May 19, 1833
19 May: Early in the morning, much wind, which soon grew very strong; with it faint sunshine. At 7:30, 60°F [15.6°C]. We cannot move from this spot and are waiting for a boat to lighten the steamboat. I spent several hours among the tall, shady trees that mark the edge of the prairie. Sitting on an old trunk in the cool shade, I was able, despite the heat, to calmly observe the world of nature surrounding me. I saw the urubus soaring above the prairie hills and struggling against the strong wind; a pair of falcons pursued and attacked them several times. Several common ravens were also flying about in the vicinity. Fringilla erythrophthalma, Sylvia aestiva, [S.] striata, and Troglodytes aedon surrounded me, while the song sparrow (Fringilla melodia) sang its brief little song. The wren has a very nice song, the last verse of which resembles that of our European lesser whitethroat (Sylvia curruca Linn.).
It was very hot on the prairie wherever there was no wind, but at noon it was blowing very strongly. At noon, [— —] °F. At three o’clock a powerful thunderstorm gathered in the southwest; [it] brought a violent storm. The wind drove the dust into the air and shook the whole ship. It is a peculiarity of these regions that rain and thunderstorms usually develop during spring; summer and fall, on the other hand, are usually very dry.[Page 2:83] In the prairies the bodies of water dry out, and [a] shortage of water is very common when one moves away from the larger rivers. The thunderstorm passed quickly; a quarter of an hour later, [it had] abated.
Several hunters who had been out had missed an antelope and shot four prairie dogs. On the island behind us, someone found a decayed elk; they brought along the fine twelve-point antlers. They had found very many elk tracks. The evening was windy and cool.