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