The Corps of Discovery entered the marshes and sloughs of the Columbia's estuary in early November of 1805, but violent weather pinned them down along the river's banks for days. While camped across the river William Clark lamented, O! how horrible is the day." The explorers passed this site on November 26, 1805, after crossing the river in search of a winter campsite. Stopping at a nearby Cathlamet Indian village to purchase fish and wappato at what Clark considered "Imoderate pricie's," the party camped near present-day Svenson.
In this estuary the explorers found evidence of the Pacific Flyway — hundreds of migratory birds. The birds provided food - a welcome change from dried fish and dog meat — but their calls also kept the party awake at night. They were emensely noumerous, and their noise horrid," exclaimed William Clark.
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Meriwether Lewis and William Clark were not scientists; they were military men who faithfully followed President Jefferson's orders to carefully note the plants and animals of the West. During the winter of 1805-06 at Fort Clatsop, Lewis described 35 mammals, 50 birds, 10 reptiles and fish, and 5 invertebrates — of these, 11 mammals, 11 birds, and 2 fish were new to science.