To my horror, I figured out why Jeremiah wasn't moving as I drew closer. Jeremiah had presumably moved on to the great lily pad in the sky. Kicked the bucket. Morto. Ceased to exist. Dead.
"Not a whole lot. What's your question?"
"Well, I have one in my backyard pond, it's stretched out on top of the water, and it has a bird in its mouth."
Then I immediately headed for the computer and Wikipedia to learn more about bullfrogs. Bullfrogs are not the cute, cuddly creatures portrayed on obscene Ocean City T-shirts and Saturday morning cartoons waiting for a fly to come around. They are major carnivores, pretty much at the top of the food chain for creatures that size. I had no clue, thinking maybe they just stopped at flies.
But bullfrogs don't get as big as Jeremiah by waiting hours to stalk one measly fly, not any more than I got to my size munching on celery sticks. What I found is they'll try to eat anything so long as it's not larger than themselves, provided that it's moving when they get it into their mouths.
But birds? Most of the references I found online indicated that this wasn't a dietary staple, but not totally out of the question, either. So I bet myself that I could find some video on YouTube, and sure enough, I was right.
I told the tale to MoCoSpouse, who was less than interested in the scientific aspects than she was grossed out and knowing that the pair were properly disposed of. I assured her they were. As luck would have it, one of God's other creatures managed to dig them up just a day later and drag the pair into the middle of the lawn, where I learned about their presence quite audibly from MoCoSpouse.
We decided to let Mother Nature take its course as winter approached, and Lake MoCo grew calm for the next four months as we neither fed nor saw any of the fish, who apparently wintered at the bottom. Where bullfrogs go in the winter, I still have no clue.
Which brings us to the present. A few weeks ago, spring arrived, water temperatures reached the 50s and it was time to bring Lake MoCo back to life. In went the food; up came four hungry pond comets. Surely there was a miscount. No such luck, four pond comets. Again came denial, and the thought came to me: If the pond was the "world" as my fish knew it, then maybe the missing comet was the last snowbird still hanging out in the south while his friends headed back north. With no competition for the early bird algae dinner at 3:30 pm in the pond's virtual Boca Raton bottom, I might be tempted to do the same.
I faced up to the sad truth. Sometime over the winter, one of my comets met its maker. I tried to understand, rationalize, justify. The best I could come up with was that the missing comet looked very similar--solid red/orange--to another, and this was God's way of hoping I wouldn't notice and be spared the pain of the loss of a longtime companion, easily replaced for perhaps $10 at the local aquarium. Or perhaps this comet gave its life so some other creature could survive the long winter.
I'm not sure who the culprit is; bullfrog, bird, raccoon, natural causes, or maybe even another of the pond comets. For now, my eye is on Bruce, the great white, who somehow managed to emerge from his winter fast appearing a lot fatter than when he started.