Early on a morning in late November a few years ago, my friend Jimmy, a fellow photographer, called to tell me he had found a Snowy Owl on a Long Island beach. By the time I managed to break away from work, it was almost noon. Thankfully, traffic was light. I made good time navigating from my home in Queens to the bird’s location.
When I joined Jimmy, he was observing the owl at a distance. It was a young female Snowy — white-faced with a dark-barred body and chevron-flecked wings, appearing more feline than avian. She was sleepy-eyed, nestled atop a ridge of sand and white bits of shell amid tangled bronze-green stalks and spent seedheads of seaside goldenrod and straw-yellow beach grass.