A Unique Adventure for your Portfolio
Witness the awe-inspiring migration of the caribou. See bald and golden eagles swoop down to crystal-clear waters. Photograph the majestic white wolf and shaggy muskox. These are just some of the reasons that naturalists and photographers flock to Tukto Lodge. Whatever your experience or ability, you will capture some of your greatest images here in the Arctic.
Caribou are the only members of the deer family in which both male and female have antlers. The average Dubawnt caribou bull weighs 350-400 pounds. They are excellent swimmers and they can propel themselves through water at almost two miles an hour. Caribou are extremely inquisitive animals: photographers can often attract the curious animals for a close-up by slowly waving their arms or bobbing up and down from the waist. Visitors at Tukto Lodge have photographed the magnificent caribou as close as 20 feet from camp!
Easily recognized by their shaggy coat and upturned horns, this hairy mammal crossed the Bering Strait land bridge to North America thousands of years ago. Their thick dark brown or black coat helps them survive temperatures of minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Breeding season is late summer and the bulls challenge each other to elaborate fights by emitting deep rumbling bellows. These mighty beasts have been under Canadian government protection since 1917 after being pushed to the brink of extinction by trappers and hunters. Their only wild predator is the Arctic wolf.
A subspecies of the grey wolf, this northern wolf also hunts in packs, claims territories and is part of a social hierarchy, but differs in appearance, prey and habitat. Adapted to its environment, the Arctic wolf has thick white fur to blend into the snowy landscape and thick hair between its paw pads to survive temperatures down to -70 Fahrenheit. Due to the frozen tundra, Arctic wolves can't make traditional wolf dens and instead make their homes in rock outcroppings, shallow land depressions and caves.
Barren Land Grizzly Bears
The infamous grizzly has long been a symbol of wilderness and strength. Unlike its mountain grizzly cousins, this Arctic bear has reduced its dependence on plants as a source of food and survives primarily on caribou throughout late spring, summer and fall. The grizzly hibernates every year from late October to mid May. A healthy male can easily cover 30 miles a day and over a season may travel 500 miles!
Inhabiting Canada's tundra region, the Arctic hare is the largest of North American hares. Their coat changes to adapt with the seasons, becoming snowy white in the winter and blue-grey in the summer. Their back legs are extremely powerful and they can reach speeds of almost 40 miles an hour! The Arctic hare congregate in groups of 100 to 300 hares, often huddling together during the cold winters.
The Grus Canadensis inhabits the Arctic and sub-Arctic throughout northern Canada, parts of Alaska and northeast Siberia. The sandhill crane stands approximately 3 feet high and has a wingspan of 6 feet or more. One of the most distinguishing features of this long-necked bird is its trumpet call. Its powerful, unmistakable voice emits a loud musical rattle that can be heard from as far as one mile away! The sandhill crane is a very wary bird, and few people have a chance to witness their elaborate mating dances that appear almost comical to human eyes.
Bald and Golden Eagles
Bald eagles and golden eagles are similar in size, both between 29 and 43 inches. Bald eagles prefer to feast on fish but if the opportunity arises will eat hares and carrion, while the golden eagle feeds on rodents, hares, ground squirrels and carrion. Both the bald eagle and the golden eagle spend the winter in Southern Canada and the United States but return to the north every spring to breed.
Falcons are swift hunters and can reach amazing speeds of 200 miles per hour in deep downward dives when stooping their prey. Similar in size to a crow, it has slate grey upper-parts and white undersides with black bars across the chest, thighs and undersides of the wings. Mosquito and Dubawnt Lake are home to the peregrine falcon, and birders spot both the anatum and tundrius subspecies here. The wild peregrine lives an average of five years.
One of the unique things about the ptarmigan is its feathered feet, which makes it a perfect candidate for the cold Arctic tundra. In North America there are three types of ptarmigans: the Willow Ptarmigan Lagopus lagopus, the White-tailed Ptarmigan Lagopus leucurus, and the Rock Ptarmigan Lagopus mutus. Around Tukto Lodge, sharp-eyed photographers can spot the Willow Ptarmigan and sometimes the Rock Ptarmigan. Part of the grouse family, these birds feed on an array of Arctic plants, leaves, buds and berries.
It wasn't so long ago that this type of bird was considered a Pacific loon, but in 1985 the Arctic loon was categorized as its own breed, once reliable identification methods were established. It is slightly larger than the Pacific loon, and has a longer neck.
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