SPA description
(information as published 2001)

The Dee Estuary

image: SPA location map 

 

The Dee Estuary lies on the boundary between England and Wales on the north-west coast of Britain. It is a large, funnel-shaped, sheltered estuary that supports extensive areas of intertidal sand-flats, mud-flats and saltmarsh. Where agricultural land-claim has not occurred, the saltmarshes grade into transitional brackish and swamp vegetation on the upper shore. The site also includes the three sandstone islands of Hilbre with their important cliff vegetation and maritime heathland and grassland. The two shorelines of the estuary show a marked contrast between the industrialised usage of the coastal belt in Wales and residential and recreational usage in England. The site is of major importance for waterbirds. During the winter, the intertidal flats and saltmarshes provide feeding and roosting sites for large populations of ducks and waders. In summer, the site supports breeding populations of two species of terns at levels of European importance. The site is also important during migration periods, particularly for wader populations moving along the west coast of Britain. 

 


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;
 
Common Tern Sterna hirundo, 277 pairs representing at least 2.3% of the breeding population in Great Britain (5 year mean 1991-95)
 
Little Tern Sterna albifrons, 56 pairs representing at least 2.3% of the breeding population in Great Britain (RSPB, 5 year mean 1991-95)
 
On passage;
 
Sandwich Tern Sterna sandvicensis, 818 individuals representing at least 5.8% of the population in Great Britain (5 year mean 1991-95)
 
Over winter;
 
Bar-tailed Godwit Limosa lapponica, 1,013 individuals representing at least 1.9% of the wintering population in Great Britain (5 year peak mean 1991/2 - 1995/6)
 
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;
 
Redshank Tringa totanus, 8,451 individuals representing at least 4.8% of the Eastern Atlantic - wintering population (5 year peak mean 1991/2 - 1995/6)
 
Over winter;
 
Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa islandica, 1,739 individuals representing at least 2.5% of the wintering Iceland - breeding population (5 year peak mean 1991/2 - 1995/6)
 
Curlew Numenius arquata, 4,028 individuals representing at least 1.2% of the wintering Europe - breeding population (5 year peak mean 1991/2 - 1995/6)
 
Dunlin Calidris alpina alpina, 22,479 individuals representing at least 1.6% of the wintering Northern Siberia/Europe/Western Africa population (5 year peak mean 1991/2 - 1995/6)
 
Grey Plover Pluvialis squatarola, 2,193 individuals representing at least 1.5% of the wintering Eastern Atlantic - wintering population (5 year peak mean 1991/2 - 1995/6)
 
Knot Calidris canutus, 21,553 individuals representing at least 6.2% of the wintering Northeastern Canada/Greenland/Iceland/Northwestern Europe population (5 year peak mean 1991/2 - 1995/6)
 
Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus, 28,434 individuals representing at least 3.2% of the wintering Europe & Northern/Western Africa population (5 year peak mean 1991/2 - 1995/6)
 
Pintail Anas acuta, 6,498 individuals representing at least 10.8% of the wintering Northwestern Europe population (5 year peak mean 1991/2 - 1995/6)
 
Redshank Tringa totanus, 6,382 individuals representing at least 4.3% of the wintering Eastern Atlantic - wintering population (5 year peak mean 1991/2 - 1995/6)
 
Shelduck Tadorna tadorna, 6,827 individuals representing at least 2.3% of the wintering Northwestern Europe population (5 year peak mean 1991/2 - 1995/6)
 
Teal Anas crecca, 5,918 individuals representing at least 1.5% of the wintering Northwestern Europe 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 130,408 individual waterfowl (5 year peak mean 1991/2 - 1995/6) including: Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa islandica, Shelduck Tadorna tadorna, Teal Anas crecca, Pintail Anas acuta, Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus, Grey Plover Pluvialis squatarola, Bar-tailed Godwit Limosa lapponica, Dunlin Calidris alpina alpina, Sanderling Calidris alba, Curlew Numenius arquata, Redshank Tringa totanus, Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo, Wigeon Anas penelope, Mallard Anas platyrhynchos, Lapwing Vanellus vanellus, Knot Calidris canutus.

 


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.