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Small lowland nature reserve along a Rhine tributary, the river Selz, with associated ponds and marshes. Situated among the open Rhenish-Hessian hill country.
The small river Selz has been renaturalised at this reserve. Along with an area of flooded marshes, reedbeds, ponds, grassland and scattered riverine woodland, some regionally scarce breeders are present and over the years a wide variety of passage and winter birds have been recorded. Over 200 species are now on the reserve list. A concerted effort in Spring on a good day can produce 70 species at the reserve and along the river.
The main attraction for most will be spring and summer reedbed visitors, such as Bluethroat, Savi's Warbler and Marsh Harrier. Great Reed Warbler has become more regular and Bearded Tit appears to have recently colonised. Penduline Tit has bred but nowadays has generally reduced to being a scarce migrant. There is a Grey Heron colony and scarcer relatives such as Black-crowned Night-Heron, Little Egret, Little Bittern, Purple Heron and Great Bittern have all been recorded in recent years, some regularly.
Passage waders can be found on the pools or flooded grasslands, but this is heavily dependent on weather and water level conditions. More regular are Green Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper, Common Redshank Common Greenshank, Dunlin, Ruff and Spotted Redshank but local scarcities such as Black-tailed Godwit, Whimbrel, Curlew Sandpiper, Temminck's Stint and even Red Phalarope have all been recorded.
Common Crane , White Stork and Black Stork are regular visitors. The woodlands hold good numbers of Common Nightingale and Golden Oriole. Middle Spotted Woodpecker has recently colonised the area. Little Owl and Long-eared Owl breed, as does Eurasian Hobby, Red Kite and Black Kite.
Wildfowl numbers build up modestly in Spring and Autumn with Common Teal being the most easily encountered. Visibility can be a challenge with reeds obscuring the pools, so try using a scope from higher ground. In most winters, singles or low numbers of wild geese are recorded among the resident groups of Greylag Goose, the most regular being Greater White-fronted Goose. Water Pipit is regular on passage and sometimes winter.
Limited free parking is available at a couple of small paved areas next to the L432 between Hahnheim and Sörgenloch. This road is also on a bus-route (652) with the nearest bus-stop at Wahlheimer Hof to the east of the reserve, or alternatively at Sörgenloch to the west. A path, paved only on most of the southern side, circumvents the pools, grassland, and reedbeds. Cycling the southern edge is possible, but other stretches are higher grass or muddy depending on conditions.