Foulness (Mid-Essex Coast Phase 5) SPA

Status: Designated

Description

Site overview

This site is located on the coast of Essex, on the east coast of England north of the mouth of the Thames estuary. The site is made up of saltmarsh, intertidal mud-flats, cockle-shell banks and sand-flats. It includes one of the three largest continuous sand-silt flats in the UK.  The diversity of this site supports important populations of breeding, migratory and wintering waterbirds, such as the dark-bellied brent goose. 

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

109.39 km2 (42.24 mi.2)

Perimeter

279.55 km (173.70 mi.)

Coordinates (central point)

51° 34' 33" North, 0° 55' 10" 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.

  • 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 tern (Sterna hirundo)

    A silvery-grey and white bird sometimes called a ‘sea swallow’ because of it’s long tail.

  • Common redshank (Tringa totanus)

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

  • 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.

  • Grey plover (Pluvialis squatarola)

    A widely distributed shorebird that prefers sandy and muddy estuaries.

  • 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.

  • Pied avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta)

    A distinctively-patterned black and white wading bird with a long up-curved beak. 

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

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