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The 6 wonders of the Arctic

November 28th, 2016 | By | Filed in Trips

6 wonders of the Arctic_Arctic Kingdom

The Canadian Arctic is one of the most spectacular places on the earth. Visited by few, it is also one of the last vast and untouched regions on the planet. With raw beauty at every turn, the Arctic is a place of endless wonder.

The Arctic captivates travellers as soon as their boots touch the northern ground. In addition the incredible people, here are the six natural wonders of the Arctic that we think make it so special (click to jump to each wonder):

1. Unique wildlife

2. Northern Lights

3. Icebergs

4. Midnight sun

5. Glaciers

6. Floe edge

 

 6 wonders of the arctic

 

1.  Unique Wildlife

6 wonders of the arctic_unique wildlife_arctic fox_polar bear

The Arctic offers opportunities to see and photograph some of the world’s most unique wildlife. The Canadian Arctic is home to more than 60% of the world’s population of polar bears – the north’s most iconic animal.  Unicorn of the sea, the elusive narwhal can also be spotted from the floe edge at the northern reaches of Baffin Island. Other incredible wildlife that inhabit the Arctic include walrus, beluga, bowhead whales, Arctic fox, migratory birds and musk ox.

Offering exclusive chances to capture rare photography of these unique creatures among spectacular landscapes, the Arctic is a haven for professional and amateur wildlife photographers alike. The Arctic is a destination like no other, and wildlife photography in the north requires special considerations. Find all our tips to ensure you capture every wildlife moment here.

Here are some of the ways you can view wildlife in the Arctic with Arctic Kingdom:

Arctic wildlife polar bears_Arctic Kingdom

See polar bears all year round with us. Opportunities to view them on these trips:

Polar Bear Mother and Newborn Cubs Photo Safari

Spring Polar Bears and Icebergs of Baffin Photo Safari

Narwhal and Polar Bear Safari

Kings of the Arctic

Polar Bears and Glaciers of Baffin Island

Polar Bear Migration Fly-In Safari

 

narwhal arctic wildlife_arctic Kingdom

Opportunities to see narwhal on these trips:

Narwhal and Polar Bear Safari

Great Migrations of the Northwest Passage

 

arctic wildlife beluga_Arctic Kingdom

Opportunities to see beluga on these trips:

Great Migrations of the Northwest Passage

Baffin Island Dive Safari 

 

bowhead

Opportunities to see bowhead whales on these trips:

Great Migrations of the Northwest Passage

Narwhal and Polar Bear Safari

Kings of the Arctic

Polar Bears and Glaciers of Baffin Island

 

Opportunities to see walrus on these trips:

Kings of the Arctic

Great Migrations of the Northwest Passage

 

arctic wildlife walrus_arctic Kingdom

Opportunities to see walrus on these trips:

Kings of the Arctic

Great Migrations of the Northwest Passage

 

arctic wildlife migratory birds_arctic kingdom

Opportunities to see migratory birds, musk oxen, caribou and grizzly bears (northern range) on this trip:

Bathurst Inlet Lodge

 

2. Northern Lights

Auyuittuq National Park_Northern Lights_Arctic Kingdom

One of the most beautiful and spectacular natural phenomena on the earth are the legendary Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis). Visible in the higher latitudes of the Northern hemisphere, the Canadian Arctic boasts some amazing locations to view the shimmering lights of the aurora, including throughout Nunavut. This incredible light show is the result of collisions between electrically charged particles in the atmosphere, and can appear in many colours. World-renowned, travellers from around the globe visit the north to view this natural wonder.

Learn more about the Northern Lights and how they are caused here.

Northern Lights are visible from late August to May. Get the chance to see the Northern Lights on these trips:

Spring Polar Bears and Icebergs of Baffin Photo Safari

Polar Bear Migration Fly-In Photo Safari

Polar Bear Mother and Newborn Cubs

Northern Lights Fly-In Lodge

Arctic Weekend Getaway

Taste of the Arctic Spring

 

3. Icebergs

icebergs arctic kingdom

Majestic icebergs are another symbol of cold-weather destinations and another wonder of the Arctic. Icebergs are chunks of ice larger than five meters (16 feet) across, and can be as large as a small country. Formed when pieces of ice break off, or calve, from glaciers, ice shelves or other larger icebergs, they travel via ocean currents. Icebergs in Canada mainly originate from west Greenland glaciers. These immense and beautiful floating chunks of ice never fail to mesmerize explorers, artists and photographers.

Typically only one-tenth of an iceberg’s volume exist above water, making it even more spectacular to view them from below while diving on our Baffin Island Dive Safari.

You can also view them from the frozen sea ice, land or boats, and even possibly kayak amongst them on these trips:

Spring Polar Bears and Icebergs of Baffin Photo Safari

Narwhal and Polar Bear Safari

Great Migrations of the Northwest Passage

Kings of the Arctic

Polar Bears and Glaciers of Baffin Island

 

4. Midnight Sun

arctic midnight sun_Arctic Kingdom

Another iconic northern phenomena is the midnight sun. In early summer, visitors in the Arctic can experience 24-hours of sunshine, north of 60 degrees latitude. Even near the end of the season in August, travellers can enjoy extended daylight hours (upwards of 17 hours of sun!) and seemingly endless sunsets. Longer days mean more uninterrupted opportunities for adventure and wildlife encounters. Plus, the lighting is incredible for photography.

