Mersey Estuary SPA

Status: Designated

Description

Site overview

This site comprises large areas of saltmarsh and mud-flats. These provide feeding and roosting sites for large populations of waterbirds. During the winter, the site is of major importance for ducks and waders. The site is also important during the spring and autumn migration periods, particularly for wader populations moving along the west coast of Britain. 

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 December 1995

Surface Area

50.27 km2 (19.41 mi.2)

Perimeter

211.75 km (131.57 mi.)

  • Ringed plover (Charadrius hiaticula)

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

  • Eurasian wigeon (Anas penelope)

    Sites in the UK are an important wintering ground for these small ducks.

  • Common redshank (Tringa totanus)

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

  • Dunlin (Calidris alpina alpina)

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

  • Black-tailed godwit (Limosa limosa islandica)

    A large wading bird with a very distinctive long beak.

  • 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.

  • Great crested grebe (Podiceps cristatus)

    Hunted for its feathers this stunning waterbird was almost lost from the UK. They are well known for the elaborate courtship dance they do and for carrying their tiny young on their backs.

  • Northern lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)

    This familiar farmland bird has suffered significant declines. It is also known as a ‘peewit’ after it’s call and get’s the name lapwing from its wavering flight.

  • Northern pintail (Anas acuta)

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

  • Eurasian teal (Anas crecca)

    Little dabbling ducks - with a significant percentage of the wintering population in the UK.

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

Did you know?…

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

Over 500,000 records on undersea habitats and species have been collected by volunteer Seasearch divers providing significant evidence for inshore ‘marine protected areas’

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