DEAR JOAN: I'm sending you a photograph of a moth that laid her eggs on a front door. She disappeared after a while and the eggs all hatched. My friend says this is the third year this has happened.
I was wondering what type of moth she is.
DEAR DALE: Those are terrific photos that show a bluish gray moth laying the most beautiful blue-colored eggs. A second photo shows the fuzzy larva.
We can't be 100 percent sure because we need to see the moth with her wings opened and get a look at her underside, but after talking with some entomologists, we are pretty sure it is a painted tiger moth.
The painted tiger moth (Arachnis picta) is fairly common to this area, although I've never seen one. Their range includes the coast and arid parts of the state. They're found in the Central Valley north to Antioch. If you could see her underside, you would see a patch of yellow and a bright pink abdomen with gray markings. Who said moths are dull?
Moths usually lay eggs in shrubbery so the young caterpillars have immediate access to food. I'm not sure what's so appealing about your friend's door, but it's pretty cool.
DEAR JOAN: I read your column about the bird image on the window, with the sad ending for the bird. Happily, my story is not a sad one.
About two weeks ago I trimmed back the silver dollar eucalyptus tree from our second story window so the branches would stop rubbing against the house. Then I started hearing this thumping sound on the window. I knew it couldn't be the tree branches, so I kept watch.
This cute bird was hopping around the branches of the tree then would fly up against the glass and flap its way to the top of the window. It would catch onto the side of the house and peek in the window from that vantage point. It looks like it really wants in, but I am pretty sure it sees the reflection of the tree in the window and wants to fly into that "other" tree.
Well, it sure is persistent. It isn't hitting the glass hard enough to get injured, so I am just letting nature take its course.
I went online to see if I could figure out what kind of a bird it is. The closest match I could find is a Hutton's vireo. The wing design matches and the smoothness of its feathers and its coloring also match. I have never heard of that bird before but I found it is native to the area. I am right about what it is?
DEAR JANICE: Instead of a Hutton's vireo, I think you have the very similar looking Ruby-crowned kinglet.
The differences are slight. The kinglet is slightly smaller, more agile and more active than the vireo. The kinglet also has a dark band below the white band on its wings, which the vireo does not have.
The absence of the red crown in your photo could mean it's a female, but you rarely see the brilliantly colored crown on the male unless he is agitated.
Kinglets eat insects and they often hover as they feed. One identifying habit is repeated flapping of wings.
I'd welcome other opinions.