill. Tracks covered the ground all over the area. Some of those tracks were discovered to be from a Wolverine making a cameo appearance. Some longtime locals reported having not seen one for 20 years or more.
Polar bear males sparring on the tundra. Moira Le Patourel photo.
Moira Le Patourel’s group enjoyed good weather for the duration of their trip with a snowy backdrop and a mix of a few overcast days and a few with incredible sun and one extreme cold weather day (-21 degrees Celsius) Numerous polar bear sightings surely made up for the cold, including a mother with two cubs of the year, a mother with one cub of the year, as well as many adult males.
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!