Deer are among the most common and visible mammals in the forested hills of China Camp. Other mammals that make this area their home include raccoons, skunks, foxes, coyotes, bobcats, and a variety of rodents.
Walking the trails of China Camp, the hiker will hear the gobbling of wild turkeys, as well as an orchestra of bird song. Scrub jays, song sparrows, chestnut-backed chickadees, acorn and pileated woodpeckers, lesser goldfinches, and spotted towhees all add their distinctive sounds to the forest. Raptors such as turkey vultures, ospreys red-tailed hawks, golden and bald eagles, marsh hawks, and peregrine falcons often carve circles in the sky, and roost or nest in trees and on tall power poles.
Tidal wetlands are a mecca for waterfowl and shorebirds. Winter and spring migrations bring waves of ducks through the park. Look for pintails, Northern shovelers, and common loons in winter. In summer, scan the surface for buffleheads and Western grebes.
Reptiles and amphibians are well represented at China Camp. In winter, rough-skinned newts often cross the trails in search of a creek for spawning. In summer, Western fence lizards seem to perch on every boulder and fence post.
Several nonpoisonous snakes live in the park, including gopher snakes, ring-necked snakes, and king snakes. Western rattlesnakes can also turn up, mainly in summer. I;f you’re not sure if it’s a rattler, assume it is and give it a wide berth.