Franconia hosts an isolated population of Ortolan Buntings, the only one in Southern Germany. The attractive Bunting can only be found at places with diversified vegetation. This diversity is however threatened by the intensive agriculture. That´s the reason why the population here in Franconia is declining. Between “Grettstadt” and “Sulzheim” however there are still good chances to see this species.
Black Woodpecker, Collared Flycatcher, Corn Bunting, Middle Spotted Woodpecker, Ortolan Bunting, Quail, Red-backed Shrike, Turtle Dove, Wryneck
By Car: Leave the motorway A 70 at the exit 8 “Gochsheim” and follow the street in the direction of “Gochsheim”, which you´ll reach shortly afterwards. From this point on there will be signs leading you to “Grettstadt”, you'll arrive after a few kilometers.
Now you only have to stay on the main street. After you've passed “Grettstadt” the parking ground is only a few more kilometers to go. At first you'll pass a wood on your right, afterwards a wood on your left. Turn right to the second lane after the last wood, where also a couple of trees are standing. Additionally there is a small blue sign indicating the car park.
By Public Transport: There is no station near the site, however you can go by bicycle from the main station of “Schweinfurt” via “Gochsheim”. The distance is about 13 kilometers. The villages of “Grettstadt” and “Sulzheim” (the village south of the site) are both approached by the bus line 8160, which starts in “Schweinfurt”. For closer navigation to the site please pay attention to the clues given in the section Access - By Car.
Near the car park however you won't yet be able to observe Ortolan Buntings. For reaching the first territories you have to walk a bit at first. Follow the main trail for a few hundred meters. On your left hand side you can see a mixed area with trees, hedges and bushes being a reliable place for Red-backed Shrike, Turtle Dove and Wryneck. Sometimes also Quails are calling from the fields around.
Finally you´ll come to a very long row of trees (1), which is running almost parallel to the street. Immediately behind this row you have to turn right and follow a smaller path along the trees. After almost two kilometers the path will end in another trail (2). Here you should be able to hear the melancholical song of the Ortolan Bunting. Quite reliable for this species as well is also the edge of the near forest, where furthermore Collared Flycatcher and Middle Spotted Woodpecker can be encountered. Turn to your right and shortly afterwards left until you reach the edge of the forest (3). Now you can walk along the forest and turn to your left after having passed it. Turn at the next left and follow the path until you reach the row of trees, where you have started the small circuit walk.
For reaching the first territories of Ortolan Buntings you have to walk at least 3 kilometers from the parking ground. If you expand your walk to the forest, you will have yet to spend another hour.
(1) [49°57'17.29"N 10°18'47.74"E]
(2) [49°57'56.93"N 10°18'36.52"E]
(3) [49°58'7.22"N 10°18'34.51"E]
P [49°57'20.78"N 10°19'23.52"E]
Christoph Moning, Christian Wagner: Vögel beobachten in Süddeutschland, Stuttgart 2012.