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Location United Kingdom, South East
Central coordinates 0o 57.57' East  51o 40.33' North
IBA criteria A4i, A4iii, B1i, B2, C2, C3, C4, C6
Area 22,856 ha
Altitude 0 - 6m
Year of IBA assessment 2007

Royal Society for the Protection of Birds



Site description A large complex of estuaries and sand-silt flats, including the Blackwater, Crouch, Colne and Dengie Estuaries. Foulness and Maplin Sands is one of the three largest continuous sand-silt flats in Britain. The IBA is important for wintering and passage waders and wildfowl and for breeding terns and is also nationally important for breeding Panurus biarmicus.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Northern Pintail Anas acuta winter  2001-2006  687 individuals  good  B1i, C3  Least Concern 
Brent Goose Branta bernicla passage  2001-2006  8,985 individuals  good  A4i, B1i, C3  Least Concern 
Brent Goose Branta bernicla winter  2001-2006  17,711 individuals  good  A4i, B1i, C3  Least Concern 
Common Shelduck Tadorna tadorna winter  2001-2006  4,066 individuals  good  A4i, B1i, C3  Least Concern 
Eurasian Wigeon Mareca penelope winter  2001-2006  14,182 individuals  good  B1i, C3  Least Concern 
Common Teal Anas crecca passage  2001-2006  4,159 individuals  good  B1i, C3  Least Concern 
Common Teal Anas crecca winter  2001-2006  6,694 individuals  good  B1i, C3  Least Concern 
Haematopus ostralegus passage  2001-2006  17,650 individuals  good  A4i, B1i, C3  Not Recognised 
Haematopus ostralegus winter  2001-2006  22,502 individuals  good  A4i, B1i, C3  Not Recognised 
Pied Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta passage  2001-2006  804 individuals  good  B1i, C2, C6  Least Concern 
Pied Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta winter  2001-2006  865 individuals  good  B1i, C2, C6  Least Concern 
Eurasian Golden Plover Pluvialis apricaria passage  2001-2006  10,068 individuals  good  B1i, C2  Least Concern 
Eurasian Golden Plover Pluvialis apricaria winter  2001-2006  22,320 individuals  good  A4i, B1i, C2, C6  Least Concern 
Grey Plover Pluvialis squatarola passage  2001-2006  7,962 individuals  good  A4i, B1i, C3  Least Concern 
Grey Plover Pluvialis squatarola winter  2001-2006  10,209 individuals  good  A4i, B1i, C3  Least Concern 
Common Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula winter  2001-2006  655 individuals  good  B1i, C3  Least Concern 
Common Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula passage  2001-2006  1,302 individuals  good  B1i, C3  Least Concern 
Common Redshank Tringa totanus passage  2001-2006  6,706 individuals  good  A4i, B1i, C3  Least Concern 
Common Redshank Tringa totanus winter  2001-2006  9,583 individuals  good  A4i, B1i, C3  Least Concern 
Common Redshank Tringa totanus breeding  1993  895 breeding pairs  good  B1i, B2, C3  Least Concern 
Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa passage  2001-2006  1,758 individuals  good  B1i, C3  Near Threatened 
Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa winter  2001-2006  3,390 individuals  good  B1i, C3  Near Threatened 
Bar-tailed Godwit Limosa lapponica passage  2001-2006  5,653 individuals  good  A4i, B1i, C2, C6  Least Concern 
Bar-tailed Godwit Limosa lapponica winter  2001-2006  8,744 individuals  good  A4i, B1i, B2, C2, C6  Least Concern 
Eurasian Curlew Numenius arquata passage  2001-2006  4,520 individuals  good  A4i, B1i, C3  Near Threatened 
Eurasian Curlew Numenius arquata winter  2001-2006  3,257 individuals  good  B2  Near Threatened 
Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres passage  2001-2006  764 individuals  good  A4i, B1i, C3  Least Concern 
Red Knot Calidris canutus passage  2001-2006  12,558 individuals  good  A4i, B1i, C3  Least Concern 
Red Knot Calidris canutus winter  2001-2006  40,717 individuals  good  A4i, B1i, B2, C3  Least Concern 
Dunlin Calidris alpina passage  2001-2006  27,023 individuals  good  A4i, B1i, C3  Least Concern 
Dunlin Calidris alpina winter  2001-2006  32,935 individuals  good  A4i, B1i, B2, C3  Least Concern 
Ruff Calidris pugnax passage  2001-2006  45 individuals  good  C6  Least Concern 
Ruff Calidris pugnax winter  2001-2006  53 individuals  good  C6  Least Concern 
Mediterranean Gull Larus melanocephalus breeding  2000  6 breeding pairs  good  C6  Least Concern 
Common Tern Sterna hirundo breeding  2000-2002  256 breeding pairs  good  C6  Least Concern 
Common Tern Sterna hirundo breeding  2006  136 breeding pairs  good  C6  Least Concern 
Little Tern Sternula albifrons breeding  1999-2000  137 breeding pairs  good  B1i, B2, C2  Least Concern 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds passage  2001-2006  111,888 individuals  good  A4iii, C4   
A4iii Species group - waterbirds winter  2001-2006  216,968 individuals  good  A4iii, C4   

IBA Monitoring

2007 high very unfavourable low
Population
Good - based on reliable and complete / representative data

