Churchill Photos of the Week

Polar bear season in Churchill is officially underway as groups of travelers with Natural Habitat Adventures are returning from the Tundra Lodge out deep in the Churchill Wildlife Management Area (CWMA). We should be getting some detailed field reports in from that groups guides Eric Rock and Colby Brokvist over the weekend. Other groups are arriving in Churchill as well and soon the news will come fast and furious. Polar bears will start to move with more urgency as the season gets going and the snow comes along with cooling air from the north. Stay tuned for posts from the sub -Arctic!

Polar bears Churchill, Manitoba

Polar bears at play in Churchill. Rhonda Reid photo.

Churchill, Manitoba polar bear

Majestic polar bear on a chilly, frosty morning in Churchill. Colby Brokvist photo.

Polar bear in Churchill

Poalr bear afraid to look at all the polar rovers. Justin Gibson photo.

polar bear churchill

Polar bear stretching after a nap in the willows. Natural Habitat Adventures photo.

Churchill Guide Notes – Colby Brokvist

Natural Habitat Adventures guide Colby Brokvist has experienced quite the polar bear season so far in Churchill! One of his initial groups of travelers witnessed unbelievable sparring sessions on a sunny day close to the Tundra Lodge. The scene became even more intense when the three sparring male polar bears were interrupted by a smaller three year – old female approaching from first tower to the east. One of the males pushed her off into the willows where she laid down for a rest. After the sparring had cooled off she returned and checked out all the polar rovers in the area and gave thrills to all travelers aboard!

Polar bear churchill

Sparring polar bears in the Churchill Wildlife Management Area. Colby Brokvist photo.

Another sparring session that same afternoon matched two huge male polar bears going at it for about 25 minutes. ” I’d thought they would be overheating by now!” Colby expressed to his travelers. Amazing how polar bears can expend so much energy in a time when they are trying to conserve in a big way. It just shows how important this ritual of mock fighting is to the species survival. This year has been filled with outrageous displays..more so then years past.

Polar bears in Churchill.

Polar bears wrestling in the willows. Natural habitat photo.

With a more recent group Colby and driver navigated the rover out to the Tundra Lodge after spotting a sow and her cub close to launch. The morning seemed “quiet” reported Colby so they decided to move inland a bit toward an esker to the east. Just below the esker back toward the Hudson Bay the group sighted another sow and her coy (cub of the year) on the flats with amazing views toward the bay and surrounding lowlands. What a way to spend the late morning..beats an office coffee break by far!

polar bear sow and cub churchill, Manitoba

Sow and cub test the land fast ice of the Hudson Bay. Colby Brokvist photo.

Around lunch, camped in the same spot, patience paid off big time. An adolescent polar bear wandered up to the rover and investigated the rear deck of their polar rover. if one got any closer to a polar bear there would be teeth marks at best. The steel grated deck provides the needed protection here. Nearby a number of sleeping bears worked on conserving the energy spent in morning sparring sessions in the squared tundra.

Later on at Halfway Point the day concluded with a superb 15 minutes observing a rough – legged hawk hunt along the tundra. Not much more of a nature experience then that. All in all an incredible trip in the Churchill Wildlife Management Area!

Churchill, Manitoba wolverine

wolverine in a spruce tree in Churchill. Colby Brokvist photo.

One of the most exciting aspects of a trip to Churchill is a helicopter flight over the north land. This rare shot of a wolverine was captured by Colby as they flew over the boreal forest. Amazing! And for good measure a polar bear chugging through some land fast ice in the Hudson Bay!

polar bear in the Hudson Bay Churchill, Manitoba

Polar bear making his way through the slush ice of Hudson Bay. Colby Brokvist photo.

Churchill Guides Notes and Photos

Amidst the magnificent diversity of wildlife viewing this polar bear season, another phenomena has captured the attention of many travelers to the north country. Clearly the highlight of this polar bear season in Churchill has been the fairly consistent northern lights and their multi – colored displays in the northern sky. Polar bear sparring, particularly out around the Tundra Lodge in the Churchill Wildlife management Area, has been steady and exciting over the past couple of weeks. Clear skies have provided the opportunity for northern lights viewing for almost every Natural Habitat Adventures group this season. Incredible night shows!

