Live from Churchill: Nov 3, 2009

Steve Selden November 3, 2009 0

A daily field report on polar bears from our guide Steve Selden in our Churchill, Manitoba office!  Check out our polar bear tours here.

Polar rover heaters were cranking yesterday as the frigid air flowed from the north. Temperatures were in the low teens F and the bears were on the move again. Another bear was on the move via helicopter as the BBC is here doing a documentary film. Our groups were once again privy to a most intriguing spectacle as the two helicopters flew overhead…one with a bear hanging underneath and the other with a camera poking out of the window. Three bear lifts in three days…nice streak!

Taking a Picture

Photo: Steve Morello

Guide Jared and folks reported ample bears all over the CWMA map as they covered a lot of ground. First off at Bird Cove, a few bears wandered around the beach and on the granatoid Canadian Shield rocks. Nice photo’s with the ice in the background. Then out between Halfway Point and the Lodge, many bears were up and about including a big male standing up against the rover. Then, out at Halfway Point, the day was made when the group witnessed a bear that left the ice along shore and went for a dip…swimming along and getting up on some other flow ice. A good amount of ice blew down from the North a few days ago, pushing up against the land -fast ice forming on shoreline. The ice is unstable and could easily blow back out with a change in winds. Open water pockets still exist due to the ice moving around in the tides. The bear the group watched seemed determined to find some connected ice pans that were here to stay. One guest of Jared’s spotted a Snowy Owl and Jared was out a prize to be determined…a result of a daily contest he offers his people. On the way in to launch Jared spotted the rarer Rock Ptarmigan; a first of the season. The Rock differs from the Willow by having a black chinstrap marking in addition to the distinctive red eyebrow.

Guide Scott brought his group out to Gordon Point where five bears were spotted in the morning. One of those bears was quite interested in the vehicle and sniffed his way around the rover. Huffing and chuffing under the back deck grate was quite an experience for the people. Another big bear was sleeping out on a pond just 20 yards away. Later, out at Gordon Point, a juvenile bear was chased off by a bigger male of about 600 lbs. As the group moved away and along Ptarmigan Alley they were treated to Willow Ptarmigan (go figure) displaying their feathers. All in all a great day.

Guide Karen’s group already had spotted two bears before they made it to launch and it just kept getting better. Out along the coast a bear was out on the ice testing his footing. Farther on, near First Tower, a female was visiting three separate vehicles…inspecting all closely. Cruising along the coast road the group saw several bears on the icy rocks and stopped for lunch with a bear lounging just 40 feet away. Several more bears in the afternoon on the way in and some Ptarmigan to top it off made for an amazing day.

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