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Posts Tagged ‘polar bear’

Life is good in the land of the Great Ice Bears!

Polar Bear Photo Safari - Churchill Wild - Seal River Heritage Lodge

How's that for an unscripted polar bear pose?

Ahhh… life is good in the home of the Great Ice Bears! A 9-bear day! Plus multiple colored foxes, gyrfalcons and a fine finish with a gorgeous wolverine on the runway.

Peek-a-boo bear was part of the troupe that came by to check out our fuel drums and ensure that they were all stored safely. Due to multiple bear interruptions today, numerous false starts were made to leave the Lodge on our ground level walking excursions with polar bears.

Poor Andy kept chasing all over the coastline trying to get eager cameras within range of two different sets of mothers and cubs. He succeeded in tiring out his big lens hikers but did manage to get in close at ground level for another round of great shots.

We have had some spectacular light with clear sunny days and temperatures down to -18 C. The high number of silver, cross and colored foxes is surpassed only by the spectacular number of pine martens here this year.

All makes for busy days out on the land with many active shutterbugs!

Polar Bears Sparring at Churchill Wild on the Polar Bear Photo Safari

Sparring polar bears made for some great photos!

World’s largest land carnivore gets right of way as fall polar bear season begins

Big Churchill polar bear at Seal River on Hudson Bay

World's largest land carnivore has right of way here

by Andy MacPherson

The start of a new fall polar bear season!

The Turbo Beaver being busy down south, our first group of guests arrived in style in a helicopter, landing right at our front door. After settling into their rooms and taking in a brief safety orientation, we had them out viewing polar bears Churchill Wild style before lunch.

There were three bears in the immediate vicinity and all were accommodating. We were able to get close and view all three without disturbing them from their day beds. At this time of year the polar bears are focused on conserving as much energy as possible in anticipation of freeze up and the availability of their favourite meal, ringed seals, which will help them replenish their waning fat reserves.

On our way back to the lodge for lunch we discovered that the first bear we’d stopped to view earlier had ambled into the bay north of us. He was now comfortably bedded down in a bed of kelp lying on his back; stretching and playing with a piece of kelp, pulling it gently threw his teeth as if he were flossing.

After lunch we hiked out towards the west, to Swan Lake and back. We were met by a subadult bear on our way back, walking towards us up the path. He stopped when we asked him to, looking a little confused as to why we were blocking ‘His’ way.  We moved off to one side, giving him the right of way – a smart thing to do when questioned by a polar bear. He passed by at a safe distance as our hearts pounded, pausing to get a good scent of us and posing for a few great photos along the way.

We are often approached by polar bears while we are out on hikes and away from the safety and comfort of the lodge. These are always exciting moments, and important times to be very observant of bear behaviour. Every bear that approaches us acts differently based on life experiences past and present. Negative or positive, these experiences will influence the way a bear reacts to us. This initial communication will determine our response to each approaching bear. While polar bears aren’t usually vocal, they do communicate very well through subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) body language and behaviour.

We watched the bear as he moved away from us and continued down the path towards Swan Lake, our excitement at his approach subsiding slightly as we moved back on to the path. Some of the guests asked where the bear was going and what he was thinking; how old he was and how much he weighed. Others marveled at what had just happened.

The largest land carnivore on the planet, a Churchill polar bear, had just walked by us and gone about his business, whatever that might be. It just wasn’t us…

at the moment.

Close Encounters with Polar Bears

Angela Saurine was at Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge last summer and wrote for media outlets in Australia about her adventure.

It wasn’t until around lunchtime that we spotted our first polar bear wandering along the tidal flats in the distance its muddy brown feet making a stark contrast to its pure white body.

Another is swimming in the bay and a couple of others can be seen on the horizon. We decide to drive closer and stop for lunch.

“If we stay in one place for a while,” our native guide, Butch, says, “the bears will get used to us and come to us.”

To read the full story, click here.

Angela also posted a video to the News.com.au website. It can be found here.

Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge

Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge

Close Encounters of the Bear Kind – Churchill Wild Makes Dreams Come True

A Polar Bear Checks out What is Going On in the Kitchen

A Polar Bear Peeks in Through The Bars

After visiting Clyde River and then Pond Inlet further north on Baffin Island back in 2005 and 2007, hoping to see Polar Bears in the wild and being disappointed in not seeing any there, we finally tried at Churchill Wild in Northern Manitoba in October of 2009.

