This short video clip outlines how privatization crippled the town of Churchill when the Hudson Bay Line was washed out and the Port was abandoned. The private U.S. company Omnitrax refused to fix the tracks and pulled out of port operation for nearly two years. The good news is that the train has returned to Churchill and the outlook for the future of the port is brighter than it has been for the last few years! This Churchill Summer season should be quite the refreshing breath of fresh air for the people of Churchill!
What a season it’s been so far…we’ve had a constant building -up of momentum with haywire activity out in the Churchill Wildlife Management Area down east from Churchill proper. Snowy tundra acts as a stage for sparring bears, not quite in mid -season form though working hard at it each new day.
Polar bears have not been the only drawing card either. Natural Habitat guide Justin and his group experienced a truly rare vision of a wolverine only 200 yards out from launch one chilly dawn. The greyish landscape was broken only by the beautiful animal making its’ way across a frozen pond. The sight will be frozen in memories for lifetimes.
Bonnie Chartier’s travelers viewed three Purple Sandpipers on their first morning out from the lodge on a rover. They were the first ones that were recorded in the province this year and Bonnie reflected she thought she and her groups just missed them last year.
Bonnie and guide Paul Brown have had some close encounters of the gyrfalcon kind in some spruce trees abutting the wide open tundra.
Gyrfalcon atop a black spruce in Churchill. Paul Brown photo.
After leaving the lodge and crossing the lake, guide Karen Walker and group were heading out into the CWMA with driver Bill behind the wheel when he spotted a lemming in his headlights. “The lemming was running along the edge of the road, in and out of the frozen grass. We got a nice look at it. Then a bit later, Bill and the three guests at the front of the rover got a quick glimpse at an ermine as it ran across the road. The weather got very stormy with sideways snow & very strong wind. We were warm & cozy in our rover.” reported Karen.
Red fox working the tundra. Colby Brokvist photo.
Natural Habitat guide Colby brokvist and band of travelers experienced comfortable temperatures hovering around freezing…quite comfortable for wildlife viewing.
“We had several sightings each day and a bunch of bears right off the rover including sparring bears at the lodge. Turns out I didn’t take any shots of the bears but I did grab some of a very charismatic red fox we saw out at Cape Merry.” reported Colby.
Early season photo of a sleepy polar bear. Paul Brown photo.
This season has provided incredible fox sightings this year including a long sighting of silver fox for Colby’s group out near along the flats. The group watched it hunt lemmings and scare up a big flock of willow ptarmigan. A spruce grouse out near the Tundra Lodge, a strange place for such a sighting, and a late season tundra swan fly by were nice additions to this season’s varied sight list.
The late season shipping news continues to impress as ships relay in and out of Churchill’s port. One ship went out and there has been up to five waiting out in the bay….giving a strange sense of invasion to the normally placidly empty horizon.
POLAR BEAR ALERT BLOTTER
11 bears contained in the compound as of October 27th.
With the Arctic summer coming soon..although recent weather in Churchill does not point to that fact…I thought some of my favorite pics would be a good way to get travelers heading north in the mood. And, maybe some might even spur you on to book a spot on one of the most incredible trips in the far north.
Tundra Swans on a thermakarst in the Churchill Wildlife Management area. Ed Bouvier photo.
Beluga whales rise up from the Churchill River. Steve Selden photo.
Former owner and founder of Sea North Tours, Mike Macri, educates travelers on beluga whale biology at the boat dock in Churchill,MB. Steve Selden photo.
An amazing train trip to Churchill from Winnipeg on VIA Rail. Steve Selden photo.
A large male beluga whale glancing up curiously at our zodiac. Steve Selden photo.
A beluga whale popping out from the Churchill River near the mouth where visibility is amazing. Steve Selden photo.
A baby calf beluga swimming in his mother’s slipstream to stay close. Steve Selden photo.