Dawn Traveller


Dawn Traveller (Latham’s Snipe) Original Watercolour and Gouache 52cm x 35cm

 Peter’s Inspiration: “I made this painting largely in watercolour, using large transparent washes layered to show the soft graduated light of early morning reflected in the still open water. I used the opaque qualities of gouache to render the detail of the bird, the mudflats and the bordering plants and reflections. A sense of stillness and uncluttered space is key to the image”.

Latham’s Snipe are migratory wading birds that breed in Japan and south-eastern Siberia and migrate to south-eastern and eastern Australia. These birds weigh just 200g, but make this extraordinary 8000 km journey twice annually, via New Guinea, between the northern breeding grounds and southern foraging sites. In Australia researchers have trapped and tagged Snipe and have shown that birds return repeatedly to the same sites, arriving at the same time each year


Snipe are shy and cryptic birds, sheltering in wetland vegetation and grassland during daylight and foraging in more open muddy habitats overnight. With luck they can be seen foraging at dawn and dusk when light levels are low; even then they are extremely wary and will take flight if disturbed. By birdwatching regularly at a local wetlands I have been lucky to see snipe many times, and even helped out with trapping and tagging birds and seen them return in the following years, but a sighting is always special.

Original painting by Peter Marsack

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