Churchill Video of the Week – Orcas

In guiding 10 years of exciting Churchill Arctic Summer adventures in Churchill, there was only one year that we had orca or killer whales appear in the Hudson Bay. Unfortunately, we were not out on the water for the brief encounter and had to be satisfied, or more aptly phrased, frustrated and dismayed to see the incredible photos later on.

killer whales in the Hudson Bay near Churchill, Manitoba.

Orca’s in the Hudson Bay. Dwight Allen photo.

It seems that with the global warming discussion there have been some noticeable environmental changes that the politicians and analysts don’t see from such a personal perspective. Orca whales have been surfacing more routinely in the Arctic waters of the Hudson Bay and people have been able to document their presence. The shift in territorial presence perhaps is a sign that the weather patterns are changing and new species are able to adapt to a new region more easily. Traditionally, killer whales have had a hard time infiltrating the ice – packed Arctic waters due to their large dorsal fin. As ice is receding and lasting shorter periods in the north, orcas are broadening their range and becoming even more of a predator of seals and other Arctic whales like belugas and narwhals. It is pretty impressive to see these beautiful creatures in the wild.

Churchill Photos of the Week – Belugas

So I guess I lied about the last beluga whale photos I posted by writing they would the final shots of the season. These clear underwater shots by Douglas Kahle are some real gems. We can’t seem to get enough looks at these incredible mammals that return to the Churchill waters every year.

Beluga migration map

Google Earth map of beluga whales moving north for the winter.

Almost all of the belugas are on their journey north by now, many to the Hudson Straits area where they will overwinter. The straits have open water or polynas that allow the whales to surface for air from time to time as needed. The above map is from 10 days ago so whales are further north and traversing the Hudson Bay at this point.

Beluga churchill

Beluga underwater in Churchill. Douglas Khale photo.

beluga Douglas Kahle 3

Pod of belugas underwater. Douglas Kahle photo.

Belugas in Churchill.

Curios and friendly beluga whales in Churchill. Douglas Kahle photo.

Beluga spyhopping underwater in Churchill. Douglas Kahle photo.

Beluga spyhopping underwater in Churchill. Douglas Kahle photo.

Beluga Feeding Fest

This photograph of a beluga whale pod feeding on capelin in the Churchill River illustrates how focused these mammals are when taking on a task. When they feed they will ignore any whale watching boats. However when they have had their fill the whales will become extremely focused on the zodiacs and bigger boats and become very curious. Biding time on the water while the beluga’s get their fill is certainly worth the wait!

Beluga whales

Beluga whales concentrating on getting capelin. Alex De Vries-Magnifico photo.

Belugas and bears near the shore


Keeping polar bears toward the coast. Rhonda Reid photo.

Beluga whale singing kareoke. Sea North Tours photo.

Propeller guards on Sea North Tours boat. Sea North Tours photo.

Beluga whale puckering up for the camera. Sea North Tours photo.

Beluga whale with visible eye. Sea North Tours photo.

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