The area around the Danube and the Danube fen near Günzburg
Compiled by Norbert Röder, revision by Christoph Moning; translated by Nick Lethaby
The Danube floodplain near Günzburg contains an especially rich variety of habitats that are home to very many species. On a good early summer's day, you can easily see 80 species if all recommended places are visited. The area is well known for its large Collared Flycatcher population. But other sought after species such as the Middle Spotted Woodpecker also occur.
Attainable with public means of transport: Yes, if combined with a bike
Equipment: binoculars, scope
accessibility: You will have to walk few kilometres at the Erdbeersee, Schurrsee, Gundelfinger Moos, and Emmausheim areas.
Up to 100 Great White Egret over winter. The Middle Spotted Woodpecker (>30 breeding pairs) is the second most frequently seen woodpecker after the Great Spotted Woodpecker. This region is one of the best places in Germany for the Collared Flycatcher. More than 400 breeding pairs have been estimated to occur in the total area. Peregrines nest on the church steeple in Langenau and Hobby is a common summer visitor throughout the area. Other species of interest include Red-crested Pochard, Spotted Crake, Mediterranean and Yellow-legged Gulls, Bluethroat, Stonechat, Whinchat, Golden Oriole, Nightingale (very common), Penduline Tit and Corn Bunting. During migration, numerous shorebirds as such as Little and Temminck's Stints, Dunlin, Black- and Bar-tailed Godwits, Greenshank, Spotted Redshank, Ringed Plover, and further species the waters to that. During migrations, rarities are regularly found and have included Marsh Sandpiper, Red-footed Falcon, Broad-billed Sandpiper, Red-necked Phalarope and Black-winged Stilt.
Mudbanks and water bodies, alluvial forests close to natural conditions, and cultivated fen landscape of the Gundelfinger Moos.
By rail and bike: The next railway stations are Gundelfingen and Günzburg (further information: http://www.bahn.de). From there proceed by bike..
After heavy Spring rainfall, a large flooded area forms in the fields southeast of Langenau. The flooded area may be as large as 20 ha but in most years the area remains however dry. When flooded, April to June is the best time in order to observe resting shorebirds and ducks. It is also worth checking for Peregrines, which nest on the steeple of Langenau. The area is easy accessible using a car: From the A 7 Langenau Exit, drive into Langenau. From there, follow the map. The interesting area is red marked (changed after TÜK 1:200 000). To reach P1, one drive south from the main road through Langenau and take the first left after crossing the railway tracks. The road then runs parallel to the railway tracks. There is a small observation platform built here in May 2003 from which you can scan the floods.
Volksfestplatz Leipheim (2)
This has proven to be one of the best places to see the Collared Flycatcher, with four to six pair nesting in the trees of the Volksfestplatz. The optimal season is in May. This is a particularly good place to see the birds because the trees (oaks) are widely spaced and do not leaf out until quite late. The Volksfestplatz lies north of Leipheim on the opposite bank of the Danube. In the map (changed after TÜK 1:200 000), the Volksfestplatz with is indicated by the red point. You can reach Leipheim by car from the A 8 Leipheim Exit.
The Erdbeersee area is a good place to look for for Collared Flycatcher (May) as well as for Green, Grey-headed, Lesser and Middle Spotted Woodpecker (April). Take the B 16 from Günzburg to the north. After crossing the Danube, take the fifth road on the right (almost exactly 3 km after the Danube bridge). After short time one will reach a larger lake on the left side. From here, the road is blocked and one must park (P). Follow the paths through the woodland as indicated on the map:
Schurrsee und Gundelfinger Moos (4)
The Schurrsee (1) is a good place to see ducks and shorebirds (especially during autumn migration). In the Gundelfinger Moss (2), all the grassland breeding species such as Snipe, Curlew, Quail, or Corn Bunting can be observed singing or displaying, along with common warbler species such as Whitethroat, Grasshopper, Marsh, Garden, and Willow Warblers. Red-backed Shrike, Nightingale, Bluethroat, Whinchat and Stonechat also occur here, along with a few Penduline Tits. In the winter, Great Grey Shrike, Merlin, Hen Harrier, and Great White Egret are regular visitors. One reaches the Schurrsee from the B 16 in Birkenried (about 4.4 km after the Danube bridge, if you're coming from Günzburg). The road initially passed through some woods before arriving at the gravel pit area. Here the road terminates (P1) so you must proceed by foot. The most interesting area lies in the north part of the gravel pit (red hatching area marked with a 1), where there are muddy and gravely islands and peninsulas that provide some shorebird habitat. The very interesting area of the Gundelfinger Moos lies north to the Schursee. Walking the red marked ways (2) enables you to see or hear most of the breeding species in the area.
This is another very good place to see water birds and shorebirds (the latter especially on autumn migration). At the flooded gravel pits, Black-necked Grebe (occasionally), Red-crested Pochards, and Penduline Tits breed. You can reach this area from the B 16 near Emmausheim (see above-mentioned maps/ approximately 6.8 km after the Danube bridge, if you're coming from Günzburg). At the east edge of the area, park (P2) and take the path that runs west between the flooded gravel pits. The most interesting area (red cross-hatching marked #3) lies right in the northwest corner. It is also possible to drive directly to this gravel pit, which has some low stony and muddy islands for shorebirds and terns.