The wonderful thing about a fresh coat of snow is being able to appreciate how active animals really are in the winter, even though you don’t actually see them. I ventured out on a short warm spell during a snowy, cold Thanksgiving weekend to photograph some of that activity.
with apologies to Robert Frost for imitating his famous “Stopping by the woods on a snowy evening”…
Whose feet these are I think I know,
His toes impressed into the snow,
Leaving behind an image clear,
I wish I’d seen him jumping, though.
Actually, I did see him jumping — over my foot and burrowing between the 2-inch new snow and grassy meadow under it, creating a crazy network of spiraling tunnels. But, of course, I didn’t take my camera on that walk!
Meadow voles produce several litters of offspring a year, continuing to breed right through the winter in their cozy, sub-nivean nests below the insulating layer of snow. Although they may tear up lawns and golf course fairways with their tunneling efforts, their productivity is much appreciated by the owls, foxes, coyotes, and other predators that seek them out for food during the winter.