Northern lights in Churchill, Manitoba

Northern lights above the confines of the boreal forest in Churchill. Alex De Vries – Magnifico photo.

Over the years, Churchill has revealed some other, less visible wildlife such as moose, wolves, pine martens and perigrine falcons. This image below by Natural Habitat Adventures guide Colby Brokvist of a wolverine is one of the best I’ve ever seen out of Churchill. Colby reported that, “the animal climbed up the tree to try and swat the helicopter out of the air, protecting his ground.” just an amazing shot!

wolverine colby brokvist 9.15 Churchill

Wolverine climbing tree out on the tundra. Colby Brokvist photo.

These next few polar bear photos by Natural Habitat guide Drew Hamilton are great shots of the relaxation process polar bears go through during this time of walking hibernation. Polar bears do engage in sparring and active walking and hunting if possible though much of their time during the fall is spent conserving energy in the snow, kelp or willows.

Polar bear in Churchill kelp bed

Polar bear in a kelp bed. Drew Hamilton photo.

polar bear in Churchill

Polar bear sporting a battle scar. Drew Hamilton photo.

polar bear in Churchill, Manitoba

Relaxing polar bear in Churchill. Drew Hamilton photo.

This closing shot by Natural Habitat guide Colby Brokvist is typical of what this season has delivered with regards to incredible aurora borealis. This could be the best season for northern lights we have seen in a decade in Churchill…lets hope it continues for the next few weeks.

Hudson bay and Northern lights in Churchill, Manitoba

Magnificent northern lights over the inukshuk by the Hudson Bay in Churchill. Colby Brokvist photo.

Churchill Photos of the Week – Polar Bears

These recent photos from Natural Habitat Adventures guide Colby Brokvist are some fantastic polar bear shots out in the Churchill Wildlife Management Area. Polar bear activity has been increasing out in the CWMA with the recent seal – kill out at Gordon Point. Sparring at the Tundra Lodge and around the area has continued to peak as well. Northern lights have been exceptional this season and hopes that the trend will continue through the second half. In fact this evening presents incredible viewing potential even down through some of the United States due to solar storms produced through intensified reactions in the Earth’s atmosphere. Lets hope that the sky is clear in Churchill and wherever the lights might be visible!

 

Polar bear in Churchill

Polar bear close – up on the tundra. Colby Brokvist photo.

Polar bear churchill

Sparring polar bears in the Churchill Wildlife Management Area. Colby Brokvist photo.

Churchill, Manitoba polar bear

Majestic polar bear on a chilly, frosty morning in Churchill. Colby Brokvist photo.

Churchill, Manitoba polar bears

Polar bears in the Churchill Wildlife Management Area. Colby Brokvist photo.

Churchill “Quadfecta” ..Northern Style

Inaugural Natural Habitat groups in Churchill experienced a rare phenomena this past week. With polar bears being the main attraction in Churchill in October, other wildlife and natural wonders are a bonus. This early season has brought magnificent sights beyond the normal for many travelers.

Natural Habitat Guide Colby and travelers enjoyed incredible happenings to start the season. “We deemed it the “quadfecta”, almost unheard of, consisting of the very best aurora show I’ve ever seen, close-up bear encounters, a polar bear lift, and even Beluga whales still lingering in the Churchill River estuary.” stated Colby. Three of those occurrences are rarities for sure.

Additionally, numerous snowy owls, arctic hare, incredible dog sledding, and intriguing cultural programs in Churchill made this a trip to remember. “Certainly one of the best early season trips I’ve ever had,” added Colby. With the weather being changeable right now, polar bear action varies greatly from day to day. Plenty of  patience paid off time and time again. More exciting action to come!

Polar bear Churchill

Polar bear emerging from the willows. Colby Brokvist photo.

Churchill Snowy Owl

Snowy owl on the rocks in Churchill. Colby Brokvist photo.

Arctic Hare in Churchill

Arctic Hare in the rocks. Colby Brokvist photo.

Northern lights at Tundra Lodge.

Northern lights at the Tundra lodge. Drew Hamilton photo.

Beluga whales Drew Hamilton

Natural Habitat group spying beluga whales in the Churchill River. Drew Hamilton photo.

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