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Posts Tagged ‘Churchill Wild’

Award-winning National Geographic photographer Jad Davenport to lead first Polar Bear Photo Safari

Polar bears sparring near Seal River Heritage Lodge.

Polar bears sparring near Seal River Heritage Lodge. Bill Lyne photo.

Jad Davenport

Jad Davenport

Churchill Wild is proud to announce that Jad Davenport, an award-winning author, photographer and filmmaker represented by National Geographic Creative, will lead our first Polar Bear Photo Safari of the season at Seal River Heritage Lodge from October 21-27.

Jad specializes in wilderness photography and is one of the pioneers in the field of digital photography. He shot the first digital cover and inside story for National Geographic Adventure magazine in 2004 and his stories, photos, video shorts and blog posts have appeared in leading publications that include Smithsonian, Popular Photography, Sierra, Audubon, Outside, Men’s Journal, Sunset, ISLANDSCoastal Living and The New York Times among others.

A multiple winner of the prestigious Lowell Thomas Award and Canada’s Northern Lights Award for travel writing and photography, Jad is a former documentary photographer and filmmaker who covered a dozen wars from Bosnia to Iraq. He is a member of The Explorers Club, and has worked in over 150 countries and on all continents.

Jad has photographed extensively in polar regions, with assignments that have included Greenland, Svalbard, Nunavut, Alaska, Siberia, the Russian Far East, Antarctica, the Falklands and South Georgia. This makes him a perfect fit for the Polar Bear Photo Safari, which takes place in the HEART of polar bear country during prime polar bear season from October 21 to November 20, when the polar bears congregate in large numbers along the coast of Hudson Bay waiting for the Bay to freeze so they can begin their annual seal hunt.

The Polar Bear Photo Safari provides discerning photographers with ground level photo opportunities for Arctic wildlife including polar bears, caribou and Arctic fox, on a backdrop of stunning sea and landscapes. The pristine and remote wilderness location of Seal River Heritage Lodge on the Hudson Bay shoreline is ideal for photographing polar bears on ice and snow. Additionally, there are an exceptional number of clear nights for northern lights photography.

Photographs that truly reflect the beauty of the wildlife and their surroundings…

are taken here.

Polar bear paws while Arctic foxes scamper.

Polar bear paws while Arctic foxes scamper. Lydia Attinger photo.

 

For more information about Jad Davenport please visit: www.JadDavenport.com

Arctic Safari begins at Seal River

Blueberry Bears! Mandy Wallmann photo.

Blueberry Bears! Mandy Wallmann photo.

by Mandy Wallmann

The Arctic Safari has begun at Seal River!!

Autumn is definitely in the air. Clouds of Snow Geese seem to magically disappear and reappear suddenly, flashing white in the sun with each turn on the north winds. And with each new frost, the tundra is slowly changing into its stunning variety of fall colours.

Rebecca and Kayla and Cranberries!

Rebecca, Kayla and Cranberries! Marie Woolsey photo.

The polar bears have been plentiful and curious about the happenings at the Lodge. Mork has returned after having clearly spent the last few weeks rolling in blueberry patches. Finally today, another bear — a new bear — joined him, and they lazed away their day tumbling across the tundra together.

We’ve also been seeing more and more foxes around the Lodge. In the last two days we’ve seen one Arctic fox and two Reds!

Our first group of Arctic Safari guests have settled into Churchill Wild’s Caribou camp at Schmok Lake for a couple of nights and the weather was just perfect for them today!

The staff have taken the opportunity to work on projects around the camp, like cranberry picking. If you haven’t already heard, 2014 has been a banner year for berry yields. Today five of us picked 82 cups of cranberries in one hour! That’s a lot of Helen and Marie’s famous Cranberry Cake with Butter Sauce, folks.

And that’s a good thing!

Wild Cranberry Cake with Butter Sauce. Yes, it's Yummy!

Wild Cranberry Cake with Butter Sauce. Yes, it’s Yummy!

Polar bears abound in final week of 2014 Birds, Bears & Belugas Adventure!

Mom and Cubs on final day of Birds, Bears and Belugas. David Walker photo

Mom and cubs on final day of Birds, Bears and Belugas. David Walker photo

by Terry Elliot, Churchill Wild Polar Bear Guide

We had a great time on the Birds. Bears & Belugas Adventure this year thanks to fabulous guests and co-operative wildlife, but the final week was a real treat!

After getting everyone orientated, we set out on a hike to view a young female polar bear on a point just north of the Lodge. We watched her sleeping peacefully and decided to carry on a little further north.

