The Journals of Lewis & Clark: March 12, 1806
March 12, 1806
Wednesday March 12th 1806
We sent a party again in surch of the perogue but they returned unsuccessful) as yesterday. Sent one hunter out on this side of the Netul, he did not return this evening. I beleive the Callamet Eagle is sometimes found on this side of the rocky mountains from the information of the Indians in whose possession I have seen their plumage. these are the same with those of the Missouri, and are the most beautiful) of all the family of the Eagles of America. it's colours are black and white with which it is beautifully variagated. the feathers of the tail which are so highly prized by the Indians is composed of twelve broad feathers of equal length. these are white except about 2 inches at the extremity which is of a jut black. there wings have each a large circular white spot in the middle when extended. the body is variously marked with white and black. the form is much that of the common bald Eagle, but they are reather smaller and much more fleet. this eagle is feared by all carnivorous birds, and on his approach all leave the carcase instantly on which they were feeding. it breads in the inaccessable parts of the mountains where it spends the summer, and decends to the plains and low country in the fall and winter when it is usually sought and taken by the natives. two tails of this bird is esteemed by the Mandans Minetares Ricares, &c as the full value of a good horse, or gun and accoutrements. with the Great and little Osages and those nations inhabiting countries where this bird is more rare the price is even double of that mentioned. with these feathers the natives decorate the stems of their sacred pipes or callamets; whence the name, of Callamet Eagle, which has generally obtained among the Engages. the Ricares have domesticated this bird in many instancies for the purpose of obtaining it's plumage. the natives in every part of the con tinent who can procure these feathers attatch them to their own hair and the mains and tails of their favorite horses by way of ornament. they also decorate their war caps or bonnets with those feathers.- The leather winged batt common to the United States is also found on this side of the Rocky mountains.- Beside the fish of this coast and river already mentioned we have met with the following speceis viz. the Whale, Porpus, Skaite, flounder, Salmon, red charr, two speceis of Salmon trout, mountain or speckled trout, and a speceis similar to one of those noticed on the Missouri within the mountains, called in the Eastern states, bottle-nose. I have no doubt but there are many other speceis of fish, which also exist in this quarter at different seasons of the year, which we have not had an oportunity of seeing. the shell fish are the Clam, perrewinkle, common mussle, cockle, and a speceis with a circular flat shell. The Whale is sometimes pursued harpooned and taken by the Indians of this coast; tho I beleive it is much more frequently killed by runing fowl on the rocks of the coast in violent storms and thrown on shore by the wind and tide. in either case the Indians preseve and eat the blubber and oil as has been before mentioned. the whalebone they also carefully preserve for sale.- Our party are now furnished with 358 pair of Mockersons exclusive of a good portion of dressed leather.-
Wednesday March 12th 1806
We Sent a party again in Serch of the Canoe but they returned unsucksessfull as yesterday Sent one hunter out on this Side of the Netul he did not return this evening. Our party are now furnished with 358 par of Mockersons exclusive of a good portion of Dressed leather, they are also previded with Shirts Overalls Capoes of dressed Elk Skins for the homeward journey.
Besides the fish of this Coast and river already mentioned we have met with the following Species. viz. the Whale, Porpus, Skaite, flounder, Salmon, red-carr, two Specis of Salmon trout, mountain or Speckled trout, and a Speceis Similar to one of those noticed on the Missouri within the mountains, called in the Eastern States, bottle nose. I have no doubt but there are many other Species of fish which also exist in this quarter at different Seasons of the year, which we have not had an oppertunity of seeing. the Shell fish are the Clam, perriwinkle, common Muscle, cockle, and a Species with a circular flat Shell.
The Whale is Sometimes pursued harpooned and taken by the Indians of this Coast; tho I believe it is much more frequently killed by running on the rocks of the Coast to S. S. W. in violent Storms, and thrown on different parts of the Coast by the winds and tide-. in either case the Indians preserve and eat the blubber and Oil as has been before mentioned. the whale bone they also carefully preserve for Sale.
The Reptiles of this Country are the rattle snake, garter Snake a common brown Lizzard. The Season was so far advanced on this side of the Rocky Mountains that but fiew rattle Snakes were Seen, I did not remark one particularly my Self, nor do I know if they are of either of the four Species found in different parts of the United States, or of that Species before observed only on the upper parts of the Missouri & its branches.
The Garter Snake So Called in the U States is very common in this country, they are found in great numbers on the open and Sometimes marshy grounds in this neighbourhood. they differ not at all from those of the United States. the Black or Dark brown Lizzard we Saw at the long narrows or Commencement of the woody country on the Columbia; they are also the Same with those of the U, States. The Snail is noumerous in the woodey Country on this Coast, they are in Shape like those of the U, States, but are at least five times their bulk. there is a Specis of water Lizzard of which I only Saw one just above the grand rapid of the Columbia. it is about 9 inches long the body is reather flat and about the Size of a mans finger, covered with a Soft Skin of dark brown Colour with an uneaven sufice covered with little pimples, the neck and head are Short, the latter termonateing in an accute angular point and flat. the fore feet each have four toes, the hinder ones five unconnected with a web and destitute of tallons. it's tail was reather longer than the body, and in form like that of the muskrat, first riseing in an arch higher than the back, and decending lower than the body at the extremety, and flated perpindicularly. the belly and under part of the neck and head were of a Brick red every other part of the colour of the upper part of the body are dark brown. the mouth was Smooth without teeth.
The horns of Some of the Elk have not yet fallen off and those of others have Grown to the length of Six inches. the latter are in the best order, from which it would Seem that the pore Elk retain their horns longer.