Watchful Mother

Polar Bear Blog – Family Matters

Well, this was a big 'bear day'.  We started early and 'chased' bears until almost dusk, not too often you see eight bears around this early in the season. Last night, after getting hopelessly stuck on the beach ourselves (rain go away), we came across a rental vehicle equally hopelessly stuck a little further east.  While we were pulling them out, they mentioned that a mother with two cubs was hanging out just in the rocks beside us - good to know... Anyway, we thought we would get a headstart this morning and be back there for … Continue Reading ››
Pretty Bear

Polar Bear Blog – Pretty Bear

After a pretty busy morning meeting the train and even more unpacking, we managed to get out for a quick bear tour in the afternoon.  Sure enough, Ithaca Cove managed to provide a pretty special encounter. Today, a young female was nestled in the rocks near the bay.  She was pretty content, nose pointing out to the water as the tide receded.  She had a tiny bit of blood on her lips and paws so that's a pretty good indication of some early season hunting success.  When she finally stood up, she looked to be in … Continue Reading ››
Snowy Owl

Polar Bear Blog – Snowy Owl Sighting

It was raining today so our bear cruise was a little less eventful, bears are not really too excited about rain, no one is really.  However, we did manage to find a snowy owl perched along the rocky shore of Hudson Bay. Snowy owls are actually one of the most exciting and notable sightings up here.  I would say even more exciting than bears for long-time guides.  They are elusive and difficult to stalk.  You only have about three chances after they initially 'stare you down'. Their eyes do not move in their sockets like ours do, … Continue Reading ››
CMB_1398aaa

Polar Bear Blog – To-Do Lists

Woke up this morning to a blanket of white across the yard and tundra. Temperatures hover around zero right now so the snow is slowly turning into sludge and slush but its sticking around, at least for today. Its kind of a double-edged sword since I was hoping to clean the yard and get prepared for the season today. So, snow cover obviously helps me pretend that the yard is tidy but it doesn’t do much to get the skirting back on my cabin. Might have to pour another coffee and ponder the situation a … Continue Reading ››
Dave the Bear

Polar Bear Blog – First Bear of the Season

This afternoon, we were heading over to the ‘Churchill Gun Range’ (technically just a gravel berm with some pallets just south of the highway) to shake the rust off and test out Karine’s new gun, a nice old Lee-Enfield .303, a Canadian Rangers special. But, as bears are wont to do, one showed up and changed our plans. We were just leaving Camp Nanuq when we spotted a white dot meandering along the willow ridge near Bird Cove. It seemed to be making its way towards the Ithaca so we watched him through binoculars for a … Continue Reading ››
Churchill Train Station

Polar Bear Blog – Arrival

A cool breeze off the bay greeted us as we jumped of the ‘Bayline’. The train was late, arriving in mid-afternoon about five hours behind schedule and, keep in mind, this is behind the ‘new’ schedule where a few hours had simply been added to make us feel like the train was running on time. The more things change… But, that familiar chill in the air is a good feeling. It means bear season is here and along with it, familiar faces, new friends and, of course, bears are bound to follow. The train station is … Continue Reading ››
Shark Bear

Polar Bear Blog – Churchill, Kaktovik and Arviat

Kaktovik is quickly securing its place as a premium destination for polar bear photography.  As yet, it does not have the tourism infrastructure of Churchill or the variety of activities for visitors but its bear-viewing opportunities, I would say, are on par albeit quite different. In Churchill, the bears gather each fall, gradually building in numbers as they await the return of the ice and early season seal hunting.  Although they forage through the summer, there is a real sense of 'anticipation' in the bears and a wide variety of behaviours as they wait for the … Continue Reading ››
male-ridge

Polar Bear Blog – The Myth of Walking Hibernation

There is no shortage of myths and misconceptions surrounding polar bears and the arctic but possibly the most prevalent are the ideas surrounding walking hibernation. (Actually, I believe that researchers who first coined that word have now backed away from the terms but for now, we'll stick with walking hibernation.) So, polar bears have this amazing adaptation in which their metabolic rate slows down after about a week or so without food.  They remain awake during this 'hibernation' but their body, essentially, is using less resources and this allows them to withstand prolonged periods of fasting. … Continue Reading ››

Polar Bear Blog and Churchill Manitoba Travel Guide