We then got a call on the radio that a mother and her two cubs were approaching the Lodge from the south. We made our way back and had a great view of her as she passed by.

Back to the lodge for appetizers, and another mother with a second year cub emerged from the water and circled around us. Then another mother with two cubs rolled in from the south and sauntered right up to the windows!

We found her more interesting than she found us, so she went down to the beach, dug a day bed and nursed her cubs in full view and beautiful light!

Young polar bears sparring. What a treat! Fred Walker photo.

Young polar bears sparring. What a treat! Fred Walker photo.

We also saw a beautiful black wolf on the flats hunting and watched him for about 30 minutes before hiking out to find the bear that had passed by the dining room windows. Low and behold there were two more bears sparring! And just to top everything off, our beluga swim was incredible!

It was a wonderful ending to a great season of  Birds. Bears & Belugas.

A sincere thank you to all our wonderful guests this year, we really enjoyed your company!

Black wolf says goodbye after a great season!  Fred Walker photo.

Black wolf says goodbye after a great season! Fred Walker photo.

Polar bear outsmarts wolf, or…

Come closer. I won't eat you. I promise.

Come closer. I won’t eat you. I promise.

by Nolan Booth, Director of Lodge Operations, Churchill Wild

Wow, did we have a great breakfast encounter!

Our group of tuckered out carpenters had a little extra sleep, and our 9 a.m. Sunday breakfast was well deserved after many long hours of hard work on the new guest accommodations at Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge.

The sun was shining and there was a light breeze from the east at 9:20 a.m. when Shelby spotted a young polar bear through the scope. The bear was wandering westward down the coast at a fair pace and following the tide line.

At the same time, Mike Sigurdsson noticed a nice black wolf wandering on a sandbar moving eastward towards the Lodge. Someone at the table said, “I wonder what will happen if they meet?”

We found out!

The wolf spotted the bear first and immediately turned and ran 100 metres in the opposite direction. He then stopped for a look. The bear continued to wander west, getting closer by the minute. Then the wolf decided to try a different tactic and bolted straight towards the young stocky white bear.

To everyone’s surprise the polar bear darted and ran straight north into the depths of Hudson Bay. The last we saw of the bear was a swimming white bum heading north.

We decided that one of two things must have happened. First, bears are believed to have a great memory, and this one may have had a previous run-in with a pack of wolves. Second, this bear may have known something we didn’t. The rest of the pack may have been hiding in the willows ready to back up their leader.

Polar bears live in an unforgiving environment and even a small injury could lead to an untimely death, so it’s possible the bear just decided that running (and swimming) away were the safest actions at the time.

He was fat and very healthy after a long winter of eating seals, and a meal at this time of year was not high on the priority list, especially not a wolf…

with an ambush in the waiting.

Whose afraid of the big bad wolf?

No thanks, I’m a little smarter than that.

 

Surrounded by polar bears, sharing a meal at Seal River Lodge

Polar bear mom and cub after seal lunch at Seal River Lodge

Mom and cub relaxing after lunch at Seal River.

by Mike Reimer

Wow! The action at Seal River Lodge is hot and heavy early this year for our great white bears just off the ice!

We’re literally “surrounded” by polar bears as we speak, just point the camera or scope at a point on the compass and you’re likely to see one or two bears. We’re not sure what caused this early concentration but we are not complaining!

Ever wondered what groups of animals are called?

Here at Seal River we have “gaggles” of geese, a “paddling” of duck, a “convocation” of eagles, a “colony” of gulls, a “husk” of Arctic Hares, and today we had a spectacular “sloth” of polar bears.

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 lodge point while the tide was going out and forgot to leave, ending up several hundred meters from the receding water line. This is huge no-no when you are trying to survive on a coastline liberally sprinkled with hungry polar bears and you also happen to be loaded with thousands of calories of their favourite snack, seal fat!

This must have been one of those seals that didn’t belong in the gene pool, and it certainly provided hours of incredible polar bear watching for our Churchill Wild guests. The bears are satiated and fresh as they emerge from their icy Hudson Bay hunting grounds, but they’re certainly not going to pass up an easy meal.

At times there were as many as six bears, including a couple of family groups that were graciously sharing their prize. This certainly won’t be the case come fall when the new ice is forming and the last seal-meal is a distant memory. At present the bears look very well fed and in fabulous shape, so we’re looking forward to another great summer!

Shaping up to be one of our best polar bear viewing seasons yet!