Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Churchill Polar Bears 12th November 2015

My final day in Churchill brought glorious light, and after a slow morning, a wonderful bear sighting were a bear crossed right in front of my car, and then onto the beach, where it lay down until sunset. My sadness at leaving Churchill for another year was tempered by the warmth of the people I met, and said my goodbyes to on this day. There was to follow a long journey home: two days and nights by train, and then two flights, the transatlantic one overnight. This gave plenty of time to savour the memories of this trip, and feel gratitude that I was able to have such life-affirming experiences.

3rd November
4th November
5th November
6th November
7th November
8th November
9th November
10th November
11th November
12th November 

Churchill Polar Bears 11th November 2015

My penultimate day in Churchill started with a sighting of mother and two cubs close to the airport (below); they thankfully then moved away from town, though I wasn't to encounter them again. The weather by this stage of my trip had become far milder, leading to some of the ice forming in the bay to break up, and postponing the freeze up. Last year, the Bay started to freeze on 13th November, giving the bears a longer season to hunt seals. I've included a few landscape shots in this posting to give an impression of the bleak beauty of the tundra, which I find so atmospheric.

Churchill Polar Bears 10th November 2015

10th November was my final outing on a Tundra Buggy, this time with Frontiers North. The day's viewing started slowly, but in the afternoon we observed two bears play-fighting for at least 40 minutes continuously. I took hundreds of pictures of this delightful spectacle, a few of which I've chosen below.

Churchill Polar Bears, 9th November 2015

This was an intensely cold day; most of the bears were sheltering from the -28C wind chill, conserving energy, and so appeared to be inactive. However, the stark beauty of the blowing snow was magical, and my patience was rewarded with a wonderful bear sighting in the rocks at Bird Cove as the light was fading. The evening also saw a second appearance during my visit of the Northern Lights, though this time only the more common green colours were visible, indicating a lower intensity solar storm.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Churchill Polar Bears, 8th November 2015

8th November was a snowy day with limited visibility, and challenging conditions for photography, but I was rewarded by some close viewing in the Bird Cove area. Indeed, for me, the greater likelihood of snow is motivation for visiting Churchill in November towards the end of the polar bear season instead of October. One curious bear approached my car closely, The weather cleared towards the end of the afternoon, with magical golden light.