SPA description
(information as published 2001)

Colne Estuary (Mid-Essex Coast Phase 2)

image: SPA location map 

 

The Colne Estuary is located on the coast of Essex in eastern England. It is a comparatively short and branching estuary, with five tidal arms that flow into the main channel of the River Colne. The estuary has a narrow intertidal zone predominantly composed of flats of fine silt with mud-flat communities typical of south-eastern English estuaries. The estuary is of importance for a range of wintering wildfowl and waders, in addition to breeding Little Tern Sterna albifrons which nest on shell, sand and shingle spits. There is a wide variety of coastal habitats which include mud-flat, saltmarsh, grazing marsh, sand and shingle spits, disused gravel pits and reedbeds which provide feeding and roosting opportunities for the large numbers of waterbirds that use the site.

 

The Colne Estuary is an integral component of the phased Mid-Essex Coast SPA. 
 
For more information see Phased, extended and subsumed SPAs
 

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, 38 pairs representing at least 1.6% of the breeding population in Great Britain (5 year mean, 1992-1996)
 
Over winter;
 
Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta, 75 individuals representing at least 5.9% of the wintering population in Great Britain (5 year peak mean 1991/2 - 1995/6)
 
Golden Plover Pluvialis apricaria, 2,530 individuals representing at least 1.0% of the wintering population in Great Britain (5 year peak mean 1991/2 - 1995/6)
 
Hen Harrier Circus cyaneus, 4 individuals representing at least 0.5% of the wintering population in Great Britain (5 year mean 1994/95-1998/99)
 
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;
 
Dark-bellied Brent Goose Branta bernicla bernicla, 4,907 individuals representing at least 1.6% of the wintering Western Siberia/Western Europe population (5 year peak mean 1991/2 - 1995/6)
 
Redshank Tringa totanus, 2,077 individuals representing at least 1.4% of the wintering Eastern Atlantic - 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 38,548 individual waterfowl (5 year peak mean 1991/2 - 1995/6) including: Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa islandica, Dunlin Calidris alpina alpina, Lapwing Vanellus vanellus, Grey Plover Pluvialis squatarola, Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula, Shelduck Tadorna tadorna, Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo, Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus, Redshank Tringa totanus, Dark-bellied Brent Goose Branta bernicla bernicla, Golden Plover Pluvialis apricaria, Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta.

 


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.