A “Birds in Art” Prequel: Southeast Alaska’s Northern Inside Passage

By: Kathy Kelsey Foley, director on August 24th, 2022

I’m recently back from an extraordinary experience . . . seven days aboard the Lindblad/National Geographic Venture, traveling from Juneau to Sitka, exploring small harbors and open straits, stunning mammoth glaciers, uninhabited islands, rocky shorelines, lush rain forests and muskegs, and streams filled with spawning salmon.
A cruise ship is on calm, smooth water with tree-covered mountains in the background and a blue sky with a strip of white clouds above.

A pale blue-and-white glacier is shown with chunks of snow-topped gray ice floating on water in the foreground, with a dark gray rock in the background and a lighter gray, cloudy sky above.It was exceptional in every way, exceeding even my wildest expectations, as I hope the assembled photographs demonstrate.

My time aboard the Venture offered multiple opportunities for learning, thanks to a gifted team of naturalists. Their daily presentations, patience when answering questions, and delight in pointing out easily overlooked details served for me as an unanticipated Birds in Art prequel.

Three brownish-gray seals stretch out on their stomachs on light gray icebergs floating on darker gray water with a rocky shoreline in the background.

A reddish-brown starfish with white spots rests on a pile of shells and seaweed, all in varying shades of brown, tan, white, and gray.A bear stands on the shoreline surrounded by birds near the water's edgeThe start of my time away from the office coincided with putting the finishing touches on the 2022 Birds in Art catalogue. A lull of sorts before the countdown to the exhibition opening and excitement of welcoming artists, members, and guests back to the Woodson Art Museum for our annual rite of fall.

Little did I know – or perhaps I hadn’t thought about it – that birds would be ubiquitous throughout our journey. While my idea of a “life list” is the artists and artworks that comprise each Birds in Art exhibition, Venture naturalists and fellow passengers logged the following sightings: Brant, Canada Goose, Surf scoter, Pacific loon, Pelagic cormorant, Great blue heron, Bald eagle, Sharp-shinned hawk, Spotted sandpiper, Greater yellowlegs, Red-necked phalarope, Black-legged kittiwake, Bonaparte’s gull, Herring gull, Glaucous-winged gull, Common murre, Pigeon guillemot, Marbled murrelet, Horned puffin, Tufted puffin, Belted kingfisher, Red-breasted sapsucker, Steller’s jay, Common raven, Black-capped chickadee, and Pacific wren.

I’m rested, relaxed, and ready for Birds in Art 2022. See you there.
Two black rain boots are near the front of a yellow and gray kayak gliding across dark gray water toward a tree-covered, hilly shoreline with mountains in the distance and a cloudy gray sky above.

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