Macclesfield Express - - WHAT’S ON -

WALK­ERS be­ware – South Amer­i­can ‘bovver birds’!

Wal­la­bies are not the only ex­otic an­i­mals await­ing un­wary walk­ers in the Peak Dis­trict.

For af­ter the latest re­port that one had been spot­ted in the Dane Val­ley out­side Mac­cles­field (see East Cheshire Ram­blers, Mac­cles­field Ex­press, June 18), comes news that a flock of rheas – large, flight­less birds from South Amer­ica with long legs and necks sim­i­lar to an ostrich – have also been seen, this time dur­ing a walk near Bleak­low.

Nine ECR mem­bers were on the home­ward stretch of a re­cent 14-mile walk from Pad­field when they saw three of the grey-brown coloured birds, in­clud­ing an adult and a chick, in a field near Old Glos­sop.

ECR mem­ber and keen cam­era­man Steve Daniels was able to cap­ture this photo to prove they were re­ally there! “It’s quite in­cred­i­ble what you can find when you get off the beaten track into the wild,” said leader Brian Grif­fiths.

Of the two species of rhea: the greater and the lesser, these are thought to have been the smaller Dar­wins va­ri­ety. Both types can be­come ag­gres­sive if threat­ened. In­deed, the larger, Amer­i­cana rhea, can reach over 6ft tall and run at up to 40mph.

“The next time I lead a walk, I’ll have to think about wear­ing a bush hat and jun­gle boots,” Brian joked.

“For­tu­nately, they paid scant at­ten­tion to us.”

Af­ter an easy three miles along the Long­den­dale Trail fol­lowed by a steep climb via the Pen­nine Way to Bleak­low Head, the route de­scended an old Ro­man Road known as Doc­tor’s Gate be­fore mak­ing a fi­nal as­cent to Old Glos­sop where the rheas were sighted.

For fur­ther in­for­ma­tion and de­tails of forth­com­ing walks, go to ram­blerseastcheshire.org. uk

●● The rheas were snapped by ram­bler Steve Daniels

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