Experience the midnight sun on these trips:

Narwhal and Polar Bear Safari

Baffin Island Dive Safari

Great Migrations of the Northwest Passage

Kings of the Arctic

Polar Bears and Glaciers of Baffin Island

Bathurst Inlet Lodge

 

5. Glaciers

Glaciers Arctic Kingdom Safari

One of nature’s most dramatic and fascinating forces, glaciers are another phenomena that travellers look forward to seeing in the Arctic. These massive, slow-moving masses of ice are formed by years of fallen snow that have compressed into snow. Thanks to gravity, they eventually begin to flow along the land.

The eastern Arctic is home to the biggest and oldest glaciers in Canada – giant wonders that can take your breath away in an instant. Learn more about glaciers here.

Get the chance to see glaciers on these trips:

Polar Bears and Glaciers of Baffin Island

Baffin Island Dive Safari

Narwhal and Polar Bear Safari

Great Migrations of the Northwest Passage

 

6. Floe Edge

floe edge_Arctic Kingdom

The classic spring floe edge is where the land-fast ice meets the open sea. Otherwise known as the “line of life”, the floe edge is the one place where all Arctic marine animals co-mingle. Wildlife enthusiasts and photographers revel in the possibility to see narwhal, beluga, bowhead whales, polar bears and other Arctic wildlife, under the midnight sun in May and June.

The floe edge offers the opportunity to witness magical, but rare, events including large pods of narwhal and breaching whales amongst a spectacular background of icebergs, glaciers and mountains. Special experiences like this are possible at the top of Baffin Island, in remote and exclusive locations including Arctic Bay and Pond Inlet, Nunavut.

Experience the floe edge on these trips:

Narwhal and Polar Bear Safari

Baffin Island Dive Safari

Great Migrations of the Northwest Passage

 

The Arctic is nothing short of wonderful. With inspiration at every turn, photos can’t always do it justice, but we try our best! See photos from our Expedition Leaders and travellers’ journeys on our Instagram. You can also browse the hashtag #ArcticKingdom.

Want to check these six wonders of the Arctic off your bucket list but not sure which trip is for you? Contact us today – we are happy to help you choose or build your own custom adventure.

6 tips for incredible photography in the Arctic

October 20th, 2016 | By | Filed in Photography

arctic photography polar bear mother cub on iceberg

The raw, untouched beauty of the Canadian Arctic provides incredible photography opportunities in every season. For much of the year, photographers can look forward to dramatic scenery, vast expanses covered in snow and ice, and the chance to capture wildlife shots, including polar bears and Arctic fox on a snowy backdrop.

The Arctic is a destination like no other, and for many, a once in a lifetime experience to capture unique photography. Before heading above the tree line, there are a few things for photographers to keep in mind:

Be prepared for cold weather

While it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the Arctic experiences cold weather throughout much of the year. Depending on the season, conditions can get extreme with temperatures dropping below -30°C in March! That said, with the right equipment and clothing, photographing in the Arctic can be comfortable and exhilarating –  offering unsurpassed beauty, wildlife and photo opportunities found no where else on the planet.

arctic kingdom photography polar bears on iceberg

1. Stay warm in Arctic-worthy clothing

The right clothing is important for any visitors to the Arctic, but for photographers expecting a less-active experience, it’s even more crucial.

We recommend dressing in insulating layers, and ensure you have warm mitts and water-resistant boots, to keep warm and dry. For experiences that have periods of little movement (like waiting for the perfect polar bear shot!), ski jackets and pants designed for sports and high activity just won’t cut it in the changing  Arctic climate. Based on years of experience on the land, Arctic Kingdom has developed polar clothing packages available for rent. It is what our Expedition Leaders wear, too!

It’s a good idea to keep a thinner pair of gloves in your pockets for setting up your gear and changing camera settings. This can be tricky in thick mitts!

2.  Protect your equipment

Your cameras shouldn’t have issues functioning in the Arctic, but because conditions can be unpredictable, we suggest bringing snow covers and heavy duty plastic bags to wrap your gear in.

arctic kingdom tundra photography qikiqtarjuaq

3. Pack extra batteries.

While most lithium camera batteries can handle the cold, you may notice they have a shorter life span. Don’t forget to pack extra batteries and remember to charge them. It’s a good idea to keep one battery in your camera, a spare keeping warm tucked in an inner pocket, and a third charging in camp.

Inuit on ice arctic kingdom

4. Adjust for snow

One of the challenges of shooting in the Arctic is the amount of white. Often, cameras will underexpose the vast, harsh whiteness of snow and white animals, turning it grey in the photo. There are a few ways to adjust your camera to avoid this including adjusting the Exposure Value by +1/3 to +1 1/3,  compensating the exposure by slowing the shutter speed, using a gray card, or bracketing.

Falling snow can add drama and interest to photography, but can also draw focus instead of your subject. Remember to manually focus to keep your subject the star.

Arctic Kingdom Polar Bear Mother Cubs wildlife photography

5. Be ready to snap wildlife… from a safe distance!

The Arctic is home to unique wildlife. Popular animals to photograph include polar bears and Arctic fox.

