This fantastic shot was taken by Rhonda Reid in Churchill. Black bears have been moving farther and farther north as the climate seems to change rapidly. It’s always a thrill to see the polar bear’s cousin in the rugged Churchill region!
An amazing shot of the majestic snowy owl in Churchill by Katie de Meulles. These beautiful birds can be seen almost anytime of the year though they seem to go through cycles in numbers depending on the rodent populations. If we are lucky we will have good numbers of snowy owls this coming Churchill Arctic Summer!
This documentary by The Nature of Things, Polar Bears: A Summer Odyssey, stars a Western Hudson Bay curious teenage polar bear near Churchill. This picturesque footage, filmed over a year, follows a juvenile polar bear’s migration through the frigid Hudson Bay waters to the rocky Pre – Cambrian shores and documents the challenges to subsist on whatever he can during the ice – free season.
As a first year cub on his own he faces the new burden that global warming is contributing to his world, and ours. Spending Summer seasons on the land for polar bears has been a way of life for thousands of years. Researchers have theorized that the polar bears main migration path is guided by the stars and their mothers teach them this survival technique they will use for their entire lives.
With ice – free days continuing to increase with time, polar bears are finding ways to adapt to the trials of becoming more land – based predators. This shows some of the burdens they face in the sub -Arctic!
Barrow Observatory, an Arctic Circle research station run by The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, is normally a very cold place with snow lasting well into the summer months. This year is different according to researchers as snow has begun to melt a good month prior to the normal thaw time. It appears the dynamic Arctic summer is starting earlier in the far north.
The observatory, 320 miles north of the Arctic Circle, is seeing the earliest snow melt in nearly 80 years. David Douglas, a U. S. Geological Survey research biologist stated the area looks like “June or early July right now.” May 13 marked the beginning of the snow melting this year.
The snow melt at Barrow Observatory follows one of the warmest Alaska winters on record. Temperatures were over 11 degrees above average according to NOAA. Douglas emphasizes the melting shows how the Arctic’s ice coverage has become quite fragile and forecasts record low sea ice for in the Arctic for 2016.
“Polar bears are having to make their decisions about how to move and where to go on thinner ice pack that’s mostly first-year ice,” Douglas said.
These ominous forecasts have been surfacing for years and now we are seeing harbingers of these prophesies in physical evidence all over the world and especially in the high Arctic.
Rhonda Reid in Churchill keeps surprising us with amazing bird images from Churchill. These new avian arrivals to the Churchill region are some rare ones and these are just fabulous shots out on the tundra.Churchill spring and summer provides one of the best places on the planet to birdwatch at the highest level. This is for pros and beginners alike to check the bird-lists at a furious rate with over 200 species landing here for the Churchill Arctic summer! Enjoy!