Birds, Bears & Belugas

What could be better than seeing the legendary polar bears up close, in their natural summer habitat? How about swimming with beluga whales? Or spotting over a hundred bird species, many of them so-called ‘lifers’? All while staying in a luxury eco lodge in Canada, with a spectacular backdrop of warm weather tundra..

This (and more) is what you can expect from just one of the Arctic adventures from Churchill Wild, who specialise in polar bear safaris and wildlife experiences here in the far north. Birds, Bears & Belugas is their summer programme, and while adrenaline is high, it’s suitable for families – and conveniently timed for school holidays too. Here’s a little of what you can expect.

Whether you’re a seasoned twitcher or a birding amateur, you’ll enjoy seeing countless birds during your seven-day trip, including ptarmigans, Smith’s Longspurs, Ross and Bonaparte gulls, and jaegers. Expert guides can not only help you locate and identify the birds, but can offer help and advice in wildlife photography, to ensure you take home some fantastic shots.

The Seal River Estuary, where you’ll find one of Churchill’s luxury eco lodges in Canada, is known as the ‘polar bear waiting room’, as it’s where they enjoy a coastal summer before heading back to their icy hunting grounds. You’ll see them on daily excursions, swimming and basking in the shallows, and sometimes even taking an interest in hunting the whales.

Thousands of these curious, friendly whales congregate in the Hudson Bay each summer. You’ll see huge pods of them from the air as you arrive in Churchill, and enjoy further sightings from boats, on daily marine tours. You can even opt to swim with the whales, in dry suits specially provided for your use. Churchill staff will kit you out with a full snorkel too, so that you can enjoy the best extreme close-up imaginable of these magnificent creatures.

As well as these three VIP experiences, you can expect to spot plenty of other sub-Arctic wildlife, including moose, caribou and foxes. At the end of the day, be sure to listen for the plaintive howl of a distant wolf as you settle down for a full-course meal at the lodge, or cuddle up by the fire with a hot drink and a good book, knowing the morning will bring another raft of unforgettable adventures.

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