Don’t forget to pack a long lens! Wildlife is unpredictable and won’t always pose for a shot. Respecting safety and the Nunavut Wildlife Policy, you may be shooting from a distance. We recommend bringing a telephoto lens (minimum of 300mm), a mid-range zoom (70-200mm,) and many photographers find bringing a full-sized tripod or monopod beneficial.

Anticipate their movement and have patience. Read more of our tips for Arctic wildlife photography here.

Arctic Bay landscape photography arctic kingdom

6. Don’t forget the stunning and unique landscapes!

The Arctic boasts some of the most spectacular, vast landscapes. Frozen tundra, majestic icebergs, glaciers and mountains make for dramatic photography with or without wildlife. For capturing the impressive vast landscapes of the Arctic, we recommend packing a wide-angle lens (24mm or less).

When visiting the Arctic there are amazing photography opportunities at every turn. Following these tips and the advice of your guides will help you capture incredible and unique shots to be proud of!

Ready to grab your camera?

Here are some of the ways to capture remarkable photography in the Arctic by season:

Autumn

Polar Bear Migration Fly-In Photo Safari Arctic Kingdom

Polar Bear Migration Fly-In Photo Safari

An exclusive opportunity to photograph polar bears at a close proximity in October and November. Stay in our rustic and remote Polar Bear Cabins, surrounded by an unobtrusive electric fence, to safely capture close-up polar bear photography from ground level. Polar bears are known to wander right up to the fence! Learn more. 

Spring

Spring Polar Bears and Icebergs of Baffin Photo Safari Arctic Kingdom

Polar Bear Mother and Newborn Cubs Photo Safari

Photograph polar bear cubs and their mothers as they emerge from their dens for the first time. Located in the world’s largest polar bear denning area in Wapusk National Park, Manitoba, this lodge-based expedition runs in March. Learn more. 

Spring Polar Bears and Icebergs of Baffin

Photograph dramatic landscapes, and polar bears and possibly cubs, as they venture on to the sea ice and climb majestic icebergs. This expedition takes you into the heart of the high eastern Arctic, where travellers and photographers seldom go, in March and April. Learn more. 

Spring – Floe Edge

nasrwhal floe edge arctic kingdom

Narwhal and Polar Bear Safari

Experience the classic spring floe edge on the northern reaches of Baffin Island when the sea ice begins to melt. Photograph dramatic landscapes and narwhal, polar bears and other Arctic wildlife under the midnight sun in May and June. Learn more. 

Great Migrations of the Northwest Passage

In June, photograph narwhal and beluga in the region world-renowned as one of the most prolific wildlife areas in the Arctic at the floe edge of Lancaster Sound. Bordering the Northwest Passage, this is one of the few places where are Arctic marine animals co-mingle. Learn more. 

Summer

walrus on ice arctic kingdom igloolik

Kings of the Arctic

Explore by boat the spectacular environment of Foxe Basin to photograph polar bears, walrus and whales under the midnight sun in July. Learn more.

Polar Bears and Glaciers of Baffin Island

Photograph polar bears swimming amongst icebergs, bowhead whales, and the exceptional beauty of the glacier-capped coasting of Baffin Island. Enjoy long, mild days and extraordinary sunsets on this expedition in August. Learn more. 

Want to photograph in the Arctic but not sure which trip is for you?

narwhal tail arctic kingdom

Click here to get in touch with one of our Travel Advisors – they are happy to help!

Want to create your own photography adventure?

Contact us to ask about custom trips.

Get Arctic photography inspiration on our Instagram! Follow us @ArcticKingdomExpeditions to see photos from our trips, including those captured by our guides and guests.

 

10 fun facts about Arctic fox

October 6th, 2016 | By | Filed in arctic fox

Arctic Kingdom Arctic Fox

While polar bears are the most popular animals that travellers want to see and photograph when visiting the Arctic, the Arctic fox is another favourite among guests!

With their playful nature, once encountered, the Arctic fox instantly gains popularity with guests. Arctic fox have such a cheeky personalities that they are also known as the “clowns of the tundra” – as our past guests and Expedition Leaders on Polar Bear Migration Fly-In Photo Safari can attest!

What makes this small, Northern animal so remarkable? Here are 10 fun facts about Arctic fox:

1. Arctic foxes (Vulpes lagopus) are extremely well-adapted to the harsh, frigid temperatures of the Arctic.

Their thick fur enables them to maintain a consistent body temperature and provides insulation. Plus, their short legs, short muzzle and rounded ears all reduce the amount of surface area for heat loss, and their feet are covered in fur.

2. The Arctic fox has the warmest pelt of any animal found in the Arctic, enduring temperatures as low as -70 °C.

Once conditions get too cold, its metabolism increases to provide warmth.

3. The Arctic fox is a member of the canid family of animals.

They are related to other foxes, wolves and dogs.

4. They are primarily solitary animals living on the Arctic tundra and pack ice.

5. Arctic Fox do not hibernate and their fur changes colours with the seasons.

In the summer the Arctic fox has a brown or great coat with a lighter belly. It then turns into a thick white one in the winter. It is the only canid that changes the colour of its coat, allowing it to camouflage with the snow and ice in the winter and rocks and plants in the summer.

6. About the size of a large domestic cat, the Arctic fox is the smallest wild canid found in Canada.

Females tend to be smaller than males, and their bushy tails make up 30-35% of their total length.

