This weekend, E and Z had a friend over, and the three of them went down to check out the gravel pit pond, where they found a creature skating along, upside-down below the ice.
A giant water bug or electric light bug.
According to our Pond Life book: "Giant waster bugs are the largest of the true bugs. They feed on insects or even on tadpoles and small fishes, killing their prey with a poison secreted as they bite."
It certainly was giant.
After we all admired the bug sufficiently, Z returned it to its home in the pond.
The pond itself has already settled under an inch or so of ice. The boys pitched rocks out on it in an effort to try to break through, but even the largest just bounced a little--as if the ice were made of something elastic--and came to rest on the surface.
It won't be long before we're skating over the top of the ice. When we do, we'll have to look closely to see if any more giant water bugs are skating along the bottom of it.