Beluga Whales Still in Churchill

The exciting news from Churchill is polar bears have been spotted out at the Tundra Lodge in the Churchill Wildlife Management Area (CWMA) and they are becoming more active as the season begins here. The first Natural Habitat Adventures group at the lodge guided by Colby and Eric came quite close to a big male bear out by first tower as their group explored away from the base lodge on a rover. A few others lounged around the lodge moving about the willows.

Pol;ar bear Churchill, Manitoba

Majestic polar bear resting in Churchill. Katie DeMeulles photo.

More exciting news from polar bear season Churchill is there are still at least 30 – 40 beluga whales still lingering around the mouth of the Churchill River and along the coast in the Hudson Bay. Some travelers took a helicopter journey and spotted the beluga pods below..what a sight for this late in the fall! I imagine there will be some more time for beluga’s here though soon they will depart for the Hudson Straits up north.

Moose in Churchill

Moose on the tundra in Churchill. Madison Stevens/PBI photo.

Other sightings by our friends at Polar Bears International (PBI) included numerous black foxes- a color morph of the red fox –  as well as traditional colored red foxes. A couple of Arctic fox have been spotted as well. Ptarmigan, Arctic hares and numerous bird species have also filled out the wildlife sightings for travelers over the past week. PBI travelers also were surprised by a large moose galloping along the tundra between ponds out in the CWMA!

Northern lights made an appearance on a couple of nights and were some of the best since last aurora season in February. Greens and pinks shimmered across the tundra in the darkened sky of the CWMA.

northern lights in Churchill, Manitoba

Intense northern lights in Churchill. Drew Hamilton photo.

Perhaps the most incredible sighting was also by the PBI group. They witnessed a Peregrine falcon feeding on a gull on the fringe of the willows. They observed the web of nature and the life-cycles of these hearty creatures firsthand!


Peregrine falcon feasting on prey of a gull. Madison Stevens/PBI photo.

We are only in the first full week of polar bear season and already are witnessing surprises from every area out on the tundra!

Stunning Arctic Fox Hunting Video

Churchill and the Arctic are prime territory for Arctic fox and their hunting habits. Their ability to sense their prey under the snow and “dive bomb” the location is uncanny. Churchill currently is experiencing lower numbers of Arctic fox due to some unethical trapping done last winter as well as a cyclical drop in lemming population in the area. They will return in higher numbers as they always do and meanwhile the red fox population is up and healthy. We should start to see more Arctic Fox as early as this winter as long as the trappers don’t repeat last years travesty!

Amazing Polar Bear Season – A Guides Perspective

Amazing experiences have come from this polar bear season in Churchill, Manitoba for Natural Habitat Adventures guide Moira Le Patourel! “I am thoroughly enjoying my third season in Churchill and have been absolutely thrilled with the sights that have come my way while guiding the six-day and seven-day Classic adventures this season. My guests and I have been lucky enough to enjoy encounters with snowy owls, arctic fox, red fox, arctic hare and LOTS of incredible views of polar bears (and polar boulders too!).” reported Le Patourel.

Churchill Tundra

Magnifecent light over the tundra in Churchill. Moira Le Patourel photo.

Moira's Photos - PB 6105 286 (1)

“One of my favourite moments of the season thus far was a late-in-the-day sighting of a female polar bear. She was spotted laying beside a frozen pond, along our road home. We were able to sit with her for a while, as the sun began to set on the tundra and on this beautiful bear. At first it seemed like only one adult bear was laying down, until a small black nose and a pair of ears poked out from behind. Smiles shone all around our Rover as we realized that we had the privilege of being in the presence of a mother polar bear and her cub of the year. The light faded slowly and all too soon we had to head home, leaving the mother and cub behind; our Rover crew silent in communal contentment, and smiling, appreciating all things polar bear.” stated Le Patourel.
As we come down the stretch of another incredible polar bear season in Churchill, excitement is overflowing from guides and travelers as well. Fresh perspectives from guides in Churchill enable us all to see the polar bear world with a clear mind and vision.

Arctic Tundra Day – Churchill Paradise

Another great first day for a Natural Habitat Adventures group of travelers lead by guide Drew Hamilton. While heading out to the Churchill Wildlife Management Area they stopped to admire a rough legged hawk when a guest called out from the back of the polar rover “what’s that running across the ice?” An Arctic fox was bounding along the tundra and the group was ecstatic to catch what seems to be a rare sighting this season so far.
This incident was a clear reminder that when searching out wildlife always remember to look behind you as never know what you might miss out on the land.
Polar bears in the CWMA

Polar bears sparring in the CWMA. Drew Hamilton photo.


When their polar rover neared the Tundra lodge, bear activity was already heating up. Large males polar bears were sparring in the willows just off the trail. When there was a break in the action and the males retreated into the willows to cool off, a female polar bear sneaked onto the scene to check out the rover.  She seemed a bit nervous due to the presence of all the other bears around and soon departed when the sparring started back up. Quite the action packed  scenes amid some drama out on the tundra!
Snowy owl in Churchill

Snowy owl on a rock in the Churchill wildlife Management Area. Drew Hamilton photo.

On the way back to town the travelers were treated to a snowy owl viewing  just off the road. A little icing on a fantastic day of wildlife viewing.
Northern lights and inukshuk Churchill

Northern lights over the Hudson bay and Churchill inukshuk. Drew Hamilton photo.


In the evening the group had enjoyed a talk by Duane at Parks Canada learning about Pre-dorset art.  Leaving the Parks Canada office Drew suggested swinging by the inukshuk at the rear of the town complex to check for northern lights and there they were in all their glory. Travelers spent an hour watching and photographing the aurora capping off an incredible Churchill day.
Natural Habitat Adventures travelers and northern lights.

Natural Habitat Adventures group with the northern lights blazing in the sky. Drew Hamilton photo.

Epic Photo Earns Top Honor For Photographer

Foxes Don Gutoski

Image of a red and Arctic fox after the red hunted the Arctic in the Wapusk National Parc in Manitoba. Don Gutoski photo.

An incredible image captured by Canadian physcian Don Gutoski has earned the photographer the honor of 2015 Wildlife photographer of the Year. Gutoski works as an accident and emergency physcian out of London, Ontario and moonlights as an amateur photographer. His graphic photo won the international competition organized by the Natural history museum in London, U. K. by beating out 42,000 entries from 96 countries.

Gutoski’s image, A Tale of Two Foxes, was taken in the protected polar bear denning area Wapusk National Park at Cape Churchill to the east of Churchill.

With warming temperatures and natural species cycles, red foxes have overlapped more territory with Arctic foxes over the past decade. Some years one species will be more predominant than the other and red fox now seem more prevalent in recent years.

The photo was taken after three hours in roughly -30C temperatures. When the red fox was close enough with its fallen prey, Gutoski snapped the photo. The red fox then gathered the carcass remains and cached it out of sight for a later meal.

Contest jury member Kathy Moran, also senior editor for natural history projects for National Geographic, called it “one of the strongest single storytelling photographs I have ever seen.” She also added, “The immediate impact of this photograph is that it appears as if the red fox is slipping out of its winter coat. What might simply be a straightforward interaction between predator and prey struck the jury as a stark example of climate change, with red foxes encroaching on Arctic fox territory.”

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