7. Arctic fox are well-known for their hunting style.

They are carnivores and scavengers, and they hunt rodents, birds and even first. In winter, prey can be scarce, prompting Arctic foxes to bring out their cheeky sides. They are known to follow in the footsteps of the Arctic’s premier predator, the polar bear, and feed on leftover scraps.

8. Arctic foxes are monogamous animals.

They mate for life!

9. Females give birth in the spring.

They have large litters of 5-8 pups! Parents raise the pups together during the summer.

10. They live in burrows, with extensive tunnel systems.

But in a blizzard they are known to tunnel into the snow to create shelter.

arctic fox arctic kingdom

Want to see them this year?

View them in October and November on Polar Bear Migration Fly-In Photo Safari.

You can also see them in March on Polar Bear Mother and Newborn Cubs Photo Safari.

Want to see Arctic fox but not sure which trip is for you?

Click here to get in touch with one of our Travel Advisors – they are happy to help!

10 Fast facts about polar bears

September 20th, 2016 | By | Filed in Polar Bear

Arctic Kingdom Polar Bear mother and newborn cubs

Polar bears have always been icons of the Arctic, and one of the most popular animals that guests want to see on our trips – they’re one of our favourites too. We love all things polar – and bears are no exception!

Canada is home to approximately 60% of the world’s polar bear population. Their habitat in Canada ranges from James Bay in the south to Ellesmere Island in the north, and east to west from Labrador to the Alaskan border. We are thrilled to be able to provide opportunities to see these majestic animals for guests from around the world.

Whether you are gearing up for a trip to the north, or just want to learn more about them, here are 10 facts about polar bears:

1. The classic white bears are not really white.

Polar bears actually have black skin and hollow, colourless hair. Their hollow fur reflects light and traps the sun’s heat to help keep them warm.

2. Polar bears can overheat.

Though they are adapt to survive Arctic temperatures, which can dip below -50°C, they can also overheat. This becomes more of a risk when running and in the summer – when temperatures rise above freezing and up to 20°C.

3. Polar bears clean themselves by rolling in the snow.

Can you blame them for wanting to keep themselves clean? Staying clean also helps the insulating properties of their fur, so after feeding they will often freshen up by taking a swim or roll in snow. Rolling in the snow also helps cool them off when they get too hot.

4. They’re quick on their feet.

Polar bears can reach speeds of up to 40km per hour (25 mph) on land.

5. …and in the water.

Polar bears are also excellent swimmers and can comfortably swim around 10 km per hour (6mph). They use their large front paws to propel themselves through the water and their back legs to steer. Their latin name actually means “sea bear”.

(FYI: You can see them swimming on Polar Bears and Glaciers of Baffin Island)

6. Giants of the Arctic: Polar bears are one of the largest carnivores that live on land.

Males can weigh more than 770kg (1700lbs).

7. They have a good sense of smell.

Polar bears can sniff out seals – their main food – from up to 1 km (0.6 miles) away and even under 1m (3 ft) of snow.

8. A female polar bear will have an average of five litters of cubs in her life time.

Two-thirds of polar bear litters are twins!

9. Polar bears in the wild can live up to 30 years.

Most live 15 to 18 years.

10. The biggest threat to polar bears is climate change.

Global warming causes sea ice to melt earlier, and form later each year. This give polar bears less time to hunt, and studies have shown that polar bear litters are also declining in size. There are more than 22,000 polar bears across the Arctic, but many scientists believe they could be gone within 100 years. Steven Amstrup of Polar Bears International deems polar bears “the most vulnerable of any species to a warming world” and says two-thirds of all polar bears will be gone by 2050 if nothing changes.

Want to see them this year?

Arctic Kingdom Polar bear mother and cubs wildlife photography

We provide opportunities to view and photograph polar bears in the Canadian Arctic from March to November.

Polar Bear Migration Fly-In Photo Safari – October & November

Spring Polar Bears of Baffin – March & April

Polar Bear Mother and Newborn Cubs – March

Narwhal and Polar Bear Safari – May & June

Great Migrations of the Northwest Passage – May & June

Kings of the Arctic: Polar bears, Whales, Walrus – June & July

Polar Bears and Glaciers of Baffin Island – August

Spring Polar Bears and Icebergs of Baffin Photo Safari Arctic Kingdom

Want to see polar bears but not sure which trip is for you?

Click here to get in touch with one of our Travel Advisors – they are happy to help!

Want to create your own polar bear adventure?

Contact us to ask about custom trips.

Polar Bear Migration Fly-In Photo Safari Arctic Kingdom

6 ways to see the Northern Lights in the Canadian Arctic

August 30th, 2016 | By | Filed in Northern Lights - Aurora Borealis

Northern Lights igloo Arctic Kingdom

The legendary Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) are one of the most beautiful and spectacular natural phenomena in the world, visible in the higher latitudes of the Northern hemisphere.

Viewing this natural light show is easier than you’d think! From August to May,  the Northern Lights bejewel the night sky in the Canadian Arctic, against a backdrop of incredible scenery and possible rare wildlife sightings.

What causes the Northern Lights?

Northern Lights Arctic Kingdom

World-renowned as one of nature’s most incredible wonders, the shimmering lights of the aurora are the result of collisions between electrically charged particles. Gaseous particles in the Earth’s atmosphere collide with charged particles released from the sun’s atmosphere.

