The Naturalist’s Journal

What's Happening "Fauna-wise" in the Garden

As the Gottlieb Native Garden’s naturalist, Scott Logan documents the ever-changing array of wildlife species as they vary with the garden’s blooms, seasons and migratory patterns. While bringing these observations to life for all to experience, he also coordinates scientific research projects, and monitors the overall health and biodiversity of the garden. The Naturalist’s Journal also highlights the work the Gottliebs and Scott are doing to educate and inspire people to start gardening for wildlife with native plants.

bluebirds, flycatchers and Zen

Over the years, we have installed dozens of nest boxes throughout the Garden. These boxes target secondary cavity nesters – species of birds that nest inside hollow spaces but have no means to excavate the hollow themselves (like woodpeckers can). Of the 8 species in […]

Bioluminescent Coleoptera

Tribe Mastinocerini Genus unknown Douglas Fir Glow-Worm Pterotus obscuripennis California Pink Glowworm Microphotus angustus Western Banded Glowworm Zarhipis integripennis As of today, four different species of fireflies (which are actually beetles) have been discoved in the Garden – who knew THAT was possible in Los […]

Skilton’s Skink

Skinks are relatively common in the Santa Monica Mountains, but that doesn’t mean they are commonly seen. Like Fence Lizards, Skilton’s Skinks are diurnal. But unlike Fence Lizards, they are extremely secretive. Their habit of traveling through leaf litter, underneath bark or in underground burrows […]

Thirsty Band-tailed Pigeons

In order to drink, most birds need to fill their lower beak with water and tilt their heads back in order for the liquid to enter their throats. Not true for birds in the family Columbidae (pigeons and doves).  In the avian world, these birds […]


Even in rural and urban environments, Coyotes play an important role in rodent control. A good part of their diet consists of rodents (rabbits, gophers, rats, etc.). Yes, Coyotes will eat discarded food stuffs and go after small pets, but both of those issues can […]

Nocturnal Thermal Imaging 

Occasionally, we use a thermal imager to look for wildlife in the garden at night. The imager uses sensors that detect heat radiation (in the electromagnetic spectrum) that allows the operator see in the dark. It is a remarkable device. Mammals can be detected from […]

Over 1100 species!

I have stepped-up my species discovery and identification efforts (mostly concentrating on Arthropods) and have found more than 1100 species of animals in the garden to date. Shooting for 1500 species by mid 2022!     Hard to select a favorite from the list, but […]

White-banded crab spider part 2

Our White-banded Crab Spider has been living in this Coast sunflower bush for over a month now. It took much effort to change color from white to yellow, so she will spend as much time as possible within yellow its flowers.   Crab spiders are ambush […]

White-banded crab spider

The female White-banded crab spider has the ability to change color. She uses this super power of cryptic coloring as camouflage, changing between white and yellow depending on what color flowers are in her territory. She does this by secreting a liquid yellow pigment into the […]

Vivid Dancers

This has been a great season for damselflies, especially Vivid Dancers.  There are dozens of them in the garden at the moment and they can be found just about everywhere, not just near the water features. This Black Phoebe is taking advantage of the abundant damselflies […]