Climate change and severe weather habitat shifting and alteration happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) moderate to rapid deterioration high
Natural system modifications dams & water management/use - small dams likely in short term (within 4 years) small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low
Natural system modifications other ecosystem modifications happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Residential and commercial development housing and urban areas likely in short term (within 4 years) small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low
Residential and commercial development tourism and recreation areas likely in short term (within 4 years) small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low

Anas acuta Northern Pintail 365 687 individuals 100 favourable
Branta bernicla Brent Goose 29600 17711 individuals 60 unfavourable
Tadorna tadorna Common Shelduck 5700 4066 individuals 72 near favourable
Mareca penelope Eurasian Wigeon 5350 14182 individuals 100 favourable
Anas crecca Common Teal 4150 6694 individuals 100 favourable
Haematopus ostralegus 15800 22502 individuals 100 favourable
Haematopus ostralegus 11100 17650 individuals 100 favourable
Recurvirostra avosetta Pied Avocet 120 865 individuals 100 favourable
Pluvialis apricaria Eurasian Golden Plover 1950 10068 individuals 100 favourable
Pluvialis apricaria Eurasian Golden Plover 12500 22320 individuals 100 favourable
Pluvialis squatarola Grey Plover 6500 7962 individuals 100 favourable
Pluvialis squatarola Grey Plover 8700 10209 individuals 100 favourable
Charadrius hiaticula Common Ringed Plover 835 655 individuals 79 near favourable
Charadrius hiaticula Common Ringed Plover 1700 1302 individuals 77 near favourable
Tringa totanus Common Redshank 5450 6706 individuals 100 favourable
Tringa totanus Common Redshank 5650 9583 individuals 100 favourable
Limosa limosa Black-tailed Godwit 1090 1758 individuals 100 favourable
Limosa limosa Black-tailed Godwit 1130 3390 individuals 100 favourable
Limosa lapponica Bar-tailed Godwit 7550 8744 individuals 100 favourable
Limosa lapponica Bar-tailed Godwit 3380 5653 individuals 100 favourable
Numenius arquata Eurasian Curlew 5500 3257 individuals 60 unfavourable
Numenius arquata Eurasian Curlew 6550 4520 individuals 70 near favourable
Arenaria interpres Ruddy Turnstone 1030 650 individuals 64 unfavourable
Arenaria interpres Ruddy Turnstone 900 764 individuals 85 near favourable
Calidris canutus Red Knot 7450 12558 individuals 100 favourable
Calidris canutus Red Knot 37600 40717 individuals 100 favourable
Calidris alpina Dunlin 48300 32935 individuals 69 unfavourable
Calidris alpina Dunlin 30800 27023 individuals 88 near favourable
Calidris pugnax Ruff 50 53 individuals 100 favourable
Thalasseus sandvicensis Sandwich Tern 330 0 breeding pairs 0 very unfavourable
Sterna hirundo Common Tern 256 136 breeding pairs 54 unfavourable
Sternula albifrons Little Tern 58 137 breeding pairs 100 favourable
Species group - waterbirds A4iii 81283 111888 individuals 100 favourable
Species group - waterbirds A4iii 230430 216968 individuals 95 favourable

Whole area of site (>90%) covered by appropriate conservation designation  A management plan exists but it is out of date or not comprehensive  Not assessed  low 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Blackwater Estuary Site of Special Scientific Interest 4,403 protected area contained by site 4,397  
Blackwater Estuary Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar) 4,395 protected area contained by site 4,395  
Blackwater Estuary (Mid-Essex Coast Phase 4) Birds Directive 4,395 protected area contained by site 4,395  
Colne Estuary Site of Special Scientific Interest 2,986 protected area contained by site 2,969  
Colne Estuary (Mid-Essex Coast Phase 2) Birds Directive 2,701 protected area contained by site 2,701  
Colne Estuary (Mid-Essex Coast Phase 2) Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar) 2,701 protected area contained by site 2,701  
Crouch & Roach Estuaries (Mid-Essex Coast Phase 3) Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar) 1,736 protected area contained by site 1,736  
Crouch and Roach Estuaries Site of Special Scientific Interest 1,746 protected area contained by site 1,736  
Crouch and Roach Estuaries (Mid-Essex Coast Phase 3) Birds Directive 1,736 protected area contained by site 1,736  
Dengie National Nature Reserve 2,547 protected area contained by site 2,544  
Dengie Site of Special Scientific Interest 3,132 protected area contained by site 3,126  
Dengie (Mid-Essex Coast Phase 1) Birds Directive 3,127 protected area contained by site 3,127  
Dengie (Mid-Essex Coast Phase 1) Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar) 3,127 protected area contained by site 3,127  
Foulness Site of Special Scientific Interest 10,946 protected area contained by site 10,927  
Foulness (Mid-Essex Coast Phase 5) Birds Directive 10,931 protected area contained by site 10,931  
Foulness (Mid-Essex Coast Phase 5) Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar) 10,933 protected area contained by site 10,933  

Habitats

IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Grassland   -
Wetlands (inland) Mud flats and sand flats; Rivers and streams; Salt marshes; Sand dunes and beaches; Shingle or stony beaches; Tidal rivers and enclosed tidal waters; Water fringe vegetation  -

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture -
fisheries/aquaculture -
military -
nature conservation and research -

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Mid-Essex Coast. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 29/12/2014

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife