Churchill Arctic Summer – A View from the Field

Incredible wildlife sightings and bursting wildflowers have made this an awesome Churchill Arctic Summer so far! Moira LaPatourel has been guiding Natural Habitat travelers in the Churchill region and the surprises keep coming for the groups both on the water and out on the tundra.

This magnificent common loon and chick was spotted on a thermokarst pond out by the Churchill Wildlife Management Area. These majestic and haunting birds will often circle their water surroundings and give their haunting call to announce the arrival of their offspring. Always an incredible experience to see these in the sub – Arctic.

common loon in Churchill

Common loon and her chick on the water in Churchill. Moira LaPatourel photo.

With the Cape Merry battery looming in the distance, a beluga sow and calf  frolic in the Churchill River. Whale interaction has been off the charts this season with pods of belugas all over the waters surrounding Churchill. Snorkeling and kayaking have been particular highlights for groups as well this season.

beluga whales in Churchill

Beluga whales in the Churchill River with Cape Merry in the background. Moira LaPatourel photo.

A rarely seen bald eagle made an appearance and perched atop this krumholz spruce on the open tundra. A perfect spot for eyeing lemmings scurrying across the ground.

bald eagle in churchill, Manitoba

A bald eagle perched on a spruce tree in the open tundra of Churchill. Moira LaPatourel photo.

A group of travelers gets more of a birds – eye view from the deck of the Sea North I on the Hudson Bay. This vessel provides more of a view above the beluga whales for slightly better photo opportunities. Venturing over to Button Bay or further into the Hudson Bay is another facet this larger jet propulsion craft provides.

beluga whales in the Churchill river

Viewing beluga whales in the Churchill River from the Sea North I vessel. Moira LaPatourel photo.

Natural Habitat travelers enjoy the versatility of a zodiac excursion on the Churchill River. The small craft often can cruise the coastline and discover a gem like this resting polar bear on the Precambrian shield! Seeing polar bears in Churchill Arctic summer is such an awesome experience and often more of a thrill than seeing the king of the Arctic in polar bear season!

polar bear viewing from zodiac in Churchill, Manitoba

Travelers view a polar bear from a zodiac in the Churchill River. Moira LaPatourel photo.

Fireweed has consumed the landscape at this point of the season. The purple injects a swath of color to the landscape that blends the blues of the water and rocks with the subdued earth colors of the tundra.

wildflowers in Churchill

Fields of wildflowers across the tundra in Churchill. Moira LaPatourel photo.

Churchill Red Fox Den Discovered

Here are some follow – up images to the one published a few days ago. Katie de Meulles took these incredible shots last week along the Precambrian shield in Churchill. It’s pretty unusual to capture a red fox family like this appearing to be inquisitive with the photographer being present. We are sure happy that they hung around for a look.These are some of the best red fox shots we’ve seen in awhile.

So far this spring leading into the Churchill Arctic summer the wildlife has been better than ever we can remember here. Looking forward to another summer full of surprises in Churchill!

red foxes in Churchill

Red Fox KD 7

Red Fox KD 5

red foxes in churchill

A “Typical” Churchill Summer Day

kayakers, belugas and sea north tours

Kayakers surrounded by beluga whales in the Hudson Bay. Sea North Tours photo.

Summer in Churchill usually involves wearing a fleece jacket, long pants, hat and sometimes gloves. It also can be the “hotspot” of Manitoba with temperatures pushing 90F. These fluctuations make Churchill …well..Churchill. As a guide, I always enjoyed the cooler temperatures in the summer far away from the hot sun of Colorado. The fresh salt air from the Hudson Bay invigorates the soul. Out on the water interacting with beluga whales and seabirds hovering above and feeding off the capelin at the surface, refreshes anyone searching for nature’s freedom.The theme here is that everything is unpredictable and new adventures are around every corner in Churchill!

Arctic tern with capelin

Arctic tern with a capelin in mouth. David Hemmings photo.

Yes, the thousands of beluga whales are the marquee attraction in summertime in Churchill. However, the tundra’s micro ecosystems of plants and lichen as well as the various birds that migrate to the area for the short season are all part of the magical experience. And, we surely know there’s always a chance to see a polar bear or two in the “off- season”!

polar bear churchill, Manitoba

A polar bear rolling in fireweed. A summer treasure in Churchill. Dennis Fast photo.

The best part of an  Churchill Arctic summer adventure is that it changes from day to day in the northern frontier town on the Hudson Bay. Guiding ten years in Churchill allowed me to see almost everything, yet I feel as if I only scratched the surface of the tundra when it comes to deciphering the mystery of the region. The land is constantly changing, literally, with isostatic rebound of the Precambrian shield. Walking across this ancient land stirs so many emotions deep within the soul. The quietness leads one to thoughts of how we used to live and how we still can live in some remote places like Churchill. Solitude is rare these days.

Precambrian shield in Churchill.

The colors of the tundra as summer wanes. Ed Bouvier photo.

cumulus cloud Churchill Hudson Bay

Incredible cumulus cloud over the Hudson Bay in Churchill. Alex De Vries – Magnifico photo.

Beluga whales in Churchill river

Beluga whales in the Churchill river. Alex De Vries – Magnifico photo.

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