The Northern Lights appear in many colours including red, yellow, green, blue and violet, and can appear in many forms including patches or scattered clouds, streamers, arcs, rippling curtains or shooting rays, lighting up the sky.

Different altitudes and types of gas particles that collide cause the variations in colour. The most common auroral colour is a pale yellowish-green. This display is caused by oxygen molecules located approximately 96 km (60 miles) above the earth. Blue or purple-red auroras are created by nitrogen, and though rare, all-red auroras are produced by oxygen at a high altitude, at heights of up to 321 km (200 miles).

When and where can I see them?

Northern Lights in Iqaluit Arctic Kingdom

Seen both in the northern and southern hemisphere, the Aurora occur in an irregularly-shaped oval centered over each magnetic pole – the auroral oval. In the north, it is known as the Aurora Borealis and the Aurora Australis in the south.

The best places to watch the lights in North America are in the northwestern parts of Canada – including Nunavut. Smaller communities and remote locations without light pollution are great for watching the aurora displays – one of the reasons we love the Canadian Arctic!

These dancing light shows are most clearly seen at night against a dark sky. With long periods of darkness and a higher frequency of clear nights, winter is a great season to view the Northern Lights in the north.

Here are six ways to witness the magic of the Northern Lights in the Canadian Arctic:

Polar Bear Migration Fly-In Photo Safari

Polar Bear Migration Fly-In Photo Safari Arctic Kingdom

Our Polar Bear Migration Fly-In Photo Safari provides an incredible off-the-grid experience to witness the Northern Lights in October and November. This seven-day trip offers exclusive opportunities to view polar bears up-close during the day and dazzling Northern Lights at night, in the comfort of our remote Polar Bear Cabins, located 110 km south of Arviat, Nunavut, on the coast of Hudson Bay.

View trip details and departures for 2016 and 2017 here.

Spring Polar Bears and Icebergs of Baffin

Spring Polar Bears and Icebergs of Baffin Photo Safari Arctic Kingdom

This photo safari takes you into the heart of the high eastern Arctic, where travellers seldom go, in March and April. See the Northern Lights at night after spending the days capturing amazing photos of polar bears close-up, as they venture on to the sea ice and climb majestic icebergs on this nine-day trip.

View trip details and departures for 2017 here.

Polar Bear Mother and Newborn Cubs

Polar Bear Mother And Newborn Cubs Safari Arctic Kingdom

This lodge-based expedition provides the opportunity to witness the Northern Lights at night after days viewing polar bear cubs and their mothers at a close proximity. Located in the world’s largest polar bear denning area in Wapusk National Park, Manitoba, travellers can experience this 10-day trip in March.

View trip details and departures for 2017 here.

Northern Lights Fly-in Lodge

Northern Lights Fly-In Lodge Getaway Arctic Kingdom

Get a front-row seat to watch the magical Northern Lights at this remote and rustic lodge, located deep in the Canadian wilderness of Yellowknife, Northwest Territories. This trip has options of four to nine night packages, from December to April.

View trip details and departures for 2016 and 2017 here.

Weekend Getaways

Iqaluit weekend getaways Northern Lights Arctic Kingdom

For travellers short on time, our exclusive getaways take you above the treeline in Iqaluit for an accessible, family-friendly Arctic escape. Our Arctic Weekend Getaway and Taste of the Arctic Spring provide opportunities to see the Northern Lights from October to April. Only 3 hours’ flight from Ottawa, Canada.

Want to see the Northern Lights but not sure which trip is for you?

Click here to get in touch with one of our Travel Advisors – they are happy to help!

Want to create your own Northern Lights adventure?

Contact us to ask about custom trips.

A new adventure for birders: Bathurst Inlet Lodge

August 16th, 2016 | By | Filed in Featured Trip

Bathurst Inlet Lodge yellow warbler birding Arctic Kingdom

 

We often talk about the incredible and unique wildlife found only in the Arctic. Did you know there are also great opportunities for bird viewing? We’re excited to share that we now have an adventure for birders!

Rare bird sightings in a beautiful location

Common eiders Bathurst Inlet Lodge birding Arctic Kingdom

Bathurst Inlet Lodge is a family-friendly, easily accessible Arctic birding destination. Located just north of the Arctic Circle in Nunavut, Canada, it offers some of the best opportunities to see rare birds among spectacular landscapes.

Download the Arctic Birding List for free to see all the species that can be seen at Bathurst Inlet Lodge. Compare this to your life list; you may be surprised by how many sighting you can add in just one week! Even expert birders, and those able to recognize species by song, are often able to add several species to their list.

A special opportunity to see birds in breeding plumage

Hoary redpoll Bathurst Inlet Lodge birding Arctic Kingdom

Many of the birds that can be seen here are migratory. You may see them in your neighbourhood, but never like this! One thing unique to Bathurst Inlet is the special opportunity to see birds in breeding plumage. This is because breeding only occurs in the Arctic under the midnight sun.

Birds we’re bragging about

While this location becomes a temporary home to more than 100 species of birds throughout the season, there are a few we’re especially excited to highlight. Here are some of the birds you will have the chance to see at Bathurst Inlet Lodge:

Yellow-billed loons

Loon Bathurst Inlet Lodge birding Arctic Kingdom

Yellow-billed loons are larger than a common loon and very rarely seen in the United States and southern Canada. This species nests on deep tundra lakes – the kind found near Bathurst Inlet Lodge, allowing guests some of the best opportunities to see yellow-billed loons in breeding plumage. Guests often have the chance to see and watch the behaviour of these magnificent loons while drifting in the lodge’s pontoon boat.

