November 12 – Churchill awoke today to a view of an ice-free coastline thanks to prevailing south winds overnight. Morning helicopters confirmed that this was the case along the length of the Cape Churchill coastline. The day felt only mildly cold due to the relatively warm winds. Out on the tundra, travelers encountered polar bears throughout the day, and there were several instances of polar bears walking among the tundra vehicles. Other reports, from helicopters and locals, told of bears moving along the coastline throughout the Churchill area. These sightings included several family groups and adult males. Sightings of gyrfalcon, ptarmigan and red fox rounded out the day. The ice moving out today is good news for bear watchers. Though cold temperatures will ultimately freeze the bay again, a hard freeze-up has been delayed and polar bear watching continues to be productive.
Caribou are an intrinsic part of the northern ecosystem and cover a wide area of the landscape at times when the migration is in full swing. This northern video of a massive migration across the tundra gives a glimpse of the immensity of a full-scale herd on the move. While Churchill is part of the migration route, most herd sightings occur out at Cape Churchill near Wapusk National Park.Caribou wander into the Churchill Wildlife Management Area and often can be spotted out near the coast as well. I have seen parts of migratory herds but never a full-scale herd on the land. On my bucket list for sure. Enjoy!
Explore.org has this polar bear cam based at Cape Churchill inside Wapusk National Park. It won’t be long before even these polar bears are heading to the ice in this incredibly late polar bear season. North winds and frigid temperatures have returned to the region and the hungry polar bears will migrate out as soon as the ice supports them. This is the latest polar bears have been on land around Churchill in many years!
Here are the polar bear stats for the past week in Churchill. There’s still good numbers of bears in the Polar Bear Holding Facility. South winds might add a twist to the polar bear numbers on the coast and out at Cape Churchill. We will keep everyone posted on the affect the weather has on the polar bears in Churchill over the next couple of weeks!
Polar bear season in Churchill has been steady this year though the Manitoba Conservation report indicates there are numerous polar bears out at Cape Churchill. They should start to migrate along the coast west towards Churchill in the next week or so. The temperatures have been pretty mild so bears are isolated in certain areas at the moment. Stay tuned for more action from the CWMA!