Colne Estuary (Mid-Essex Coast Phase 2) SPA

Status: Designated

Description

Site overview

This estuary is located on the coast of Essex in eastern England. It is a pretty short estuary, with five tidal arms that flow into the main channel of the River Colne. Mud-flats, saltmarsh, grazing marsh, sand and shingle spits, disused gravel pits and reedbeds can all be found here, which provide feeding and roosting opportunities for the large numbers of waterbirds that use the site. During winter, wildfowl and waders call this area home, in addition to breeding little terns which nest on shell, sand and shingle spits. 

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 July 1994

Surface Area

27.19 km2 (10.50 mi.2)

Perimeter

159.81 km (99.30 mi.)

Coordinates (central point)

51° 48' 22" North, 0° 59' 28" 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Hen harrier (Circus cyaneus)

    The UK’s most intensively persecuted bird of prey. While they spend the summer on heaths and moors they head out to some coastal marhes in winter.

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

Did you know?…

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

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

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