Birdwatching at the Texas City Dike
The Texas City Dike is a five-mile-long fishing pier located in Texas City, which projects into Galveston Bay. Due to its length, this dike is famously referred to as the world’s longest man-made fishing pier. People visit the Texas City Dike for numerous reasons, including fishing for seafood, boating in the Gulf, or having a picnic.
What most people don’t realize, however, is that the Texas City Dike is a premier birdwatching destination. Birders from around the world visit the pier to witness an American oystercatcher snacking on mollusks, black skimmers gliding above the water’s surface, and brown pelicans bobbing in the surf.
American Oystercatcher: A Shorebird that Loves Seafood
One of the most astonishing birds you can find while visiting this famous fishing pier is the American oystercatcher. These shorebirds often wade in the shallows, looking for oysters and clams. American oystercatchers have piercing yellow eyes that are surrounded by orange rings and a beak that fades form dark orange to bright yellow.
Black Skimmer: The Bird with an Extreme Underbite
Another interesting bird species that can be found near the shore is the black skimmer. These strange birds have an uneven bill, which allows them to skim the water’s surface to catch fish. They have white and black feathers, bright orange legs, and a beak that fades from dark orange to black.
The American White Pelican vs. The Brown Pelican
In addition black skimmers, dozens of pelicans can be spotted at the Texas City Dike. Both brown pelicans and American white pelicans are common to the area and are easily distinguishable from each other. For instance, the brown pelican is mostly brown, while the American white pelican is mainly white. Size is another factor that differentiates the two. In comparison, the American white pelican is almost twice the size of a brown pelican.
It’s a Plane…It’s a Bird…No, It’s a Stray Cat.
Occasionally, you might stumble upon an animal species other than a bird. Visitors often report seeing bottlenose dolphins swimming near the boat docks, so make sure to keep your eyes peeled. Also, another common sighting at the Texas City Dike is none other than the stray cat. Several stray cats have inhabited the fishing pier and can be seen hiding among the rocks.
Visit the Texas City Dike
Whether you are bird enthusiast or not, the Texas City Dike offers a wide range of attractions. Visitors from around Houston visit the pier to enjoy fishing, boating, bicycling, and much more. It is important to note that in order to drive onto the dike, parking sticker must be purchased for each vehicle. Prices vary and can range from $5-$20 per day, depending on the time of year. If you are a Texas City resident with a sticker, you may access pier for free. To learn more, check out the resources provided below.