We arrived in Churchill just after breakfast, to surprisingly mild temperatures, wet snow and
no sign of the early freeze up (by recent standards) in 2012 and 2013, which angered well for bear viewing. My plan was to explore the road system and trails in the area by car to observe bears, which gather in Churchill at this time of year waiting for the sea to freeze. This is one of the first places for ice to form on Hudson Bay as the river dilutes the salt water. During the summer period when they are on land, there are no food sources able to significantly nourish polar bears, and they enter a form of walking hibernation. This ice formation is critical to allow them to hunt for ringed seal.
Visibility was less than ideal, but I enjoyed one memorable sighting mother and a single juvenile crossing the road in front of me and walking onto a frozen lake.
Houses in the town of Churchill
I have blogged extensively about the experience of visiting Churchill in the past, and I'd recommend that you refer back to my account of the 2010 visit if you are interested in reading about how it feels to visit such a remote area for the first time. My main aim this year is to share some of my photographs of polar bears, the first of which you can see below: