The river Main is an important inland waterway and so the river was regulated. Thereupon the once rich floodplains were declining and most of the breeders disappeared. Almost 15 years ago an ambitious project had been started to restore the nature in the valley of the river Main. Many quarry ponds were reformed, hides and observation towers built. Since seven years the result can be seen in this section of the river: Bluethroat, Black Kite and many more have returned to their former breeding areas.
Black Kite, Bluethroat, Corn Bunting, Great Reed Warbler, Grey Partridge, Kingfisher, Lapwing, Little Bittern, Little Ringed Plover, Marsh Harrier, Nightingale, Penduline Tit, Quail, Red-backed Shrike, Water Rail, Wryneck
Black Kite, Common Sandpiper, Dunlin, Garganey, Goldeneye, Greater White fronted Goose, Golden Plover, Green Sandpiper, Greenshank, Little Gull, Little Ringed Plover, Osprey, Pintail, Purple Heron, Ruff, Shoveler, Teal, Wigeon, Wood Sandpiper, Yellow-legged Gull
Caspian Gull, Goldeneye, Goosander, Greater White-fronted Goose, Great Grey Shrike, Hen Harrier, Smew
This shallow lake is situated close to the town of Haßfurt and provides often the best birding in the region. While it is rather uninteresting in the winter, migration seasons offer a great variety of birds. Birds of prey, geese and Lapwings (sometimes accompanied by Golden Plovers) favour the large open area nearby. At the same time often good numbers of resting waterfowl can be observed on the lake.
In the spring and early summer the most breeders arrive, which include Bluethroat, Little Bittern, Great Reed Warbler and Corn Buntings in the close-by water protection area.
By Car: Leave the A 70 at the exit 11 “Knetzgau” and follow the street in the direction of “Haßfurt”. After almost six kilometers you'll come to a roundabout, take there the second exit. Shortly afterwards turn left in the direction of “Augsfeld” which you'll reach after crossing the rails. After the main street makes a turn to the left and then to the right you'll leave the village and find the first interesting field for resting migrants on you right hand side (1).
Turn right into the second lane after the village exit and follow it until it makes a turn to the right, where the parking ground is located on the left hand side.
By Public Transport: “Haßfurt” is the centre of the local bus network and has furthermore a railway station. Starting at the latter turn left into the “Bahnhofsstraße” and follow it to the main street, where you have to turn left again. Shortly afterwards turn right into the street “Am Ziegelbrunn” and stay on it until you'll come to the “Flugplatzstraße” on your right hand side. Following the latter you'll reach the site after 2,8 km.
From the nearby observation tower you´ll get a good overview of the reed belts with a good chance to see Little Bitterns in the summer. For a closer look on the lake “Großer Wörth” stay on the path, which forks soon afterwards (2). From this point on a circuit walk is running around the lake. There are here and there gaps in the vegetation, for example at (3), which will allow you to look on the lake. Waders prefer the sandbanks of the opposite shore (viewed from the observation tower). Be careful, since the path runs very close to the shore and especially sensible species may be flushed, if you´re not sensitive.
The open area around the lake is very often also worth a look, especially during migration when many migrants are resting on the fields and in the bushes. As the situation is then unpredictable I can´t give detailed tips. However, in the most cases the best strategy is to drive (or walk) on the various lanes between Haßfurt and Augsfeld.
For observing the above mentioned Corn Buntings follow the lane in the direction of Haßfurt until you come to a trail on your right hand side (4), from which the buntings can often be heard singing.
(1) [50°0'49.64"N 10°33'6.47"E]
(2) [50°0'37.37"N 10°32'4.28"E]
(3) [50°0'51.61"N 10°31'57.12"E]
(4) [50°1'31.00"N 10°31'12.19"E]
P "Großer Wörth" [50°0'40.44"N 10°32'15.86"E]
Around the village of the Sand a. Main you´ll find three interesting lakes which are worth a visit all around the year. The westernmost lake the "Hochreinsee" and the neighbouring "Sander Baggersee West" are good during migration and breeding seasons, whereby the "Sander Baggersee Ost" on the other side of Sand provides reasonable gatherings of waterfowl in the winter half-year.
By Car: Depending from where you come you can leave the motorway A 70 either at the exit 11 "Knetzgau" or at the exit 12 "Eltmann". Stay in any case in the direction of "Sand a. Main". See below for the detailed directions to the single sites.
By Public Transport: The nearby town “Zeil a. Main” is approachable via train, from where it is only two kilometers to “Sand a. Main”. Furthermore, the bus lines 8178 and 8180 starting in “Haßfurt” stop in the village.
Hochreinsee: Along the connection road between "Sand a. Main" and "Knetzgau" there are two different lanes which lead to a parking ground at the lake. Despite both are generally suitable, I focus in this description on the way which is closest to Sand a. Main.
Leave therefore the road a few hundred after the village exit in the direction of the "Life-Natur-Erlebnisweg" (5), be careful because the sign post can easily be overlooked. Always following these signs you´ll finally come to the mentioned parking ground after a few minutes.
Next to the parking ground there is an observation hill (6), from where you have a good overview of the middle part of the lake. Following the trail eastwards you´ll soon come across a small sign post on your left hand side which directs you to a very often profitable hide (7), though the view is similar to (6). Afterwards the path soon splits up into a trail leading you through a riparian forest and one leading you around the latter. In any case you pass a former stream at (8) after a while and come afterwards to a T-junction. Turn here left and follow the path northwards until (9), where you can look once again on the lake.
Sander Baggersee West: When following this path further on you´ll come soon after that to another junction, where you turn right and shortly after that again right. Now the "Sander Baggersee West" should already be visible through the forest. From a nearby peninsula (10) you have a very good overview of the main part.
However, especially during breeding season it can also be profitable to visit the eastern part of the lake which cannot be seen from there. Drive for this back to Sand a. Main and turn there left in the direction of "Zeil a. Main". After leaving the village turn again left into the second path. Here you´ll find an open area where you can park. Recommendable are the small circuit walk around the small pond south of the "parking ground" and the peninsula at (11).
Sander Baggersee Ost: This quarry pond usually offers the most waterfowl in the winter and is - despite of this - certainly underwatched. Additionally, in the spring several territories of Bluethroats can be found along the shoreline and from April onwards Black Kites can regularly be seen soaring over the site. The best starting point is a parking ground at the oxbow lake "Alter Main" which is situated on your right hand side when driving from the main road (Eltmann - Sand - Knetzgau) in the direction of Zeil.
Follow at first the subsequent path along the riparian forest for a few hundred meters. When always keeping left you should soon come to the shore of the mentioned lake. Especially, its western part can nicely be seen from the path. However, you only have a overview of both parts on the peninsula at (12). Good habitat for Bluethroats and Reed Buntings can be found on the stretch until (13), from where also the most water birds should be seen. Generally it's possible to take the path on the eastern shore, though there are no more good insights on the lake.
(5) [49°59'20.86"N 10°34'18.62"E]
(6) [49°59'50.35"N 10°34'13.76"E]
(7) [49°59'51.27"N 10°34'20.60"E]
(8) [49°59'43.12"N 10°34'27.60"E]
(9) [49°59'47.91"N 10°34'34.33"E]
P "Hochreinsee" [49°59'49.77"N 10°34'13.07"E]
Sander Baggersee West:
(10) [49°59'50.04"N 10°34'49.92"E]
(11) [49°59'56.77"N 10°35'3.98"E]
Sander Baggersee Ost:
(12) [49°59'35.81"N 10°36'20.98"E]
(13) [49°59'31.33"N 10°36'5.39"E]
P "Sander Baggersee Ost" [49°59'24.66"N 10°35'33.17"E]