The Journals of Lewis & Clark: Lewis, March 28, 1806

Lewis, March 28, 1806

Friday March 28th 1806. This morning we set out very early and at 9 A.M. arrived at the old Indian Village on Lard side of Deer Island where we found our hunters had halted and left one man with the two canoes at their camp; they had arrived last evening at this place and six of them turned out to hunt very early this morning; by 10 A.M. they all returned to camp having killed seven deer. these were all of the common fallow deer with the long tall. I measured the tail of one of these bucks which was upwards of 17 Inches long; they are very poor, tho they are better than the black tailed fallow deer of the coast. these are two very distinct speceis of deer. the Indians call this large Island E-lal-lar or deer island which is a very appropriate name. the hunters informed us that they had seen upwards of a hundred deer this morning on this island. the interior part of the island is praries and ponds, with a heavy growth of Cottonwood ash and willow near the river. we have seen more waterfowl on this island than we have previously seen since we left Fort Clatsop, consisting of geese, ducks, large swan, and Sandhill crams. I saw a few of the Canvisback duck. the duckinmallard are the most abundant. one of the hunters killed a duck which appeared to be the male, it was a size less than the duckinmallard. the head neck as low as the croop, the back tail and covert of the wings were of a fine black with a small addmixture of perple about the head and neck, the belley & breast were white; some long feathers which lie underneath the wings and cover the thye were of a pale dove colour with fine black specks; the large feathers of the wings are of a dove colour. the legs are dark, the feet are composed of 4 toes each of which there are three in front connected by a web, the 4th is short Hat and placed high on the heel behind the leg. the tail is composed of 14 short pointed feathers. the beak of this duck is remarkably wide, and is 2 inches in length, the upper chap exceeds the under one in both length and width, insomuch that when the beak is closed the under is entirly concealed by the upper chap. the tongue, indenture of the margin of the chaps &c. are like those of the mallard. the nostrils are large longitudinal and connected. a narrow strip of white garnishes the upper part or base of the upper chap; this is succeeded by a pale skye blue colour which occupys about one inch of the chap, is again succeeded by a transverse stripe of white and the extremity is of a pure black. the eye is moderately large the puple black and iris of a fine orrange yellow. the feathers on the crown of the head are longer than those on the upper part of neck and other parts of the head; these feathers give it the appearance of being crested. at 1/2 after ten A.M. it became fair, and we had the canoes which wanted repairing hailed out and with the assistance of fires which we had kindled for the purpose dryed them sufficiently to receive the pitch which was immediately put on them; at 3 in the evening we had them compleat and again launched and reloaded. we should have set out, but as some of the party whom we had permitted to hunt since we arrived have not yet returned we determined to remain this evening and dry our beding baggage &c. the weather being fair. Since we landed here we were visited by a large canoe with ten natives of the quathlahpahtle nation who are numerous and reside about seventeen miles above us on the lard. side of the Columbia, at the entrance of a small river. they do not differ much in their dress from those lower down and speak nearly the same language, it is in fact the same with a small difference of accent. we saw a great number of snakes on this island they were about the size and much the form of the common garter snake of the Atlantic coast and like that snake are not poisonous. they have 160 scuta on the abdomen and 71 on the tail. the abdomen near the head, and jaws as high as the eyes, are of a bluefish white, which as it receedes from the head becomes of a dark brown. the field of the back and sides is black. a narrow stripe of a light yellow runs along the center of the back, on each side of this stripe there is a range of small transverse oblong spots of a pale brick ret which gradually deminish as they receede from the head and disappear at the commencement of the tail. the puple of the eye is black, with a narrow ring of white bordering it's edge; the ballance of the iris is of a dark yellowish brown.- the men who had been sent after the deer returned and brought in the remnent which the Vultures and Eagles had left us; these birds had devoured 4 deer in the course of a few hours. the party killed and brought in three other deer a goose some ducks and an Eagle. Drewyer also killed a tiger cat. Joseph Fields informed me that the Vultures had draged a large buck which he had killed about 30 yards, had skined it and broken the back bone. we came five miles only today.