SPA description
(information as published 2001)

Firth of Tay & Eden Estuary

image: SPA location map 


The Firth of Tay and Eden Estuary is located on the east coast of central Scotland. The Firth stretches for some 35 km along the estuary from near Newburgh to the estuary mouth. For much of its length the main channel of the estuary lies close to the southern shore and the most extensive intertidal flats are on the north side, west of Dundee. In Monifieth Bay, to the east of Dundee, the substrate becomes sandier and there are also Mussel Mytilus edulis beds. The south shore consists of fairly steeply shelving mud and shingle. The Inner Tay Estuary is particularly noted for the continuous dense stands of Common Reed Phragmites australis along its northern shore. These reedbeds, inundated during high tides, are amongst the largest in Britain. Eastwards, as conditions become more saline, there are areas of saltmarsh, a relatively scarce habitat in eastern Scotland. The site is of importance in summer for breeding terns and Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus, whilst in the migration periods and in winter the estuary holds major concentrations of waterbirds, especially waders, sea-ducks and geese. Sea-ducks also feed, loaf and roost outside the SPA in the open waters of the Firth. 


Qualifying species

For individual species accounts visit the Species Accounts section

This site qualifies under Article 4.1 of the Directive (79/409/EEC) by supporting populations of European importance of the following species listed on Annex I of the Directive:
During the breeding season;
Little Tern Sterna albifrons, 44 pairs representing at least 1.8% of the breeding population in Great Britain (Seabird Census Register)
Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus, 4 pairs representing at least 2.5% of the breeding population in Great Britain (1997)
Over winter;
Bar-tailed Godwit Limosa lapponica, 2,400 individuals representing at least 4.5% of the wintering population in Great Britain (winter peak mean)
This site also qualifies under Article 4.2 of the Directive (79/409/EEC) by supporting populations of European importance of the following migratory species:
Over winter;
Greylag Goose Anser anser, 1,355 individuals representing at least 1.4% of the wintering Iceland/UK/Ireland population (5 year peak mean 1991/2 - 1995/6)
Pink-footed Goose Anser brachyrhynchus, 3,769 individuals representing at least 1.7% of the wintering Eastern Greenland/Iceland/UK population (5 year peak mean 1991/2 - 1995/6)
Redshank Tringa totanus, 1,800 individuals representing at least 1.2% of the wintering Eastern Atlantic - wintering population (winter peak mean)
Assemblage qualification: A wetland of international importance.
The area qualifies under Article 4.2 of the Directive (79/409/EEC) by regularly supporting at least 20,000 waterfowl
Over winter, the area regularly supports 34,074 individual waterfowl (5 year peak mean 1991/2 - 1995/6) including: Velvet Scoter Melanitta fusca, Pink-footed Goose Anser brachyrhynchus, Greylag Goose Anser anser, Redshank Tringa totanus, Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo, Shelduck Tadorna tadorna, Eider Somateria mollissima, Bar-tailed Godwit Limosa lapponica, Common Scoter Melanitta nigra, Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa islandica, Goldeneye Bucephala clangula, Red-breasted Merganser Mergus serrator, Goosander Mergus merganser, Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus, Grey Plover Pluvialis squatarola, Sanderling Calidris alba, Dunlin Calidris alpina alpina, Long-tailed duck Clangula hyemalis.



Many designated sites are on private land: the listing of a site in these pages does not imply any right of public access.
Note that sites selected for waterbird species on the basis of their occurrence in the breeding, passage or winter periods also provide legal protection for these species when they occur at other times of the year.