Well, what’s the news from Churchill these days? Summer keeps chugging along, the beluga whales come and go with the tides, fireweed has bloomed and wildflower season is tailing off. Birds are getting ready to head south soon too.
Aside from the usual ebb and flow of season, here are a few tidbits from August. Right now, the second ship of the season (the MV Lisa J) is in, loading up grain before heading to Mexico. Military personnel are still kicking around Churchill too – word on the street is that a couple ships will be around for naval exercises this summer. I still say there will be a military base or some hybrid military/research announced in the next few years.
Prime Minister Harper is showing up in about a week, likely to announce how the Port of Churchill is still succeeding without the Canadian Wheat Board or something. I’m thinking it will coincide with some military stuff too – he likes that kind of thing.
Hudson Bay’s killer whales have come and gone. Each year, a pod makes the rounds of Hudson Bay, passing by Churchill in early August much to the chagrin of the local beluga population. By now, I’d say the orcas are likely on to the Belcher Islands before heading back to Hudson Strait for the winter… purely speculation though.
There are a few bears hanging around for the summer, some across the river, another one or two out in buggyland enjoying the summer BBQ on the Buggy season. A big male actually walked through town around 3am last night. Judging by the pictures, he looked pretty fat so kind of unlikely he was looking to eat anyone but you never know.
A few beluga babies have been spotted during the tours this summer, little tan and splotchy newborns being held aloft by their moms. A pretty neat sight – within only a few days they will begin to turn the darker shade of grey of young belugas before maturing to the nice shiny white of adulthood in a couple years.
There’s a forest fire up the Bayline just to the west of the polar bears’ maternity denning area but usually these types of things are self-containing. There is so much water and muskeg in northern Manitoba that, aside from abnormally dry years, they do not cover a lot of distance. Although I did just see that Reuters news service picked up a little story about ‘rare wildfires’ threatening polar bears – the experts say its unusually hot and dry this year, not really what I’ve heard but who knows anymore…
And that’s about it – for now anyway…