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Love birds

Last modified: 13 February 2015

Flock of waders landing on mudflats at sunset

What more romantic setting to get engaged than watching waders on the mudflats at sunrise?

Image: Niall Benvie

It’s not just birds and other wildlife that are drawn to the mudflats, salt marshes and lagoons of The Wash and North Norfolk coast- the wild landscape also holds its attractions for romantic nature lovers, as RSPB members Tim Seal and Samantha Hudson showed when they got engaged at RSPB Snettisham nature reserve last month.

Wildlife lovers Tim and Samantha live in Camden Town, in London, and regularly make the 200 mile plus round trip to the North Norfolk Coast. After last month’s very special visit, Sam wrote to the RSPB:

“We travel up to RSPB Snettisham as often as possible to see the pink-footed geese and wader spectaculars- we're obsessed and dream of living in North Norfolk! We always stay for a few nights in Blakeney and spend our time walking, visiting the local RSPB reserves and enjoying cream teas!

“A couple of weeks ago, on Friday 16th January, we were at RSPB Snettisham at sunrise, watching the geese. Tim said he wanted to take a self-timed photo of us and set the camera up on the tripod. I didn't think too much of this, until he ran around in front of the camera and instead of posing for the photo, he got down on one knee with a ring and asked me to marry him! It was an incredibly special moment for both of us, made all the more romantic because he chose to propose at my favourite place in the whole world: on the edge of The Wash at Snettisham with the geese flying overhead :-)

“We have booked our wedding for 30th August this year. I thought I'd share the story and a few of our photos from the moment.

“Best wishes, (a very happy) Samantha Hudson - soon to be Samantha Seal (yes really, the perfect surname for a nature lover!)”

As one of Europe’s most important sites for wildlife, especially wading birds and waterfowl, which visit the area in their millions every winter, The Wash is a Special Protection Area under European law.

Waders, such as knots, feed on the vast intertidal mudflats, which are full of all manner of worms, crustaceans and molluscs, and take to the air in huge flocks when the tide comes in, or if they spot a circling marsh harrier.

Pink-footed geese on the other hand, graze in the nearby fields and farmland during the day and return to the flats at sunset to roost for the night.

RSPB Snettisham nature reserve is the place to witness these and other wonderful wildlife spectacles of The Wash.

Jim Scott, Site Manager at RSPB Snettisham nature reserve, said, “It’s wonderful that two people like Sam and Tim love the wildlife here as much as we do and hope that their dream of living in North Norfolk comes true and they’ll be able to enjoy the place, birds, and cream teas on a daily basis! I look forward to welcoming them back as Mr and Mrs Seal.”

To find out more about Snettisham and for all the information you need to plan your visit, go to, call 01485 542689, or e-mail

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