Belugas and bears on the Churchill River

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July 15th 2017
Published: July 15th 2017
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Hello, oh happy days!

Much to report from today's adventure. Today we went out on to the river and saw the star of this entire show - the belugas. At first we saw just a spattering of them - a few here, a few there, but after awhile we came upon a large pod of a hundred or so and were right in the think of them. The males tend to run together, while females are more likely to be found with child in tow or in some sort of supportive role after they have stopped childrearing. Their colors vary depending on their sex, age and also their molting process. Yes, beluga whales molt. Perhaps it is because they come into the estuary, but there isn't a definitive answer as to why these mammals molt.

As if beluga whale sighting wasn't enough - we also saw polar bears! Five in total, two of which were cubs. Apparently during the summer they are experience something of an "existential crisis" as one internet source called it,though a more apt term may be "walking hibernation" due to a lack of hunting opportunities - know what that feels like dad? Never in my life did I think I would see polar bears in the wild and yet here they are in subarctic Canada.

Along with the bears and whales we saw plenty of local birds including a rusty blackbird later on during a stop at Goose Creek. The rusty blackbird is near to or is endangered, with population counts dropping over 80% in recent years and scientists without a good explanation as to why. Oh - and yesterday those weren't trumpeter swans, they were instead tundra swans. We saw more sandhill cranes and then a harbor seal as well.

Because they belugas were so focused on feeding, pictures were somewhat difficult to get, so will try for better photos later this weekend.

Additional photos below
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