The Journals of Lewis & Clark: Lewis, March 10, 1806

Lewis, March 10, 1806

Monday March 10th 1806. About 1 P.M. it became fair and we sent out two parties of hunters on this side of the Netul the one below and the other above. we also directed a party to set out early in the morning and pass the bay and hunt beyond the Kilhowanackkle. from the last we have considerable hope as we have as yet hunted but little in that quarter. it blew hard all day. in the evening the Indians departed. The hunters who were over the Netull the other day informed us that they measured a pine tree, (or fir No 1) which at the hight of a man's breast was 42 feet in the girth about three feet higher, or as high as a tall man could reach, it was 40 feet in the girth which was about the circumpherence for at least 200 feet without a limb, and that it was very lofty above the commencement of the limbs. from the appearance of other trees of this speceis of fir and their account of this tree, I think it may be safely estimated at 300 feet. it had every appearance of being perfectly sound. The black and white duck are small abut the size of the blue-winged teal, or reather larger. the male is beautifully variagated with black and white. the white occupys the sides of the head, breast and back, black, the tail feathers of the wings two tufts of feathers which cover the upper part of the wings when foalded, the neck and head. the female is darker or has much less white about her. I take this to be the same speceis of duck common to the Atlantic coast, and frequently called the butterbox. the beak is wide and short, and as well as the legs, of a dark colour. the flesh of this duck is very well flavored. the brown duck is much in form like the duckinmallard, tho not much more than half it's size. the colour is an uniform mixture of yellowish and dark brown. there is nothing remarkable in the appearance of this duck it generally resorts the same kind of grassey marshes with the duckinmallard and feeds in a similar manner, on grass seed, and roots. both these ducks are common to the river for some distance above tide water as well as below. The black duck is about the size of the bluewinged teal. their colour is a duskey black the breast and belley somewhat lighter than the other parts, or a dark brown. the legs stand longitudinally with the body, and the bird when on shore stands of cours very erect. the legs and feet are of a dark brown, the toes are four on each foot, a short one at the heel and three long toes in front, which are unconnected with a web. the webs are attatched to each sides of the several joints of the toe, and divided by deep sinuses at each joint. the web assuming in the intermediate part an eliptical figure. the beak is about two inches long, streight, flated on the sides, and tapering to a sharp point. the upper chap somewhat longest, and bears on it's base at the joining of the head, a little conic protuberance of a cartelagenous substace, being redish brown at the point. the beak is of an ivory white colour. the eye dark. these ducks usually associate in large flocks, and are very noisey; their note being a sharp shrill whistle. they are usually fat and agreeably flavored; and feed principally on moss, and other vegitable productions of the water. we did not meet with them untill we reached tide-water, but I beleive them not exclusively confined to that district at all seasons, as I have noticed the same duck on many parts of the Rivers Ohio and Mississippi. the gizzard and liver are also remarkably large in this fowl. the divers are the same with those of the Atlantic States. the smaller species has some white feathers about the rump with no perceptable tail and is very active and cluck in it's motion; the body is of a redish brown. the beak sharp and somewhat curved like that of the pheasant. the toes are not connected but webed like those discribed of the black duck. the larger speceis are about the size of the teal and can flye a short distance which the small one scarcely ever attapts. they have a short tail. their colour is also an uniform brickredish brown, the beak is streight and pointed. the feet are of the same form of the other speceis and the legs are remarkably thin and flat one edge being in front. the food of both speceis is fish, and the flesh unfit for uce. the bluewinged teal are a very excellent duck, and are the same with those of the Atlantic coast.- There are some other speceis of ducks which shall be hereafter discribed as I may hereafter have an opportunity to examine them.