Birdwatchers have had a spring surprise after spotting a flock of 14 glossy ibises flying over Surrey.

The migratory species was last seen in the region in 1867 and these ones are believed to be part of a flock of 17 that was spotted in Gloucestershire earlier this year.

While seeing one of these birds is special for many ornithologists, a flock of such numbers represents a landmark occasion.

Paul Outhwaite, of RSPB's south-east office, said: "It's almost unprecedented and most unusual.

"The ibises usually fly south to Africa and return in April to southern Europe.

"We've seen populations increase in Spain but we don't know if that has affected Britain."

It is thought that the sudden appearance of the birds could be related to the warm spring Britain is enjoying.

Huw Evans, Surrey representative for the British Trust for Ornithology, said: "The warm weather may have caused the birds to overshoot Europe and come to Surrey.

"For bird watchers to see one is absolutely thrilling but to see 15 to 20 birds is remarkable."

This occurrence could become more regular with climate change being attributed to warmer weather in Britain.

Mr Evans said: "They may decide that with the warmer weather, Surrey is a place to breed."

Mr Outhwaite added: "We have seen warblers and egrets hanging on rather than moving and climate change helps them."