Thursday, 21 July 2016

Tundra Adventures...

Day four of my visit to Churchill, Manitoba on the shores of the Hudson Bay and the town has really grown on me. The people are so friendly and helpful - not least our guides at the Lazy Bear Lodge. Today we were up at 5am for a 6am private snorkel trip with the Belugas. We took a small Zodiac out into the Churchill River where I could test my little action cam and get some great filming opportunities. They would come right up to us, which gave me the opportunity to get some unique footage. As soon as I get back I'll edit and add to this post, they are amazing creatures.

Heading out to get close to Belugas with
our guide, Addie.
Getting close to Belugas: R. Harris

After an hour we made our way back to Lazy Bear so that we could join a Tundra Tour aboard one of the Lodge's Arctic Crawler vehicles. These vehicles are specially made to cause minimum damage to the tundra by spreading the weight across the huge tyres, which makes them superb on the snow too. They can accommodate 40 people but are only ever filled to a max of 25, so there's always plenty of room on board for guests and equipment. They have on-board washrooms and a kitchen for preparing meals so you can stay out on the tundra (or ice)  all day if necessary and the Polar bears can take a look at you without putting anyone in danger. It also made a great mobile hide for summer use.

Arctic Crawler - ideal for getting close to Polar bears.

Distant Pacific Loon on a taiga pool
The wreck of the Ithaca just east of Churchill
Snow Geese starting to build in numbers
Judd, our guide from the Lodge.
An amazing person with incredible knowledge
and always looking out for the bears
The beach shown above also yielded 18 Hudsonian Godwit and a handful of Hudsonian Whimbrel too but a bit distant for photos.

Mid afternoon we went kayaking back on the Churchill River with the Belugas but not before spotting a small group of Greater Yellowlegs and another White-crowned Sparrow near the town Port.

Greater Yellowlegs enjoying the sun.
Keeping the mosquito population in check a
White-crowned Sparrow 
Tomorrow we head out again to try and reach Hubbard Point on the Samuel Hearne and hopefully get to see more Polar Bears.

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