Thursday, December 08, 2005

S(no)wy Owling at Northerly Island (Clear Channel Still Sucks!!!)

Way back when, in one of the very first posts to this blog, we mentioned the "temporary" 10,000 seat concert arena that had been built by Clear Channel at Northerly Island. (Northerly Island is a former airport, located on the lakefront right in the middle of downtown Chicago. It has been designated as a nature preserve by the Mayor, and currently has the distinction of being probably the only nature preserve in the entire world that includes a "temporary" 10,000 seat outdoor concert arena.) I like to mention Clear Channel every now and then, because there is a Clear Channel Gnome sitting in a cubicle in San Antonio that spends part of his day, every day, searching for blogs that mention the words "Clear Channel." Just doing my part to keep gnomes employed.

Anyway, back in that early post I commented that " is amazing how many people, and how much equipment, it takes to run even a relatively small "temporary" concert venue. The acres of asphalt and steel seem pretty permanent to me, but if CC and the Park District say this venue is "temporary," well then I guess it must be true." So it has been interesting for me to bird there over the last few months, anxiously awaiting the moment when the "temporary" 10,000 seat concert venue would be taken down for the winter. Guess what? It's still there! The steel girders, the seating area, the bleachers, the concrete, the asphalt, the office and bathroom trailers, the shipping containers, all still there. It looks like a very cheap (and very cold) trailer park, the perfect sight along Chicago's beautiful lakefront. Once again, the "conservation community" in the Chicago area has been played for the fools they are. They bought it hook, line, and sinker.

Of course, Clear Channel made some token efforts to pretend that the thing would actually be taken down, but what they did was laughable. For example, the concrete where the bleachers were built is still there, the steel structure forming the bleachers is still there, but they took down the boards that people actually sat on. I guess they thought that people wouldn't notice the massive steel skeleton they left behind.

Oh well, the reason I went to Northerly Island tonight was to check for Snowy Owls. Several Snowies have been reported in Southern Wisconsin or Northern Illinois over the past week or two, and before the airport was destroyed, Northerly Island used to be one of the best places in the Midwest to find Snowy Owls. Unfortunately, I didn't see any Snowies (Snowys?) tonight, which got me thinking. I haven't seen a Snowy in Chicago for several years, I think the last one I saw was the bird that showed up right around Halloween a few years ago at Montrose and showed well for a couple of weeks. Another recent sightings was a yard bird, a Snowy that I saw (from the top floor of my building) being harassed by a Peregrine on the Chicago Avenue breakwater. I have to travel to Milwaukee for work next week, starting this Saturday, so maybe I will get a chance to see one in Wisconsin.

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