|Birding in Churchill, Manitoba
June 13 to June 25, 2014
with Jackline and Elston Hill
Churchill is situated at the estuary of the Churchill River at Hudson Bay. Churchill is famous for its polar bears and beluga
whales. It is also a great birding location. Over 150 species of birds frequent the area. The prime time to visit for birds is June
and the first two weeks of July.
We spent our first seven days in Churchill with bird photographer Glenn Bartley and then an additional five days on our own.
Below are links to our pages recounting our visit to Churchill. If you click on the first link or picture, you will find a link to the
next page at the end of each page.
Further down, there is information on travel to Churchill.
Glenn Bartley is an awesome photographer. He has it all. He is a naturalist. He really knows his birds and knows how to bring
them in and frame them in natural surroundings. His photo techniques are the best. We highly recommend his tours which are
limited to very small groups.
Churchill in md-June is a very special place. It is perfect timing for breeding birds and wild flowers but it is still before the
regular tourist season so it is very quiet. The tourist season starts in July with the massive flow of Beluga Whales up and down
the Hudson River. Later in the summer and early fall there is the aurora. After that it is the crazy polar bear season.
When Jackie wanted to do the Polar Bears, I refused to go to Churchill and instead we went to Svalbard which was a better
choice. In Svalbard we were on the twelve passenger S. S. Stockholm for eleven days and had encounters with 37 polar
bears and more than 700 walrus. We also saw the Polar Bears after they had come off the ice, not when they were starving
to get back on the ice. Looking at the Tundra Buggies in Churchill, I knew we made the right decision.
We still might consider going to Churchill for Polar Bears, but not on a Tundra Buggy and not in full season.
Churchill was a wonderful town of 800 people. Everyone was so friendly. We stayed at the Polar Inn Suites which was very
very pleasant. The owner and staff were so helpful and courteous. The restaurants in Churchill were also quite nice and
reasonable, something you will appreciate after going to the one grocery store in town.
We rented a 4x4 pickup truck for five days from Tamrack Rentals and Glenn rented a van from the same company. The
vehicles are very well used but quite decent. One evening our vehicle got stuck in sand. We walked out to the main road and
then Jackie saw some people by a lake having a picnic. We walked over there and these women immediately jumped in their
RV's and towed our truck out of the sand.
The weather in Churchill during our trip was warmer than in the Pacific Northwest. Temperatures were in the seventies with
mostly blue sky. Mosquitoes arrived with a vengeance about half way through the trip. Weather depends on the direction of the
wind and it is possible to get snow any time of year.
To get to Churchill, there is one airline, Calm Air. It is a very pleasant airline to fly. A lunch was served on the way up and a big
cookie on the way back. When I went to check in at Churchill, I put my passport on the counter. The clerk laughed and told me
that she did not need idwntification. She then looked at the roster on her computer and said, "You must be Elston and Jackie."
After checking us in she wheeled out refreshments. We boarded the plane with no security check. It was like flying in the good