Not knowing whether it was going to be third time lucky or not for us this time round, our trip actually turned out to be everything that we expected and more. We got to see Polar Bears at last! Lots of them, up close and personal, and on one occasion, even one large male pushing his nose through the bars across the open window of the hallway near the kitchen in the lodge.

His breath blowing into my face – which was only about two feet away from his – while I thanked my lucky stars (afterwards that is) that I had my camcorder rolling at the moment I stood in stunned silence before this ice giant. Shivers ran down my spine, tingling in excitement at this close encounter I never dreamed would happen to me.

You just cannot get better, or closer, than that! Fantastic experiences, thank you Churchill Wild for being in existence and for making my dreams finally come true.

Mike and Julie Trayhum 2009                  

Up Close and Personal with the Polar Bears – Churchill Wild lets you meet them Face to Face

Every day at Seal River Lodge brings something new, but two factors always remain the same. One is the food. Two is the Great Ice Bear.
Guide Andy has a friendly chat with a new arrival

Guide Andy has a friendly chat with a new arrival

You never go hungry, and every day brings a new culinary delight. Whether it’s a hearty soup to warm you up after the morning hike and photo shoot with two playful polar bears, or fresh artisan bread coming out of the oven only minutes before it is served at your table – it’s always special.

The Great Ice Bear, also referred to as Nanuk, the local Inuit name for polar bear, are the main reason people visit the lodge. These great white bears of the North are constantly around the lodge, and because this is the only place on the Hudson Bay that you can literally “walk” with the polar bears, guests have the opportunity to meet them face to face.

For example, last week one of our guides had the chance to “talk” with one of the young polar bears who seemed to be interested in what Andy had to say. A little while later he cautiously approached the fence. All that could be heard was the sound of camera shutters, as guests took picture after picture. Inside the lodge you could hear lodge owner Mike Reimer singing what always seems to be his motto at this time of year.

“Bears to the left of me, bears to the right, here I am… stuck in the middle with Bears.”

What's for lunch? Shaggy Bread?

What's for lunch? Shaggy Bread?

Interested in trying some of our Artisan Bread for yourself?  Here is Helen Webber’s recipe for what she calls Shaggy Bread.

“I have tried a number of recipes for Ciabatta breads,” says Helen, “And all of them have been delicious, but none have been this EASY and delicious!”

Shaggy Bread (Ciabatta Bread Recipe)

Ingredients

  • 3 cups Warm Water
  • 1 ¼ Tbsp. Sea Salt, Kosher Salt or 1 Tbsp. Table Salt
  • 1 ½ Tbsp. Yeast, instant or regular
  • 6 cups Flour – Unbleached or All Purpose – I often substitute 1 cup of some type of whole grain flour for a total of 6 cups

Preparation Instructions

  1. Mix the water, salt and yeast, stirring to dissolve in a 16-cup container preferably with a lid.  I use a gallon ice cream pail.
  2. Add the six cups of flour and stir with a wooden spoon until all the flour is moistened.  It should look like shaggy dough when you’re done.  It will not be a smooth like regular bread dough and it will be quite sticky.
  3. Cover with lid (don’t put it on tightly) or plastic wrap and let sit in a warm place for two hours. Then refrigerate until ready to bake.
  4. Cut off about a third of the dough and shape into a ball on a well floured counter.  Place on a baking sheet that has been well sprinkled with cornmeal.  The whole sheet doesn’t have to be covered with cornmeal, just an area a little larger than the dough ball.  Be sure the top is well covered with flour.
  5. Let rise for 40 to 50 minutes on the counter. Slice the top two or three times.
  6. Begin preheating the oven to 450 degrees about 20 minutes before it is time to bake the bread. Place a broiler pan on the floor of a gas oven, or on the bottom rack of an electric oven.
  7. When the oven is hot, place the bread on the rack above the pan and then immediately throw a cup of hot water into the pan. Close the oven quickly. Bake for 20 minutes and then reduce the oven to 400 degrees and bake for another 20 minutes.
  8. Remove from the pan and cool on a rack.

This bread dough will keep in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. It just gets to be more of a sourdough as it ages. There is no need to wash the container between batches. It can also be doubled if you have a big enough container. A little wetter dough will give a different but still delicious result, as will slightly heavier dough.

Experiment and have fun!