Typical Landscapes

Bears, Birds, Botany, Ecology, Churchill the Town, Churchill Northern Studies Centre, Geology, Great Hudson Bay Dip and Relay Race, Landscapes, Practicalities, Tours, Whale Watching, Wildlife Management Churchill Style/ Churchill's main page

Nature's Rock Garden

An Early Foggy Morning/ Stand of Vetch/ Boreal Bog/ Hidden Meadow/ November Shoreline/ Krumholtz Formation in Whiteout/ Treeline/ Esker/ dryas/ spider webs/ sunset/ July Ice/ Another Boreal Meadow

Click on each picture to view larger version

Say the word "tundra," and people envision a vast wasteland of empty space where nothing grows but lichen and reindeer moss, a bleak wasteland. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Here, spring moves quickly into vigorous summer. During late June through early August, nothing is dead or colorless. Charlotte Seline Bompas (1830-1917), wife of the first Bishop of Selkirk (Yukon), kept a journal that described spring and summer in the far north. Churchill is very much like this:

"The rapidity with which the summer comes on here is quite wonderful. The ice only began to give way on May 13, and at that time, of course, the snow lay thick everywhere and by the end of the month the small gooseberry bushes were in blossom ... every bush round seems to bear promise of berries, and we walk on a carpet of wild strawberry blossoms. At a quarter to ten in the evening, the sun sinks down almost in the same place where it rises then follows out a long beautiful twilight. There is really no night even now. And at two in the morning, the dawn begins and birds chirp-one very like a thrush."


MacKenzie's Vetch growing in gravel overlooking Hudson Bay.

The various soil types and environments support a wide variety of plant types. These vetch are a common plant in July. One of the most beautiful sights was a 2-3 acre stretch of land, completely given over to these beautiful fuschia flowers in bloom.

  Boreal Bog

Thank these for the huge and ravenous mosquito population. Mosquitoes and other insects are the plankton of the land as well as a huge annoyance to humans and other mammals. They feed a variety of spiders, amphibians, fish, 150 species of birds and probably some small animals. These in turn feed Gyrfalcons, Arctic owls and other raptors, foxes, wolves,and other life forms. They do not, however, figure prominently in the polar bear food chain.

In the bogs are also found most of the local carnivorous plant species.




Hidden boreal meadow

There are a few places, protected by the wind, where the white spruce trees retain the familiar christmas tree shape. Because permafrost exists here, too, they only stand about five feet high at the tallest. I climbed the rocks near "Twin Golfballs" (Local nickname for an old landsat facility). Low green grasslike vegetation covered the ground around the rocks, all dotted with the jewelike blooms of Arctic Dryas and other species. The spiderwebs up here here were MAGNIFICENT.

Hudson Bay shoreline in November

By then, the tender summer plants have gone dormant or died. The evergreens, white spruce and larch, have turned


 Krumholtz Formation During Winter Whiteout

The fierce wind off Hudson Bay dries and kills branches on the windward side, giving trees a flaglike appearance Intense winter cold, combined with permafrost, dwarfs these trees as it does every other plant.

Northern Treeline

The way these trees grow is described as "Krumholtz formations." Trees are stunted, with flaglike tops due to the wind and permafrost.


 Overgrown glacier esker, overlooking a glacial pond

Then the glaciers melted, they dropped piles of rocks and other debris. This often took the form of mounds.

  Arctic Dryas growing on the beach

Most of the major families of plants are represented in the Arctic-Sub-Arctic Churchill region. Dryas is a member of the Rose Family



The Spider Webs are Magnificent!

Is it surprising that, in a region that swarms with millions of mosquitoes, flies, no-see-ums, dragon flies, etc .etc. etc. that spiders would be there? The spider webs up there are the size of pillow cases.

View from a Hill 

Panorama view of a beach overlooking Hudson Bay, just as the sun began to set in early evening. Just beyond this point, the road turns inland and away from shore. Many places along the road are steep cliffs, dropping to rocks below. This view is rather gentle.



July Ice 

The summertime weather gets up to about 75 F at its warmest, and yet these small chunks of ice remained on the beach. In middle to late July, there were still ice floes further out.

Boreal Meadow

The black speck in the upper RH area is a mosquito! This picture was taken about 9:00 pm after a brief but intense rainstorm.



 botany, Arctic botany, Churchill Canada Botany, MacKenzie's vetch, boreal botany, Arctic dryas