Thayer’s Gulls

Thayer's gull Bathurst Inlet Lodge birding Arctic Kingdom

While you may have ample opportunity to see other gulls throughout North America, thayer’s gulls are rarely seen in the United States and southern Canada. These gulls can easily be misidentified. Luckily, guests will have expert guides on hand to assist!

Golden Eagles

Though they are one of the best-known birds of prey in the Northern Hemisphere, golden eagles are rarely encountered in eastern Canada and eastern United States. They can often be found nesting on sheer cliffs on islands or along river gorges in the area surrounding Bathurst Inlet Lodge.

Willow and Rock Ptarmigans

Willow ptarmigan Bathurst Inlet Lodge birding Arctic Kingdom

Never seen in the lower 48 states of the United States, ptarmigans all live in tundra and cold areas. They are one of our favourite rare treats to see at Bathurst Inlet Lodge. All ptarmigan have a complex pattern of molt, occurring three times a year. Courtship plumage occurs in the spring. Summer visitors will notice that most plumage is dark at this time of year. They nest near the lodge, so guests often hear them crowing, and on special days you may be able to see family groups.

Explore the Inlet by boat

pontoon Bathurst Inlet Lodge birding Arctic Kingdom

A flat-bottomed pontoon boat is the perfect platform for exploring the Inlet. This stable and comfortable boat allows guests to walk around to take photos and use binoculars. All boat trips include an expert field guide to help you identify bird species and tell you more about the location.

See the birds of Bathurst Inlet

Want to check some of these bird species off your list next summer? With all the charm of a bed-and-breakfast, Bathurst Inlet Lodge is an affordable, all-inclusive Arctic adventure backed by nearly 50 years of experience and has limited availability. Bookings are available for only four weeks in the summer with a capacity of only 15 guests per week.

We encourage you to contact us to reserve your spot!

Learn more about Bathurst Inlet Lodge and trips available for 2017 here.

8 tips for Arctic wildlife photography

August 3rd, 2016 | By | Filed in Wildlife

Arctic Fox Arctic Kingdom wildlife

The Arctic is home to some of the world’s most unique wildlife, including polar bears and narwhal. This destination offers ample opportunities for amazing wildlife photography. For many, a trip to the Arctic is a once in a lifetime experience.

To help ensure you capture every moment during your visit, here are 8 tips for wildlife photography in the Arctic:

Gear up…

The gear you bring on an Arctic Safari depends on you! For serious photographers, with the variety of wildlife and scenery available to shoot, it’s a good idea to bring a telephoto lens (minimum of 300mm), a mid-range zoom (70-200mm), a tele-converter (1.4x or 2x), and a wide angle lens (24mm or less). Other guests have success with point-and-shoot cameras. Many photographers also find bringing a full-sized tripod or monopod beneficial.

The weather in the Arctic can be unpredictable. Depending on the season, we recommend bringing snow or rain covers, and heavy duty plastic bags to wrap your gear in the case of extreme weather. With spectacular sights at every turn, you will find yourself snapping more shots than usual. We’d hate for you to miss out on a great shot because your battery ran out! Don’t forget to pack extra memory cards, batteries and chargers.

Arctic Kingdom Qik Polar bear iceberg wildlife photography

…and know it well

No matter the type of gear you bring, it’s important to know it well. Get familiar with the settings and features of your camera and abilities of your lenses.

Wildlife won’t pose for your photos – you might have a maximum of five seconds to capture action. Know the appropriate shutter speed for your gear: it varies depending on the camera and lens, but should be fast enough to stop movement and still capture sharp images.

It’s also a good idea to practice quickly toggling between settings and modes to ensure you don’t miss that perfect breaching whale or close-up walrus shot!

Narwhal Arctic Kingdom Wildlife

Anticipate their next move

Consider where the animal is going, not where it is. Anticipating its movement is key so you can set up your shot. For those with goals of capturing shots of specific wildlife, it pays to know their behaviour patterns. Each animal is different: The best way to predict their movement is to take time watching them.

Your Expedition Leaders and Inuit guides have been spending time with Arctic wildlife for years, and know them well. Feel free to ask them for animal, weather and location-specific tips and tricks before you head out on the tundra or to the floe edge.

Arctic Kingdom Birds wildlife photography

Patience is key

Our experienced Inuit guides and Expedition Leaders aim to get you to the best spot at the right time for optimal wildlife viewing. That said, wildlife are unpredictable. Patience is not only a virtue, but imperative to your success when photographing wildlife.

You never know when a narwhal will surface, or a polar bear will climb up on a floating piece of ice, so you can get that epic shot of the day.

Arctic Kingdom Polar Bear Mother Cubs wildlife photography

Keep it interesting

Unusual conditions or vantage points can produce amazing results. While photographers often look for sunny days, you don’t have to wait for perfect conditions to capture beautiful photography. Overcast and less-than-ideal weather including snow and wind can make for dramatic and interesting shots.

You’ll find the long sunsets of Arctic summers can also provide opportunities for spectacular shots you won’t get anywhere else – worth waiting up for!

