An irruption of Snowy Owls (Bubo scandiacus) arrived in Wisconsin awhile back and there are at least a few in the Oshkosh area. This one was seen on Lake Butte des Morts on December 30th. Unfortunately I had to disrupt this bird as it was in my path, and a diversion from it would have added another 2.5 miles to my walk, and my out of shape body was already protesting. It is easy to get excited when seeing one of these owls, but is important to keep a fair distance and try not to disturb them. Snowy Owls that push their way into the lower 48 are usually under some stress, and we want to make our guests feel welcome and eat plenty of voles.
It was a brisk – 4º F during this walk, and while the Snowy Owl sighting was certainly unusual, so was the spotting of an American Robin. It must be very rare to see a Snowy Owl and an American Robin on the same below zero day.
Update: I saw another, or perhaps the same snowy owl at the same location on January 3, 2015. This time the bird was too far away for a good photograph.
More information of the Snowy Owl in Wisconsin can be found on Wisconsin eBird.