Super Sunday - What a day!
We and our driver had great Karma today. Again it was a lovely sunny day. We were off from the launch area just before sunrise. Some of the things we hoped to see other than polar bears on this trip were arctic foxes, a bear with cubs, and snowy owls.
Well no sooner than we got out near the bay an arctic fox was spotted. These guys are very active and constantly on the move. Our driver really loves to follow the foxes so he was very accommodating in following the fox as it went up and down the road. We must have followed this guy for an hour as he was out hunting up food under the snow. Finally we decided it was time to move on. About 100 feet later we came upon a beautiful red fox!! We then followed him for a good hour or more. He was quite healthy and had a lovely bushy tail. There were enough opportunities to get him pouncing and listening. I did get one good series of the pouncing action. All this occurred in low morning light. It was fun to watch him listening and then pouncing. They feed mostly on lemmings, and I have where he has one in its mouth and it is quite visible. All this was wonderful, and our driver said after it was all over that it was the first time he had driven away from a fox.
Then it was onto a bear with a cub. The last time we were here, four years ago, it was quite common to see a bear with one or more cubs. As a matter of fact I have a family portrait of a bear with two cubs. There are very few cubs this year. This is in part because the females will not get pregnant if they do not gain enough weight to sustain them over the denning period. Generally they go out on the ice in November, and then come ashore again in March. They basically do not eat from March to the end of November as there diet consists of seal fat. So we were quite happy with the opportunity. At first she was right next to the tundra buggy hotel. Eventually she move far enough away that the buggies were not an issue. She also had to intimidate two males in the area so that they would keep their distance from her and her cub. There were some good photo ops as a result.
Next on the agenda were two other males who had been dozing in the area. They started to wake up and did some mild interaction. One actually got over on an icy patch and rolled around in the snow in his back. It was a nice mild action activity. By this time we were running out of time and it was time to head back to the launch area. We actually got back before dark. As dinner reservations still had to be made we stopped at the Tundra Inn to make them. The earliest they could seat us was 1930. The food here is quite good. It still takes time to feed 18 people so we were out of there about 2100, and then back to get into the warm clothes and be off for Northern Lights. Our driver, JP, had joined us for dinner, and came along to lead us to a couple of different sites for the photography.
The Lights were the best to date this evening. We had some good opportunities, and everyone worked at not being in each other's photos or kept the lights down or off. My camera, the Canon 7D has been working beautifully so far. It seems that the settings are good and I am getting the right colors and exposures for almost all of my photography. Thank you, "BJ" a.k.a. "Papa Varga". We packed it in about midnight and headed for home and bed.
Pictures to be added tomorrow, Nov. 15th, I hope. :-)