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.

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“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.

Notes From the Field – Churchill Arctic Summer

Churchill’s Arctic summer season for Natural Habitat Adventures groups has been incredibly exciting so far. Aside from the bountiful array of beluga whales in the Churchill River and Hudson Bay, there’s been some polar bear action out on Eskimo point just north of Fort Prince of Wales. This peninsula of land juts into the bay and the isostatic rebound over the years has caused the land to emerge from the water and grow in size.
Polar bear churchill

Male polar bear holding his position on Eskimo Point. Moira Le Patourel photo.

The “point” has also become traditional resting spot for polar bears in the summer months and quite often mother’s and cubs are found there. Because it is somewhat isolated from the town, it may attract bears hoping to nab a seal or beluga whale venturing too close to shore. I have seen bears swimming across from Cape merry over the years and a couple of times we were able to approach them fairly closely in zodiacs.
polar bear churchill, Manitoba

Male polar bear on Eskimo Point. Moira Le Patourel photo.

Natural Habitat guide Moira Le Patourel and her group of travelers spotted three polar bears in this area just a few days ago. These were the first such sightings of this incredible Arctic summer campaign. The first healthy adult male polar bear was seen from Cape Merry with a spotting scope looking across to Eskimo Point. A little later the group was able to get up close in zodiacs during a whale watching excursion. What a way to see two of the largest animals in the Arctic at the same time.
Mother and cub polar bear Churchill, MB

Mother and her cub on the tip of Eskimo Point. Moira Le Patourel photo.

Continuing out into the crystal clear waters of the Hudson Bay, the group came to the tip of the point and was surprised by a mom and cub nestled in the rocks and enjoying a beautiful day in the north. Travelers were ecstatic with their fortune!
Travelers on this trip took advantage of the fantastic water clarity and engaged in some snorkeling with belugas in the Churchill River and kayaking with the whales as well. One tandem kayak had the incredible thrill of getting “fluked” as a beluga slapped the water with his tail as he submerged for a dive. Water cascaded over the travelers and their boats.
The icing on the was documenting 31 various bird species over the course of the trip. Highlights were a short-eared owl,  northern goshawk, pacific loons and young, tundra swans and cygnets and an Arctic tern chick.
Churchill sunset and beach.

Sunset from the beach in Churchill. Moira Le Patourel photo.

Fireweed is beginning to bloom across the tundra and white mountain avens are fast disappearing…summer is already half over in Churchill!


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