Polar Bear Blog

Polar bears hunting belugas, family greeting, highlight final week of Birds, Bears and Belugas

Waiting for belugas at Seal River. Boomer Jerritt photo.
Waiting for belugas at Seal River. Photo by Churchill Wild guide Boomer Jerritt.

by Paul Scriver, Churchill Wild Polar Bear Guide

Summer is waning at Seal River Heritage Lodge and the first signs of seasonal change are afoot.

The willow bushes and dwarf birches are just starting to change colour and glints of yellow and red are beginning to appear on the tundra. The fireweed is almost done, with only the occasional plant capped with petals on the very top. They will soon go to seed and spread through the tundra ready to colonize any disturbed ground.

Polar bear cub in late season fireweed at Seal River Heritage Lodge. Paul Scriver photo.
Polar bear cub in late-season fireweed at Seal River Heritage Lodge. Photo by Paul Scriver.

Berry season is in full swing with the cloud berries ripening to their pale yellow-orange, and blueberries, stemless raspberries and many more showing up. The polar bears have begun grazing on the berries, taking full advantage of this plentiful food source.

Bear food! Photo by Churchill Wild guide Terry Elliot.
Bear food! Photo by Churchill Wild guide Terry Elliot.

Some cooler winds from the north and falling temperatures have brought the first few flocks of snow geese in, and they will soon blanket the mudflats and tundra as they make their way south to warmer climates. We’re still experiencing the occasional warm sunny day though, and we’re taking full advantage of it!

Polar bear with whale tail at Seal River. Photo by Churchill Wild guest Jack Moss.
Polar bear with whale tail at Seal River. Photo by Churchill Wild guest Jack Moss.

During the last Birds, Bears and Belugas trip of 2019, we took the Zodiacs to the Seal River twice to experience some amazing moments. Our magical full-day adventure was capped off by polar bears hunting belugas (diving into the water after beluga whales), and this was nearly eclipsed by a bit of feeding behaviour observed the next morning.

Look who arrived to greet us back at the lodge! Photo by Churchill Wild guest Jack Moss.
Look who arrived to greet us back at the lodge! Photo by Churchill Wild guest Jack Moss.

When we returned from the river, we were met by a bear on the boat ramp and a Mom and two COY’s (cubs of the year) milling around the fence. All in all, it was a great way to end an amazing season, and we’re already looking forward to Birds, Bears and Belugas next year!

The Seal River Lodge Experience

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