During this year’s exciting polar bear season we will be posting a special photo or two or even more each week that catches the feel of that particular time during the season. Each week takes on a distinct setting with wildlife, particularly polar bears and the weather as it influences the landscape and the town of Churchill. This week, a shot from Churchill local resident and photographer friend Rhonda Reid portrays the look of early polar bear season in the region. Not a lot of snow cover as polar bears seem surprised us when they emerge from the willows or grace the tundra with their majestic presence. Enjoy and keep coming back for more!
Polar bear sow and cub wander the coastal tundra. Rhonda Reid photo.
Monday in Churchill during polar bear season is yoga time in the Churchill Wildlife Management Area! Natural Habitat Adventures guide Elise Lockton snapped these relaxing polar bear photos while leading her group of travelers on a trip over the tundra. So far this dynamic polar bear season has been slow though steady with some nice surprises from the tundra. Stay posted for more Churchill news from the field!
Zen pose for a Monday. Elise Lockton photo.
Churchill yoga polar bear pose. Elise Lockton photo.
Stretch it out. Elise Lockotn photo.
Okay’ that’s enough for me. I’m tired. Elise Lockton photo.
Natural Habitat Adventures guide Brad Josephs and his band of travelers enjoyed an exciting start to the polar bear season with good bear sightings along with some other fantastic wildlife encounters. The group also witnessed an iconic landmark coming to the ground out in the Churchill Wildlife Management Area.
Polar bear with a dirty snout. Brad Josephs photo.
Veteran guide Brad reported warmer than average temperatures for this time of year though that didn’t deter polar bears from revealing themselves on the tundra. A pair of snowy owls perched on Precambrian rocks searching for lemmings or Arctic hares made for prime viewing and photo ops. A small group of willow ptarmigan made their way from the willows, imagine that, into sight of the excited group. A good look at an iconic northern species.
Willow Ptarmigan displaying furry, insulated feet. Brad Josephs photo.
Arctic hare stoic ly waiting for the protection of snow. Brad Josephs photo.
Brad described the falling of an iconic landmark out in the CWMA.; “A strange thing happened while we were on the tundra. We drove by an old military observation tower built in the early 1950’s for cold weather training, and when we drove by it again a few hours later it had collapsed in the high winds.” The landmark was dubbed “first tower” since there were two of these structures built for military training observation in the 1950’s and this one is the first one that polar rovers encounter while searching the tundra for wildlife. It’s quite a ways out on the trail and served as a landmark for rover drivers, especially in snowy conditions. Sad to see it go!
The demise of first tower in the CWMA. Brad Josephs photo.
While exploring the tundra out near the fallen tower, the group had an amazing encounter with a red fox carrying its ptarmigan prey in his mouth. Surprised by being “caught in the act” , the fox paused to take in the curious onlookers gazing at him in wonderment of the laws of nature and the survival chain of life in the Arctic wild. What an exciting start to the 2016 polar bear season in Churchill!
A red fox with a tasty meal of willow ptarmigan. Brad Josephs photo.
These awesome images from Churchill by Natural Habitat Adventures guide Drew Hamilton are some beauties. Healthy polar bears, an Arctic hare and an eager team of sled dogs are all signs that another dynamic polar bear season is underway in Churchill. Stay posted as the action heats up when temperatures cool down in the north country! Enjoy!
Polar bear season in Churchill can be slow early on though it’s appearing this one is off to a memorable start. The early snow has provided the wintry backdrop that travelers enjoy as well as the polar bears and other Arctic wildlife. The temperatures that accompany the snow cause wildlife to become active. Polar bears especially become active and roam the tundra. As the season goes on bears will spar incessantly and move more swiftly across the land. Signs are good that this season we will see incredible polar bear action all across the Churchill Wildlife Management Area!
Polar rover searching the tundra for wildlife. Moira Le Patourel photo.
A group of Natural Habitat travelers with their polar rover. Moira LePatourel photo.
Polar bear lounging on the Precambrian shield. Don Walkoski photo.
Polar bear surveying the rocks along the Hudson Bay coast. Don Walkoski photo.
Northern lights over the boreal forest in Churchill. Don Walkoski photo.