June 6, 2010

June 6th 1806

"[T]he red has the appearance of being laid over a ground of yellow": Western Tanager by Phae on Flickr.

In what is now Lewis County, Idaho:
This morning Frazier returned having been in quest of some roots and bread which had left at the lodg of the Twisted hair when on his way to the fishery on Lewis's river. the Twisted hair came with him but I was unable to converse with him for the want of an interpreter, Drewyer being absent with Capt. C. This Cheif left me in the evening and returned to his village. Capt C. Visited the Broken Arm today agreeably to his promise; he took with him Drewyer and several others. they were received in a friendly manner. The Broken Arm informed Capt C. that the nation would not pass the mountain untill the latter end of the summer, and that with rispect to the young men whom we had requested should accompany us to the falls of the Missouri, were not yet scelected for that purpose nor could they be so untill there was a meeting of the nation in counsil. that this would happen in the course of ten or twelve days as the whole of the lodges were about to remove to the head of the Commeâp Creek in the plain near Lewis's river, that when they had assembled themselves they would hold a council and scelect the young men. that if we set out previously to that period the men would follow us. we therefore do not calculate on any assistance from them as guides, but depend more upon engageing some of the Ootlashshoots in the neighborhood of Travellers rest C. for that purpose. The broken arm gave Capt. C. a few dryed Quawmas roots as a great present, but in our estimation those of cows are much better, I am confident they are much more healthy. The men who were with Capt. C. obtained a good store of roots and bread in exchange for a number of little notions, using the Yanke phrase, with which their own enginuity had principally furnished them. on examination we find that our whole party have an ample store of bread and roots for our voyage, a circumstance not unpleasing. They retuned at 5 P. M. shortly after which we were visited by Hohâstillpilp the two young Cheifs who gave us the horses in behalf of the nation some time since and several others, who remained all night. The Kooskooske is about 150 Yds. wide at this place and discharges a vast body of water; notwithstanding it high state the water remains nearly transparent, and it's temperature appeas to be quite as cold as that of our best springs.

Western Tanager by The.Rain.Man on Flickr.

we meet with a beautifull little bird in this neighbourhood about the size and somewhat the shape of the large sparrow. it is reather longer in proportion to it's bulk than the sparrow. it measures 7 inches from the extremity of the beek to that of the tail, the latter occupying 2½ inches. the beak is reather more than half an inch in length, and is formed much like the virginia nitingale; it is thick and large for a bird of it's size; wide at the base, both chaps convex, and pointed, the uper exceeds the under chap a little is somewhat curved and of a brown colour; the lower chap of a greenish yellow. the eye full reather large and of a black colour both puple and iris. the plumage is remarkably delicate; that of the neck and head is of a fine orrange yellow and red, the latter predominates on the top of the head and arround the base of the beak from whence it graduly deminishes & towards the lower part of the neck, the orrange yellow prevails most; the red has the appearance of being laid over a ground of yellow. the breast, the sides, rump and some long feathers which lie between the legs and extend underneath the tail are of a fine orrange yellow. the tail, back and wings are black, ecept a small stripe of yellow on the outer part of the middle joint of the wing, ¼ of an inch wide and an inch in length. the tail is composed of twelve feathers of which those in the center are reather shortest, and the plumage of all the feathers of the tail is longest on that side of the quill next the center of the tail. the legs and feet are black, nails long and sharp; it has four toes on each foot, of which three are forward and one behind; that behind is as long as the two outer of the three toes in front.

Observed equal altitudes of the sun with Sextant.

The first description for science of my heart bird, the Western Tanager, written by Captain Meriwether Lewis. You can read the journals of his expedition here.

H/T: Idaho Birding Blog.

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