Guide Sandra Elvin’s group experienced a fantastic week highlighted by two separate bear lifts. The first involved scrambling on arrival day in Churchill and getting out of the airport just in time to see two bears removed from the compound, netted and evacuated to the North. Exciting start to the Northern experience. Then, on the group’s helicopter and museum-touring day, travelers were fortunate to view a sow and two cubs moved from the compound as well. Two of these in a trip is quite rare.
The group’s polar bear viewing out on the tundra was exciting also. On day one in the CWMA , a polar bear was observed up close while a few others were viewed crossing the landscape slowly at a distance. A few others asleep in the willows rounded out the afternoon. The second day started slowly in the morning though afternoon brought bears around the lodge challenging each other without full-on sparring. A group devoid of avid birders calmly observed a magnificent gyrfalcon soaring the wind currents above. An arctic fox near the rover launch and a red fox at Bird’s Cove filled out a palette of Arctic wildlife.
Helicopter journeys to a former bear denning area were hampered by fog. After the den visit, the group returned back to the base in town and re-booked flight time for the end of the trip. Flying over a controversial “sled-dog” compound East of town raised serious questions regarding the morality and legality of the site. Polar bears intermingle freely with chained dogs there and quite often share food left for the canines. Should wild animals be exposed to this setting? On the later rescheduled flight, the group flew directly to Cape Churchill and returned over the boreal forest. A large number of bears at the cape and scattered moose on the fringes of the forest were awesome sights.
The aurora borealis cooperated with Halloween by unveiling itself for the holiday..Guide Elise’s group as well as some others viewed the Arctic spectacle behind the town complex at the giant stone inukshuk guarding the Hudson Bay. One of “the best displays I’ve ever seen here”, is how Elise characterized the show….dancing, swirling lights of green…pulsing with faint glimpses of red. Maybe a slight tinge of orange in there as well. Happy Halloween to all!
Guide Rinnie reports “resident” bears around the lodge. There are constantly four to five males around ….including a couple of “big guys”. A single female and a mother with a coy visited the area much to the delight of travelers on board. A few “buddy” males sparring frequently very close to the lodge thrill the photographers as well as casual guests. Away from the lodge two adult golden eagles soared pass the rover while out along the coast road. Snowy owls have been seen almost daily as well as Arctic fox. On the last lodge trip, northern lights appeared twice on the darker tundra of the CWMA….an easier place to spot the phenomena for sure. Food being served by gourmet chefs at the lodge is fantastic while the group hopes for colder temperatures to arrive. Hopes for some more mothers with cubs to move in to the area are top of the wish list.