Polar bear stats for Churchill over the last week. Town of Churchill image.
Churchill this year begins to resemble an outdoor zoo with the residents of the town living within the polar bear exhibit. However, this is the wilds of the sub – Arctic region where polar bears are king and people reside in their natural habitat. The warning to be extra vigilant when walking and leaving your home is real and serious. Please be careful out there all times of day but especially at night and early morning! Polar bears are extremely hungry this time of year.
Another great close up of a polar bear near mile 5 in Churchill. Jodi Grosbrink photo.
This early season in Nunavut’s capital city Iqaluit has signaled the beginning of a northern winter season. All across the Arctic and sub- Arctic, the temperatures are dropping and snow has either fallen or soon will be blowing in the air across tundra and Precambrian rock outcrops.
Churchill’s polar bear season, which begins in a week, will take on a different feel this year as the Hudson Bay Rail line is still inoperable and repairs are surely not going to be initiated before spring at this juncture. Hopes are high for an influx of travelers by air coming as usual to see the magnificent polar bears and other Arctic wildlife roaming the Churchill Wildlife Management Area and in the bluffs of Cape Merry. Their presence will give hope both financially and spiritually to Churchillians trying to withstand the isolation and strife the disaster to the rail – line has caused since last May.
Northern lights over Ice lake in Cape Dorset, Nunavut. Manny Noble photo.
Even though polar bear season is just around the corner with the possibility of viewing northern lights on clear nights, we can’t help but look ahead to January when the heart of aurora borealis season begins in Churchill. Once the Hudson Bay is frozen over, northern lights are fairly constant in the night skies of the far north. This recent shot above Ice Lake in Cape Dorset, Nunavut is just a sample of what can be seen in the heart of winter throughout the Arctic and sub – Arctic. What an incredible vista!
Churchill is in full swing with polar bears “high and low” as you can see from these recent field image submissions from the region. Moira Le Patourel leading a group of Natural Habitat Adventures travelers had a spectacular time in Churchill. The snow covered tundra provides an Arctic background for the incredible wildlife sightings in the Churchill Wildlife Management Area (CWMA). What a trip for this fortunate group.
Polar bears scattered on the tundra of the CWMA were the highlight for sure though a bear lift at the holding compound was an event that is hit or miss for travelers to Churchill. It truly is spectacular to watch polar bears be flown northwest along the coast to a safe haven and released to the wild again. Timing is everything in order to catch one of these awesome spectacles! An incredible, unique experience if you can see it.
Group photo with guide Moira in front of a polar rover! Moira Le Patourel photo.
A polar bear wandering between a couple of polar rovers. Moira Le Patourel photo.
Magnificent polar bear in the snow. Moira Le Patourel photo.
Polar bear family walking a trail in the CWMA. Moira Le Patourel photo.
Polar bear sniffing at the falling snow. Moira Le Patourel photo.
Polar bear family posing for a group shot. Moira Le Patourel photo.
Lift off at the Polar Bear Holding Facility. Moira Le Patourel photo.
Up, up and away in the cargo nets for polar bear family. Moira Le Patourel photo.
While the polar bears on the land and in th air were exciting for all travelers, there was other wildlife to see as well. A regal red fox appeared from the willows to catch the eyes and camera lenses of the group. Ptarmigan as well made an appearance seemingly from out of nowhere. Both species reveal the secrets of the sub – Arctic to all those lucky enough to spot them. Magic seems to happen in Churchill especially during polar bear season!
Red fox emerging from the willows. Moira Le Patourel photo.
Willow ptarmigan on the rover trail in the CWMA. moira Le Patourel photo.