The crows are back this December. I counted hundreds flying overhead each evening before the snow got thick on the ground. Now that the snow is thicker I see small groups hanging around looking for food but I don't notice the long streams of them flying east each evening. It could be that I'm just not spending as much time out in the bitterly cold weather.
We had a beautiful fluffy snow fall over Christmas and now we are enduring a proper cold spell of -25oC nights and -15oC days. The above picture is a meadow vole's breathing hole. You can see the ice crystals that have formed at the edge of the hole where the warmer air from their nest hits the colder air above the snow. The snow is very fluffy, and it is evident from the lack of tracks that they have just poked their head above the snow to keep the hole clear but haven't left the safety of their tunnel. According to this paper I read, 2 to 3 meadow voles huddle together in a nest for warmth with several nests forming a cluster. I noticed several holes in the vicinity of this hole; I wander if each of these holes is associated with a single nest chamber.