The day a colony disappeared

On May 31st 2010. This colony of healthy Brown pelicans and laughing gulls thrived like it has done for many years. On June 7th 2010 it was no longer.

This is all we have left, A picture


We went out to record and video this colony that was in the line of fire from the Gulf oil spill disaster and document what was existing at the time. This colony lasted 45 days until the oil finally came ashore and wiped it out. Hundreds of gulls and Brown Pelicans were covered with oil virtually over night. One day it was healthy the next it was contaminated. This was extinction happening right in front of my eyes.
These sounds will be the last that is ever heard from this little island in the Gulf of Mexico. I do not think it will ever be the same again..


Copyright: martyn stewart

Birds of the colony:
Brown Pelican
Laughing Gull
Black oystercatcher
Black Skimmer
Rosetta spoonbill

Geek notes:
Recorder: SD 722
Microphones: MKH -40/30 MS
Tripod mounted with Rycote windjammer.
Sample rate: 44.1k 24 bit
Temp: 82f
Humidity: 85%
Weather: Thunder/partly cloudy
Recordist: Martyn Stewart

The Gulf oil disaster

I didn’t want this issue to become political, it was just our intention to see what was happening and help in some way in the Gulf of Mexico instead of watching government driven media telling us otherwise.

© rebecca stewart

Oiled pelican © rebecca stewart www.shutterstop.org

What we saw is now dwarfed by what is happening now and we knew it could only get worse. We saw masses of oil polluting pristine marshes and animals affected by crude oil in the ocean and on the shores.
What we also saw was pristine breeding grounds now polluted with oil and colonies wiped out with nothing to help them beforehand, you just knew the inevitable was about to happen.
We travelled over 100 miles along once pristine marshes and coastline without seeing any helpers employed by BP.
We tried to help in anyway we could but we were shunned away as BP were running the show and you had to have their permission. They had license to drill NOT pollute the oceans and coastlines, how the hell does this work?
Because i was working for the media i could get into places off limits to others and it killed me! the horror was not a nightmare that you could wake up from, this was real…
My wife was threatened with arrest if she touched any animals oiled or dying yet you could not find help if you tried.
As an audio guy, I captured sounds from the disaster and also from untouched habitat, but I did manage to make this short film of our feelings.

I would like to take this time to ask you to distribute this to as many people as you can, friends, colleagues and family. This will only get worse but this will show what it was like at the beginning.

Gulf oil disaster from Martyn Stewart on Vimeo.

Our team consisted of:
Martyn Stewart
Noeleen “Roo” Stewart
Rebecca Stewart (photographer)

© martyn stewart 2010

Martyn Stewart