Colne Estuary (Mid-Essex Coast Phase 2) SPA
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 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 July 1994
Surface Area27.19 km2 (10.50 mi.2)
Perimeter159.81 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.
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.
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