Today, in honor of my son Jack’s last day of fourth grade, churchillpolarbears.org is having fan photo Friday! We encourage you to submit any of your favorite Churchill or Arctic photographs to our Churchill Polar Bears Facebook page and they will be published in our blog at churchillpolarbears.org. Please include a brief description of the photo along with any other story you would like to tell about your amazing experience. Thanks to all for contributing and sharing your love of Churchill and the north!
The photo of the week is one I have used in the past with other posts. It’s “surfacing” again to get you excited about the summer season as well as illustrate a concept in a recent post. This photograph was probably the best one I took in 10 – plus years of guiding Churchill Summer adventures with the main draw being the beluga whales. It was one of thousands of photographs of water with cloudy whales below the surface. Sure, I probably passed up multiple similar select opportunities to capture images as good or better. However, I stand by the tenet of taking in the experience in a more “live” way and not focusing too much on camera or video usage. Enjoy the experience and save the best images in your memory!
A beluga whale popping out from the Churchill River near the mouth where visibility is amazing. Steve Selden photo.
“What a trip! The action just kept coming and we seemed to always be in the right place at the right time”, reported Natural Habitat guide Colby Brokvist. Highlights included many cub sightings, including one curious guy right up on our rover. We had sparring males so close that some of the guests on the deck of the rover were hit with snow as the bears tussled!
Polar bears in sparring mode. Colby Brokvist photo.
Other highlights included Manitoba Conservation chasing a large male polar bear out of town, and numerous fox sightings. Topping it off, the aurora borealis came out on Halloween night and the group of travelers and Colby journeyed down to the inukshuk behind the town complex to observe the amazing display around 1 am in the morning.
Aurora shining in the Arctic sky above the boreal forest. Brad Josephs photo.
Shipping News: The last grain ship is out of port and the tug boat brought in the channel buoys this past week.
Manitoba Conservation Blotter: There are currently 13 polar bears in the polar bear compound as of yesterday, including a sow with a cub caught in a bear trap near the cemetery.
Polar bear print in the snow. Karen Walker photo.
Guide Karen Walker and group had a male polar bear come very near their polar rover, on the spit past the lodge. The temperature was hovering around freezing, so the snow was soft and left a fantastic foot print for photographs. “At one point we had a very close bear on the right side of our rover and sparring to the left side of the rover,” added Karen.
A fox den on Christmas Lake esker in Churchill Wildlife Management Area. Karen Walker photo.
Out along Christmas Lake esker, the group discovered the entrance of a fox den. “We never saw the fox, but we saw lots of tracks,” stated Karen. That evening the wind really picked up and it has become quite evident that winter has set in. Over the last few days, two blizzard-like storms have descended on Churchill.
Brad Josephs got his dream shot last night with a group of Natural Habitat travelers.
The aurora have been incredible lately in Churchill though temperatures have been frigidly cold…around 50 below zero.
Avoiding frostbite is part of the thrill of being in this environment.
A welcoming dog photographed by Brad at a train stop in Portage la Prarie.
Magnificent sun dog formed by suspended ice crystals in the air.
Aurora over the “aurora domes”, a prime indoor spot to photograph the lights.
A curious sled dog in Churchill getting ready for the Hudson Bay Quest in a couple weeks.
Incredible feel for this time of year in Churchill with sun dog framing the town.
These photographs are from the latest Natural Habitat groups in Churchill over the last two weeks. Brad Josephs has been braving the frigid temperatures to lead groups of avid travelers through the Churchill region to discover the feel for the north as well as the amazing and mysterious aurora borealis. Seems to be all working out for the groups. The aurora have been some of the best seen in years. With temperatures ranging from -17 to -65 F, it hasn’t been an easy task to brave the elements and observe and photograph. However, it has been worth a little pain as even the locals in Churchill have said that these recent displays have been some of the best they have ever seen! More to come..stay tuned!!
Check out this documentary on polar bears and walruses in the frozen north. Pretty amazing footage. Happy new year to all! Looking forward to another year of amazing stories, photographs and video from the Arctic and Churchill, Manitoba.