The Journals of Lewis and Clark

Lewis, May 1, 1805

Wednesday May 1st 1805.

Set out this morning at an early, the wind being favourable we used our sales which carried us on at a good pace untill about 12 OCk. when the wind became so high that the small canoes were unable to proceed one of them which seperated from us just befor the wind became so violent, is now lying on the opposite side of the river, being unable to rejoin us in consequence of the waves, which during those gusts run several feet high. we came too on the Lard. shore in a handsome bottom well stocked with cottonwood timber; here the wind compelled us to spend the ballance of the day. we sent out some hunters who killed a buffaloe, an Elk, a goat and two beaver. game is now abundant. the country appears much more pleasant and fertile than that we have passed for several days; the hills are lower, the bottoms wider, and better stocked with timber, which consists principally of cottonwood, not however of large size; the under-growth willow on the verge of the river and sandbars, rose bushes, red willow and the broad leafed willow in the bottom lands; the high country on either side of the river is one vast plain, intirely destitute of timber, but is apparently fertile, consisting of a dark rich mellow looking lome. John Shields sick today with the rheumatism. Shannon killed a bird of the plover kind. weight one pound. it measured from the tip of the toe, to the extremity of the beak, 1 foot 10 Inches; from tip to tip of wings when extended 2 F. 5 I.; Beak 3 5/8 inches; tale 3 1/8 inches; leg and toe 10 Ins.- the eye black, piercing, prominent and moderately large. the legs are Hat thin, slightly imbricated and of a pale sky blue colour, being covered with feathers as far as the mustle extends down it, which is about half it's length. it has four toes on each foot, three of which, are connected by a web, the fourth is small and placed at the heel about the 1/8 of an inch up the leg. the nails are black and short, that of the middle toe is extreemly singular, consisting of two nails the one laping on or overlaying the other, the upper one somewhat the longest and sharpest. the tale contains eleven feathers of equal length, & of a bluish white colour. the boddy and underside of the wings, except the large feathers of the 1st & 2cd joints of the same, are white; as are also the feathers of the upper part of the 4th joint of the wing and part of those of the 3rd adjacent thereto, the large feathers of the 1st or pinion and the 2cd joint are black; a part of the larger feathers of the 3rd joint on the upper side and all the small feathers which cover the upper part of the wings are black, as are also the tuft of long feathers on each side of the body above the joining of the wing, leaving however a stripe of white betwen them on the back. the head and neck are shaped much like the grey plover, and are of a light brickdust brown; the beak is black and flat, largest where it joins the head, and from thence becoming thiner and tapering to a very sharp point, the upper chap being 1/8 of an inch the longest turns down at the point and forms a little hook. the nostrils, which commence near the head are long, narrow, connected, and parallel with the beak; the beak is much curved, the curvature being upwards in stead of downwards as is common with most birds; the substance of the beak precisely resembles whalebone at a little distance, and is quite as flexable as that substance their note resembles that of the grey plover, tho is reather louder and more varied, their habits appear also to be the same, with this difference; that it sometimes rests on the water and swims which I do not recollect having seen the plover do. this bird which I shall henceforth stile the Missouri plover, generally feeds about the shallow bars of the river; to collect it's food which consists of ____, it immerces it's beak in the water and throws it's head and beak from side to side at every step it takes.