SPA description
(information as published 2001)

Thames Estuary and Marshes

image: SPA location map 

 

The Thames Estuary and Marshes SPA is located on the south side of the Thames Estuary in southern England. The marshes extend for about 15 km along the south side of the estuary and also include intertidal areas on the north side of the estuary. To the south of the river, much of the area is brackish grazing marsh, although some of this has been converted to arable use. At Cliffe, there are flooded clay and chalk pits, some of which have been infilled with dredgings. Outside the sea wall, there is a small extent of saltmarsh and broad intertidal mud-flats. The estuary and adjacent grazing marsh areas support an important assemblage of wintering waterbirds including grebes, geese, ducks and waders. The site is also important in spring and autumn migration periods. 

 


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;
 
Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta, 276 individuals representing at least 21.7% of the wintering population in Great Britain (5 year peak mean 1991/2 - 1995/6)
 
Hen Harrier Circus cyaneus, 7 individuals representing at least 0.9% of the wintering population in Great Britain (5 year mean 93/4-97/8)
 
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:
 
On passage;
 
Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula, 559 individuals representing at least 1.1% of the Europe/Northern Africa - wintering population (5 year peak mean 1991/2 - 1995/6)
 
Over winter;
 
Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula, 541 individuals representing at least 1.1% of the wintering Europe/Northern Africa - 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 33,433 individual waterfowl (5 year peak mean 1991/2 - 1995/6) including: Redshank Tringa totanus, Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa islandica, Dunlin Calidris alpina alpina, Lapwing Vanellus vanellus, Grey Plover Pluvialis squatarola, Shoveler Anas clypeata, Pintail Anas acuta, Gadwall Anas strepera, Shelduck Tadorna tadorna, White-fronted Goose Anser albifrons albifrons, Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis, Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula, Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta, Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus

 


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.