The Journals of Lewis and Clark

Lewis, March 9, 1806

Sunday March 9th 1806. This morning the men set out at daylight to go in gust of the Elk which Collins had killed, they returned with it at eleven A.M. Bratton complains of his back being very painfull to him today; I conceive this pain to be something of the rheumatism. we still apply the linniment and flannel; in the evening he was much better. Drewyer and Joseph Fields returned not having found any Elk. Sergt. Pryor and the fishing party not yet arrived, suppose they are detained by the winds. visited by 3 Clatsop men who brought a dog some fish and a Sea Otter skin for sale. we suffered them to remain all night. we set Shields at work to make some sacks of Elk skin to contain various articles. The large Swan is precisely the same common to the Atlantic States. the small swan differs only from the larger one in size and it's note. it is about one fourth less and it's note entirely different. the latter cannot be justly immetated by the sound of letters nor do I know any sounds with which a comparison would be pertinent. it begins with a kind of whistleing sound and terminates in a round full note which is reather louder than the whistleing, or former part; this note is as loud as that of the large swan. from the peculiar whistleing of the note of this bird I have called it the whistleing swan it's habits colour and contour appear to be precisely those of the large Swan. we first saw them below the great narrows of the Columbia near the Chilluckkittequaw nation. They are very abundant in this neighbourhood and have remained with us all winter. in number they are fully five for one of the large speceis. The duckinmallard or common large duck wich resembles the domestic duck are the same here with those of the U Sts. they are abundant and are found on every part of the river below the mountains. they remain here all winter but I beleive they do not continue during winter far above tidewater. a beautifull duck and one of the most delicious in the world is found in considerable quantities in this neighbourhood during the Autumn and winter. this is the same with that known in the Delliware, Susquehannah, and Potomac by the name of the Canvisback and in James River by that of shell-Drake; in the latter river; however I am informed that they have latterly almost entirely disappeared. to the epicure of those parts of the union where this duck abounds nothing need be added in praise of the exqusite flavor of this duck. I have frequently eaten of them in several parts of the Union and I think those of the Columbia equally as delicious. this duck is never found above tide-water; we did not meet with them untill after we reached the marshey Islands; and I beleive that they have already left this neighbourhood, but whether they have gone northwardly or Southwardly I am unable to determin; nor do I know in what part of the Continent they raise their young.- The read headed fishing duck is common to every part of the river and are found as well in the Rocky Mountains as elsewhere; in short this was the only duck we saw on the waters of the Columbia within the mountains. they feed principally on crawfish and are the same in every rispect as those on the rivers in the mountains of the Atlantic Ocean.