A snowy tundra was the perfect setting for an Arctic fox greeting Natural Habitat Adventures guide Moira Le Patourel and her group of travelers. As snow fluttered to the ground the inquisitive fox seemed indifferent to the rover’s presence. What beautiful colors melding together in an Arctic landscape!
Arctic fox surveying the land fast ice along the Hudson Bay. Moira Le Patourel photo.
Caught between the search for lemmings and waiting for the Hudson Bay freeze, this gorgeous fox will patiently wait for the latter in order to feed off the left -overs of polar bear seal kills. A fascinating existence for sure. Polar bear season in Churchill reveals the subtleties of survival in the far north.
Arctic fox waiting out the eventual freezing of the Hudson Bay. Moira Le Patourel photo.
Later, out on the tundra of the Churchill Wildlife Management Area, a sow with two cubs of the year (coy) revealed themselves on the horizon and explored the ground close to the polar rover. The three moved confidently across the thermokarst landscape while circling the group observing from the rover. Purely incredible to witness these polar bears in their natural environment.
Sow and two coy wandering the Hudson Bay coast near Churchill. Moira Le Patourel photo.
The persistent unseasonable moderate temperatures have polar bears resting and conserving energy for the most part though we are still seeing magical behavior across the tundra. Surely the snow and cold will escalate and we will see more sparring in the coming weeks. Until then we are not complaining about the number of family interactions so far this year as well as the variety of other wildlife sightings.
Resting polar bear by a stand of willows. Moira Le Patourel photo.
The group was charmed with a first – night orientation of some fantastic northern lights which they took in down by the large inukshuk behind the town complex. What a display squeezed in between the clouds and snow squalls.
One of the best spots in Churchill to capture the magical northern lights. Moira Le Patourel photo.
The following day Moira brought her travelers back for an iconic group photo from the head of the Hudson Bay. If the incredible aurora displays this polar bear season are any indication, we are in for quite a northern lights season in January through March.
Natural Habitat group photo at the Churchill inukshuk. Moira Le Patourel photo.
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 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 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.
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.
Viewing beluga whales in the Churchill River from the Sea North I vessel. Moira LaPatourel photo.
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.
Fields of wildflowers across the tundra in Churchill. Moira LaPatourel photo.