I moved to Meols from Moreton over 30 years ago because this area ticked all our boxes for our family.
As an avid sea angler (shore & boat) for over 45 years, I have probably walked and fished every inch of this beautiful Wirral coastline, from Thurstaston to Eastham, and continue to do so today.
The big plus side to my fishing hobby is it brings you into very close contact with another big passion of mine, which is the wildlife in our natural world.
I remember from the boat mooring at Dovepoint to the Barbers Folly, Meols in the 1990s, an area that was totally carpeted with large mussel beds which attracted vast numbers of multiple species, especially Turnstones, Oyster Catchers, Curlews and Red Shanks etc, also large numbers of Herons that fed in the runoff channels.
The only reason those birds were there in the first place then, and now today, and currently on the greater Meols foreshore area is access to an abundant food source, it's that simple.
I do consider myself very lucky regarding this passion, I have seen so much wildlife in my time, Minke whales, Basking Sharks, dolphins, Gannets, Puffins, right down to tiny Hermit crabs and Pipe fish etc.
I do appreciate the natural world!
Importantly, during this time, I have gained reasonable knowledge on how beaches are changing and shaped.
I have recognised there are two main contributory factors of how this occurs, which is via wind directions and tide sizes.
Due to Hoylake and Meols positioning on this coastline, we are more exposed to the elements than most.
Hoylake is shaped more by wind than tide due to its higher position on the coastline, and the consequence of that position it receives very little contact with the sea.
Only the largest of our spring tides can the reach there, but only momentarily at that, on the plus side though, on those rare large spring tides, it does gently drive compact groups of birds towards Hoylake as its always done in the past.
Meols on the other hand has been shaped by both factors, as it receives two high tides daily, which submerges its foreshore, even on neap tides.
Due to the slow tidal flow of this area, it delivers the very building blocks for this perfect habitat that already existed here for many years.
Vital nutrients delivered on these tides and over time have created this ideal eco system and habitat.
This area texture consists of a sloppy mud which had another benefit other than sustaining several types of invertebrates, arthropods, molluscs etc which are so important to the ecology of this area, & the birds in turn.
The public did not venture into this area in the past because of the texture of this area being mudflats, so the birds received very little disturbance from people, especially dog walkers.
I have noticed recently that more people are venturing in this area than in the last 30 years of living here.
However, with the rapidly growing clumps of 100% Spartina anglica grass growth which are anchoring this fine sand in place, its acting like blotting paper and drying out this area, which is the same process happening on Hoylake Beach. Spartina anglica is a pioneer salt marsh species after all!
Today these small muddy areas are receding in size as the Spartina grass rapidly advances along the entire Northern Wirral coastline, Hoylake Beach, around the RNLI station up to Dovepoint to date, so it’s not just a Hoylake issue any longer, it is now a entire Northern Wirral coastline issue!
That’s the bigger picture of all of this upheaval.
What will be the consequences to all the established wildlife that has been here for countless years, and depend on these mudflat areas.
A couple of Snow Buntings where briefly spotted here in February this year and photographed on Hoylake Beach and on the rocks too. Councillor Liz Grey has exploited that in the local press, stating she created a habitat for them.
Snow Bunting sightings have been a regular occurrence here since the 1950’s as records show.
The lovely recent American Golden Plover also seen here on Hoylake Beach recently, is the same bird sighted on the Seaforth Nature Reserve the day before. Past records confirm it’s been sighted before on the Wirral coastline; in 2012 at Red Rocks, in 2009 at Leasowe, and in 2003 at Leasowe & Meols.
It shows this coastline is not a is not a barren landscape/beach devoid of wildlife, it’s actually a thriving living landscape beach.
So, why do the Wirral Council and other people want to put all that lovely nature at risk by encouraging all this grass growth here on Hoylake Beach, and not having the intelligence to realise that nature knows no boundaries.
Of course it would spread along this entire coastline, the mindset is this is backing the creation of a new habitat, however they are ignoring the true fact that there are already pre-existing habitats established here, and ignoring the impact this is having on those habitats.
Up to about 10 years ago we had a good population of Curlews on our local foreshore, and now they are a rare sighting here. Their UK numbers have plummeted due to this very subject “Loss of Habitat”.
If it’s not broken, don’t try and mend it!