Third day of north winds and only a puddle of open water remains on our lake. If this keeps up, the lakes should be thick enough for bears to walk on by tomorrow. I wouldn’t be surprised if the southern edge of these ponds are already being tested out by a few bears.
Frozen lakes are a sure sign that the peak season wave of polar bears are headed for Churchill. Its kind of like a trigger, bears recognize it as yet another step towards the sea ice of Hudson Bay. I would say bear numbers in buggyland should double in the next few days.
After this wave, there will just be one more, where even more bears gather on the coast just days before the bay, itself, freezes. Sometimes they are only around for a couple days but other years, a south wind disperses the ice and we are swimming in bears for a week or more. We will see what happens this year.
The snow looks like its here to stay too. While white is now dominating the other colours a bit, the landscape itself is more active. What was once barren tundra and a rocky coast is now an historical timeline of animal trails. Fox tracks, bear tracks and even bird tracks are scattered along the coastline, giving us a hint of just how much is happening while we’re sleeping or hoping to win meat.
I forgot to mention that we saw four otters at the Goose Creek marina, just south of Churchill. I can’t recall seeing otters around Churchill before so I figured it was pretty neat. Plus, its a pretty good sign that there is (or maybe now was) a health fish population around here. There was even a group of mallards still kicking around just a few days ago. I would think (and hope) all of these guys have retreated south now…
Other than that, three bears are hanging out at Brian’s and another one or two around Bird Cove. I haven’t seen the mother and cubs for a couple days but she is probably nestled into the willows behind the old dump – I will probably figure out a way in there tomorrow, now that the ground is frozen, see if anyone has taken up residence this year.
And, finally, a polar bear jail update. Its still pretty quiet so far, only 13-14 bears handled this year, 8 relocated and I think 5-6 in jail. There have been somewhere around 100 reports this year but it sounds like that was from a handful of bears that hung out near Miss Piggy this summer.
Another bear was spotted at the Flats (a cabin area just south of the railway tracks), not sure if Polar Bear Alert got him or not. There are reports of a houdini bear that has been avoiding the Polar Bear Alert truck yet seen by almost everyone else in town but I think officers tracked him down Thursday night.
Either way, things are about to get a bit busier in Churchill, maybe just in time for Halloween.