Hamford Water SPA
This site is on the Essex coast in eastern England. It is a large, shallow, estuarine area, made up of tidal creeks and islands, mud- and sand-flats, and saltmarsh. When migrating over winter, seabirds pass through this area. In fact, over winter just under 45,000 waterfowl can be spotted here. In the summer breeding terns call this area home.
MPA TypeSpecial 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 date1 June 1993
Surface Area35.31 km2 (13.63 mi.2)
Perimeter48.23 km (29.97 mi.)
Coordinates (central point)51° 53' 4" North, 1° 15' 33" East
Ringed plover (Charadrius hiaticula)
A small, dumpy, short-legged wading bird that breed on beaches around the coast.
Little tern (Sterna albifrons)
This bird is one of the smallest of its species. Breeding colonies are located on beaches nearby shallow, sheltered waters which offer good foraging for small fish and invertebrates.
Common redshank (Tringa totanus)
As this bird’s name suggests, its’ most distinctive features are its’ bright orange-red legs.
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 teal (Anas crecca)
Little dabbling ducks - with a significant percentage of the wintering population in the UK.
Dark-bellied brent goose (Branta bernicla bernicla)
A small dark goose which occurs in good numbers at just a few sites in the UK. They are vegetarian and particularly partial to seagrass.
Pied avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta)
A distinctively-patterned black and white wading bird with a long up-curved beak.
Did you know?…
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 170 parliamentarians from across the political spectrum signed up to our Marine Charter calling for a network of ‘marine protected areas’ in UK Seas
An area over 9 times the size of Wales is now in marine protected areas in the UK, but less than 1% is considered by MCS scientists to be well managed