Arctic Kingdom sunset walrus on ice wildlife photography

Work your angles…

The angle of your shot is another thing to consider. While many people like to shoot at eye-level, it’s a great idea to go a bit lower.

You don’t always need to get all the way down on the ground, but what better excuse to get a bit dirty than an incredible photograph? Angling the camera slightly up at subject can produce some of the best, and most interesting, wildlife captures.

Arctic Kingdom Walrus on ice wildlife photography

…and framing

While close-up shots tend to make an impact, Arctic Kingdom Expedition Leader David Briggs likes to remind guests to get shots of wildlife in their environment. The Arctic is home to unique wildlife, but its incredible and vast landscapes are equally notable. Make sure to take a mixture of close-up and wide shots to capture all the beauty and wonder of the Arctic.

Arctic Kingdom Polar bear mother and cub on iceberg wildlife photography

Practice makes perfect

The more you shoot, the more you increase your chances of getting the perfect shot. The best professional wildlife photographers don’t become experts overnight. They practice taking photos, with a variety of angles, focuses and subjects. The good news is, our Arctic Safaris allow for plenty of time to work on your craft.

Following these tips and the guidance of your Expedition Leaders, we are confident you’ll leave with not only a smile and lasting memories, but great photographs to show off for years to come.

Here are some of the animals you can have the chance to see and photograph on our Arctic Safaris:

Arctic Kingdom Polar bear mother and cubs wildlife photography

Polar Bears

Opportunities to see them on these trips:

–          Polar Bear Mother and Newborn Cubs Photo Safari

–          Spring Polar Bears and Icebergs of Baffin Photo Safari

–          Narwhal and Polar Bear Safari

–          Kings of the Arctic

–          Polar Bears and Glaciers of Baffin Island

–          Polar Bear Migration Fly-In Safari

Arctic Kingdom Narwhal wildlife photography

Narwhal

Opportunities to see them on these trips:

–          Narwhal and Polar Bear Safari

–          Great Migrations of the Northwest Passage

Arctic Kingdom bowhead whale tail wildlife photography

Bowhead Whale

Opportunities to see them on these trips:

–          Great Migrations of the Northwest Passage

–          Narwhal and Polar Bear Safari

–          Kings of the Arctic

–          Polar Bears and Glaciers of Baffin Island

Arctic Kingdom beluga underwater wildlife photography

Beluga

Opportunities to see them on these trips:

–          Great Migrations of the Northwest Passage

–          Baffin Island Dive Safari 

Arctic Kingdom walrus pod wildlife photography

Walrus

Opportunities to see them on these trips:

–          Kings of the Arctic

–          Great Migrations of the Northwest Passage

 

Get Arctic wildlife photography inspiration on our Instagram! Follow us @ArcticKingdomExpeditions to see photos from our trips, including those captured by our guides and guests.

10 Fun facts about glaciers

July 6th, 2016 | By | Filed in Landscape

Glaciers Arctic Kingdom Safari

What are glaciers?

Glaciers are huge, slow-moving, masses of ice. Formed by years of fallen snow that have compressed into ice, these ice masses eventually begin to flow along the land due to gravity. This movement is what sets glaciers apart from ice beds. It also makes them one of nature’s most dramatic – and fascinating – forces.

We’ve seen these glistening giants countless times on our trips and they continue to take our breath away every time. A must-see for every adventurer and nature lover, here are 10 fun facts about glaciers:

1. The eastern Arctic houses the biggest and oldest glaciers in Canada. A remnant of the Laurentide ice sheet, which covered much of Canada during the last glacial period of the Earth’s current ice age, the Barnes Ice Cap in Baffin Island contains Canada’s oldest ice. Some of it is more than 100,000 years old!

2. The Penny Ice Cap in Auyuittuq National Park in Iqaluit is the largest ice mass in the southern Canadian Arctic.  It covers approximately 6,400 km2. Researchers have been studying this ice cap for years. Measurement of the Penny Ice Cap is important for researchers to understand the changes of glaciers, especially with climate change and the increased melting over the past decade. (Visit it on this safari trip!

3. Glaciers cover almost 10% of the world’s land mass, approximately 14.9 million km2. During the peak of the last ice age, they covered almost a third of the Earth’s land.

4. The world’s largest glacier is 435km (270 miles) long and more than 96 km (60 miles) wide at its widest point. This glacier is called the Lambert glacier and is found in Antarctica.

5. Glaciers hold approximately 69% of the world’s fresh water.

6. If all land ice melted sea levels would rise 70 meters (230 feet).

7. There are two main types: Alpine glaciers and Continental glaciers. Alpine glaciers flow downward from mountaintops and through valleys. Continental glaciers form large horizontal sheets, aren’t affected by topography including mountains, and tend to flatten anything in their path.

8. Glaciers can be found on every continent, except Australia. While most are situated near the Earth’s poles, in Antarctica and near Greenland, many can be found close to the equator, including Mexico.

9. Glacier ice crystals can grow to be as large as baseballs.

10. Some glaciers appear blue when they become very dense. With years of compression, tiny air pockets between ice crystals get forced out. The ice can absorb all other colours in the spectrum, such as red and yellow light, and reflects blue light. The denser the glacier, the more blue it will appear.

Facts about Glaciers Arctic Kingdom

Want to see glaciers for yourself?

Bask in the blue glow of Canadian Arctic glaciers – and even drink glacier melt water – on these safaris:

Polar Bears and Glaciers of Baffin Island – Book now for August!

