Polar Bear Blog

Photographer Ian Johnson returns to Seal River for polar bears, wolves, northern lights and snow

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Story and photos courtesy of Ian Johnson Safaris and Photography

It was fantastic to be back at one of my favourite places on earth this fall, Seal River Heritage Lodge, and seeing the surrounding area covered in snow and some new ice! It was a vastly different landscape compared to the vibrant bright fireweed and emerald green grasses of my July summer bears and beluga visit to the Lodge.

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I was ready for more snow and ice on the fall trip, and was expecting temperatures to drop, but nature always has the last say, and it started to get remarkably warmer, melting almost everything. But the interesting weather behaviour did not stop us from getting some amazing wildlife sightings as always!

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A real wildlife treat and surprise was the appearance of a relaxed young sub-adult lone wolf, who gave us incredible photographic opportunities including close up portraits, pouncing on lemmings in the last snow, and posing in the glorious winter sunrise.

Bob (the polar bear), my friend who I first met five years ago, was back, bigger and more mature, and showing additional scars from life out on the ice. Another special wildlife sighting was our very own circus bear, who preceded to give us a great show, eventually ending up balancing perfectly on all four feet on a block of slippery ice!

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I almost got my dream shot of a polar bear backgrounded by brilliant northern lights, but sadly, the bear turned out to be a human with a Churchill Wild logo bear on his back instead.

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On our last day, a mother polar bear and her cub bedded down close to the Lodge and came around posing and showing off to bring a fine end to yet another great adventure at Seal River!

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