A magnificent silver fox by the navy building on the way to the launch “wowed” the group led by Natural Habitat guide Elise Lockton. “such a beautiful color phase of the red fox”, explained Elise. While the arctic foxes are dominating the scene this year the cross and silver fox are adding splashes of color to the tundra’s ever increasing whiteness.
“Heading out to Gordon Point this morning…we came across Sparring bears just past first- tower followed by curious young bears near Ptramigan Alley…standing up on vehicles, under the grate…all around.” reported Elise just this past week. The bear quota for the CWMA is certainly filling up now.
Arctic fox combing the tundra. Brad Josephs photo.
Other sightings included a red breasted merganser in an open creek past the tundra lodge…a little late to be hanging around the north country. As it flew away the group noticed the duck had only one leg. Maybe a sign of it’s delayed migration to the south. Another thrill was spotted by a traveler as the group rumbled over the tundra trail in their rover. A mink running across a frozen pond surprised everyone, even the local Churchillian driving the machine. A rare sighting for sure!
Sow and cub polar bear walk along a frozen tundra pond. Brad Josephs photo.
All in all the season has been extremely full of amazing sightings…both polar bears and all the other amazing species that reside in the region in the winter.
Natural Habitat guide Sean Beckett returned to Winnipeg from a great week in Churchill with his group of hearty travelers! The action started just moments after landing in Churchill, when they came across conservation officers airlifting a 400-lb bear from the polar bear compound. What an amazing start..even though the group as there to see polar bears not watch them being flown away.
Polar bear airlift from compound. Sean Beckett photo.
Closer to town, various red foxes were strolling along the road as they made their way to the hotel. All this before even getting their keys to their rooms! “We kept the great momentum up with a great bout of sparring by two younger males near the lodge during our first rover day, and a handful of bears walking the coast between town and the launch site.”, reported Sean. Not bad for his first year in Churchill. “Our second rover day was complete with a wonderful encounter with a sow and her cub relaxing on a coastal pond.”, he added.
Big polar bear along the Hudson Bay coast. Sean Beckett photo.
After a long day on the tundra, the northern lights provided a spectacular show, so the group rallied to photograph the aurora at the edge of town by the inukshuk. An arctic fox scampered by tripods to add the cherry on top of a busy day.
Northern lights over the Hudson Bay behind the Inukshuk in Churchill. Sean Beckett photo.
On the last morning traveling to the airport, just when Sean and his entourage had thought they had seen their last bear of the trip, they discovered a huge male sleeping in the junk yard next to the naval base. Polar Bear Alert was quick on the scene to “cracker-shell” him over to the coast and away from town. Hopefully he’ll stayed out of trouble…and out of jail. “The bear forecast looks favorable next week, and I’m looking forward to getting back up north with another group tomorrow!” extolled Sean.