Baffin Island Dive Safari – Book now for May!

Narwhal and Polar Bear Safari – Book now for May and June!

Want to create your own glacier adventure?

Contact us to ask about custom trips.

 

 

5 Reasons to visit the Arctic in the summer

June 17th, 2016 | By | Filed in Featured Trip

Arctic summer sunset - Arctic Kingdom

Strangely enough, the Arctic isn’t always a top-of-mind destination for a summer escape. With unmatched natural beauty, unique wildlife and outdoor fun at every turn, the Canadian Arctic is a must-visit vacation spot. With Iqaluit just a three hour flight from Ottawa, it’s now more accessible than ever.

If the cold-weather rumors (spoiler alert: it’s actually warm!) are holding you back, we’ve got a pleasant surprise for you – plus four more reasons to travel to the far North.

Delight in beautiful weather (Don’t forget to pack your t-shirts!)

Myth busted: The Canadian Arctic isn’t always cold! In fact, Arctic summers can get quite warm. Temperatures in July and August can be anywhere from 10 to 20°C (50 to 68°F) – break out the short sleeves!

Bask in the midnight sun

Arctic summer sunset Baffin Island - Arctic Kingdom

Imagine watching icebergs twinkle in the glow of the sun at midnight. One of the most amazing features of Arctic summer are the long days. The almost 24-hour sunshine allows for uninterrupted adventures and extended hours of fun!  When the days begin to shorten later in the season (don’t worry, they still see upwards of 17 hours of sun), visitors enjoy spectacular and seemingly endless sunsets.

Admire vibrant scenery

The Arctic’s raw beauty truly shines in the summer months as the region comes alive with colour. Travellers and locals alike can agree that the tundra blooming with brilliant wildflowers is a wonderful sight to see. This combined with the surrounding glaciers and tranquil waters will surely take your breath away.

Enjoy the best of the great outdoors

Cory Trepanier Iqaluit Arctic Summer kayaking

The Arctic is the place for summer fun in nature. With incredible landscapes all around, the region boasts some of the best hiking you’ll ever experience – especially in Canada’s most stunning park, Auyuittuq National Park.

The whole family will also love fishing for Arctic char and picking wild blueberries. Other activities to write home about include boating, kayaking and snorkeling in crystal-clear waters.

Get up-close with unique wildlife

Arctic summer polar bear - Arctic Kingdom safari

Arctic summers are full of life providing the opportunity for intimate wildlife sightings from land and boat. Get those cameras ready! Depending on the region, you’ll have the chance to capture stunning shots of majestic walrus lounging on ice, pods of mystical narwhal, roaming polar bears, enormous bowhead whales and more.

For wildlife enthusiasts, nature lovers, families and adventure seekers a like, the Arctic offers the experience of a lifetime no other destination can compare to. What are you waiting for?

Here are some great ways to experience the Arctic this summer:

Polar Bears and Glaciers of Baffin Island Safari (August)

Taste of the Arctic Summer Getaway (July-October)

Kings of the Arctic – Polar Bears, Whales, Walrus Safari (June-July) – booking 2017!

Bathurst Inlet Lodge  (June-July)– a family favorite – booking 2017!

Bonus: Click here to see what FlightNetwork.com is saying about us!

Bathurst Inlet Lodge – family friendly vacations

March 17th, 2016 | By | Filed in Featured Trip

JPG _ BathurstInletAerial

Family friendly vacations under the Midnight Sun

When RCMP Staff Sergeant Glenn Warner patrolled the Bathurst Inlet area in the 1960s, the natural beauty of the region called to him. With his wife Trish, he purchased the Burnside Mission from the Roman Catholic Church and turned it into a summer home. When the historic Hudson Bay Post closed, he formed a partnership and bought that building too!

Bathurst Inlet Lodge began welcoming guests officially in 1969. Eventually the Warners partnered with local Inuit residents. That partnership strengthened the Lodge’s ability to immerse its guests in the culture of the people whose ancestors had inhabited the inlet for thousands of years.

In 2016, a new phase in the Lodge’s history is underway. Arctic Kingdom has become Bathurst Inlet Lodge’s sole marketing and sales partner. We are committed to delivering the same level of pre- and post-travel service that has kept birders, wildlife enthusiasts and Arctic history buffs returning year after year. The Lodge is still owned by the Warner family and their Inuit partners, so your on-site adventure will be every bit as authentic as any of the previous 47 seasons.

Welcome grandparents and grandchildren

Everybody claims to offer family friendly vacations, welcoming grandparents and their grandchildren. The Lodge is run by families and staffed by families. They use that real life experience to deliver safe, gently active and engaging programming that covers everything from wildlife to Arctic history. No dusty dry lectures for Bathurst Inlet guests. Instead real people tell stories about the lives they have led for generations, living on the edge of an Arctic inlet surrounded by wildflower carpeted tundra and majestic mountains.

Wildlife and wildflowers

Muskoxen, relics of the ice age, roam the surrounding tundra. Grizzly bears sightings have increased over the years, an indication of changing climate. Caribou still graze, while smaller critters scamper. Because the sun shines for 24 hours, wildflowers bloom in profusion. Beauty is everywhere spurring the imagination. Children should carry a point-and-shoot camera on hikes and pontoon boat rides – part of the daily programming.

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