Polar Bear Blog – A Few Bears On Shore… More To Come

Well, spring is a busy time in the north – especially when you need to hike and paddle as well…  so the blog has been a little quiet (plus I somehow decided to open an art gallery in Carcross, Yukon as if I wasn’t busy enough…)  Anyhoo, here’s what’s up these days.

Open water stretches from Churchill south to York Factory with more water opening up around Seal River and Arviat. Its a bit of a mixed bag this year, there’s still a fair amount of ice but the west side of Hudson Bay is really starting to break up.

The Churchill River broke very early in June, much to the dismay of the visiting film crew (who ended up heading to Rankin Inlet in search of ice) but it was pretty exciting for the beluga whales who returned early this year.

A few bears have come ashore as well, some photos of a young bear down by the Nelson River can be found on our facebook page. It happens – sometimes younger bears just make the wrong decision and swim ashore instead of sticking to the ice, makes for a long year. I would expect an early return to shore this year for a lot of bears, it will take some guts to stay way out on the ice. Possibly a good July for the big males, not so great for everyone else?

It is just a thought, but this year is shaping up to drop a bunch of bears north of Churchill, probably good for Seal River Lodge but also carry a fair amount of our bears all the way to Ontario, resulting in a slow start to bear season over here. We’ll see.

The port is slowly rising from hibernation, still probably a month away from real shipping in Hudson Bay though. Things sound fairly good for the port again this year but its also the last year of the grain shipping subsidy so everyone is still on their toes. Then again, Hudson Strait is already open (very early!) so once Hudson Bay clears up a bit, the shipping lane could open very quickly.

Aside from that, the hubbub from the Disney film has started to wear off, mostly folks are enjoying the Flats, the beaches and Camp Nanuq. Birds have settled into their nesting habitat and are much less visible. Loons patrol the lakes, geese patrol the freezers and sled dogs sweat out the heat and bugs.

Churchill’s greenhouses are in full swing plus a new community garden has been set up near the water treatment plant, complete with Edgar’s signature design style. Smoke from a number of fires looms to the southwest, threatening both some communities along the line but also parts of the polar bear denning area. The tide comes in and the tide goes out.

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