Morecambe Bay SPA

Status: Dropped

Description

Site overview


This site is located on the Irish Sea coast of north-west England. It is one of the largest estuarine systems in the UK and is fed by five main river channels (Leven, Kent, Keer, Lune and Wyre).
You can find mussel beds holding together the banks of shingle here.
Lots of birds come to this area to feed. In summer, areas of shingle and sand hold breeding populations of terns, whilst very large numbers of geese, ducks and waders come here in the winter and, (especially for waders) use the site in spring and autumn migration periods. During the breeding season, the area regularly supports over 61,000 birds.

MPA Type

Special Protection Area

Special Protection Areas (SPAs) are strictly protected sites designated uner European legislation. They are established to protect rare and vulnerable birds and for regularly occurring migratory species.

Designation date

1 October 1996

Surface Area

373.88 km2 (144.36 mi.2)

  • Seabird assemblage (Seabird assemblage)

    Important areas where a number of seabird species occur in significant numbers.

  • Ruddy turnstone (Arenaria interpres)

    A small shore bird whose name refers to its habit of creeping and fluttering over rocks, picking out food from under stones.

  • Ringed plover (Charadrius hiaticula)

    A small, dumpy, short-legged wading bird that breed on beaches around the coast.

  • Bar-tailed godwit (Limosa lapponica)

    A long-billed, long-legged wading bird that visits the UK in the winter.

  • Waterfowl assemblage

    Important areas where a number of waterfowl species occur in significant numbers.

  • Common redshank (Tringa totanus)

    As this bird’s name suggests, its’ most distinctive features are its’ bright orange-red legs.

  • Pink-footed goose (Anser brachyrhynchus)

    A medium-sized goose that winters in the UK. Numbers are increasing in England, probably because of better protection at winter roosts.

  • Sandwich tern (Sterna sandvicensis)

    One of Scotland’s four regularly breeding tern species.

  • Red knot (Calidris canutus)

    A dumpy, short-legged, stocky wading bird that depends on the rich source of worms and shellfish in estuaries. Large numbers come to the UK in the winter.

  • Eurasian oystercatcher (Haematopus ostralegus)

    A familiar, stocky, black and white wading bird that mostly depends on mussels and cockles.

  • Dunlin (Calidris alpina alpina)

    The commonest small wading bird found around UK shores with a distinctive black belly in the summer.

  • Grey plover (Pluvialis squatarola)

    A widely distributed shorebird that prefers sandy and muddy estuaries.

  • Common shelduck (Tadorna tadorna)

    This is a big, colourful duck, bigger than a mallard but smaller than a goose.

  • Eurasian curlew (Numenius arquata)

    This widely distributed wading bird with its distinctive long, curved bill is threatened by habitat loss.

  • Northern pintail (Anas acuta)

    This duck is slightly bigger than a mallard and has a very distinctive long tail that tapers to a point.

  • Tidal rivers, Estuaries, Mud flats, Sand flats, Lagoons (including saltwork basins)
  • Salt marshes, Salt pastures, Salt steppes

Did you know?…

To the shelf limits, Scotland has 61% of UK waters, of which 23% are now in existing or new ‘marine protected areas’

Over half a million people have voiced their support for ‘marine protected area’ designation in the UK through our campaigns

Over 170 parliamentarians from across the political spectrum signed up to our Marine Charter calling for a network of ‘marine protected areas’ in UK Seas

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