After the military started its official withdrawal in 1964, the 'buffer zone' created by the Fort Churchill base was removed. Polar bears soon appeared in the surrounding communities - Churchill, Akudlik and Dene Village. Bears invaded the various garbage dumps and surrounding area. Churchill wasn't really quite sure what to do with them.
It was pretty wild times. Folks would drive out to the dump to watch (and picnic) with the bears. There are more than a few old photos kicking around of a young chap feeding a … Continue Reading ››
The BBC Spy On Ice series is still one of the best polar bear docs... very cool footage of 'late season' seal hunting. After 'pupping season' is over the ice is really starting to fragment, open water hunting or aquatic stalking are pretty common techniques, albeit less effective.
The latest sea ice chart was released today
and I would say we've hit that 30% usable ice pack barrier that signals the bears return to land. I would say a good percentage of Hudson Bay's … Continue Reading ››
Bears are starting to arrive on shore in larger numbers now. This year it looks to be a bit of a split - with significant numbers coming ashore north of the Churchill River and many still riding the ice far to the south.
Here is an excerpt from ChurchillWild's Seal River blog. Feature image is also couresty of Seal River (www.churchillwild.com)
'Six gorgeous bears spent the day sharing a ringed seal one of them had managed to catch. Said seal made the fatal mistake of falling asleep on a nice warm rock on … Continue Reading ››
During a visit to Seal River Lodge a couple years ago, I had the chance to have a really close encounter with a younger male bear. Sitting close to the fence, I attracted this guy's attention by making eye contact and then slowly looking away - an old buggy driver trick. He came over and very gently and methodically, proceeded to check the entire fence for weakness. He would 'gnaw' at one section of the fence, then step back, think and try another one. It was a pretty neat insight into a bear's though … Continue Reading ››
(continued from previous post - original article appearing in Smithsonian Magazine - Charles Siebert, June 2014)
“We do not claim that our whale was a good mimic compared to such well-known mimics as parrots or myna birds,” Ridgway’s Current Biology
paper concludes. “However, the sonic behavior we observed is an example of vocal learning by the white whale. It seems likely that Noc’s close association with humans played a role in how often he employed his human voice, as well as in its quality.”
Episodes of animal mimicry have … Continue Reading ››
Here is an article from Smithsonian Magazine (Charles Siebert,
June 2014) about a beluga whale captured by Churchill's whale riders in the 1970s...
The Story of Noc
Millions of years before we humans came along, the earth’s oceans were a vast, unbroken web of whale song. The complex courting arias of humpbacks, the distinct clicking dialects of migrating sperm-whale clans, the congalike poundings of Pacific grays, the multi-thousand-mile moans and blips of massive blue and fin whales conversing across oceans at octaves well below our range of hearing, the nearly nonstop … Continue Reading ››
Northern lights are so strong in Churchill, they can be seen even in the summer when the sun barely sets.
Polar bears are back in the Churchill area by early July, keep your eyes open.
View from the Churchill River Flats, a recreation retreat for many Churchillians.
Fog can roll in quickly where the Churchill River meets the cold waters of Hudson Bay.
Beluga whales will swim right along side your zodiac tour.
Snorkelling with beluga whales has fast become one of Churchill’s top attractions. It is a truly amazing experience.
Belugas can grow up to 14′ long and maybe weigh around 2000 lbs.
Almost thirty grain ships visit Churchill each year between July and November.
Belugas can be seen swimming in pods of 6-20 animals, often segregated by sex.
An estimated 57,000 beluga whales live in the western Hudson Bay region, spending summers in the Seal, Churchill and Nelson River estuaries.
Images courtesy of Alex de Vries - www.alexdevriesphotography.com
Bears are starting to come ashore in Churchill. In early June, sea ice was reaching near record levels in Hudson Bay and Davis Strait. However, a late June heat wave and what looks like a lot of NW winds, have really opened things up along western Hudson Bay. You can see on the June 30 Sea Ice map below that NW Hudson Bay has really opened up even though about half the bay remains ice covered.
So, Churchill … Continue Reading ››