SPA description
(information as published 2001)

Stour and Orwell Estuaries

image: SPA location map 

 

The Stour and Orwell estuaries straddle the eastern part of the Essex/Suffolk border in eastern England. The estuaries include extensive mud-flats, low cliffs, saltmarsh and small areas of vegetated shingle on the lower reaches. The mud-flats hold Enteromorpha, Zostera and Salicornia spp. The site also includes an area of low-lying grazing marsh at Shotley Marshes on the south side of the Orwell. In summer, the site supports important numbers of breeding Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta, while in winter they hold major concentrations of waterbirds, especially geese, ducks and waders. The geese also feed, and waders roost, in surrounding areas of agricultural land outside the SPA.

 

The site has close ecological links with the Hamford Water and Mid-Essex Coast SPAs, lying to the south on the same coast.
 

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:
 
Over winter;
 
Hen Harrier Circus cyaneus, 10 individuals representing at least 1.3% of the wintering population in Great Britain (Count as at 1996/7)
 
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;
 
Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa islandica, 2,475 individuals representing at least 3.5% of the wintering Iceland - breeding population (5 year peak mean 1991/2 - 1995/6)
 
Dunlin Calidris alpina alpina, 23,940 individuals representing at least 1.7% of the wintering Northern Siberia/Europe/Western Africa population (5 year peak mean 1991/2 - 1995/6)
 
Grey Plover Pluvialis squatarola, 3,660 individuals representing at least 2.4% of the wintering Eastern Atlantic - wintering population (5 year peak mean 1991/2 - 1995/6)
 
Pintail Anas acuta, 878 individuals representing at least 1.5% of the wintering Northwestern Europe population (5 year peak mean 1991/2 - 1995/6)
 
Redshank Tringa totanus, 3,545 individuals representing at least 2.4% of the wintering Eastern Atlantic - wintering population (5 year peak mean 1991/2 - 1995/6)
 
Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula, 578 individuals representing at least 1.2% of the wintering Europe/Northern Africa - wintering population (5 year peak mean 1991/2 - 1995/6)
 
Shelduck Tadorna tadorna, 3,672 individuals representing at least 1.2% of the wintering Northwestern Europe population (5 year peak mean 1991/2 - 1995/6)
 
Turnstone Arenaria interpres, 836 individuals representing at least 1.2% of the wintering Western Palearctic - wintering population (5 year peak mean 1991/2 - 1995/6)
 

 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 64,768 individual waterfowl (5 year peak mean 1991/2 - 1995/6) including: Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo, Pintail Anas acuta, Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula, Grey Plover Pluvialis squatarola, Dunlin Calidris alpina alpina, Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa islandica, Redshank Tringa totanus, Shelduck Tadorna tadorna, Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus, Curlew Numenius arquata, Dark-bellied Brent Goose Branta bernicla bernicla, Wigeon Anas penelope, Goldeneye Bucephala clangula, Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus, Lapwing Vanellus vanellus, Knot Calidris canutus, Turnstone Arenaria interpres

 


Note:

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.