A couple from Hursley, near Winchester, are turning their backs on spring in England and jetting off to South America to join an environmental survey.

Kelly Morrison and Matthew Ponsford, who are both 24, will spend two months in the Tumbes region of north-west Peru, researching the habitat and population levels of exotic and endangered birds.

They are members of a seven-strong team backed by the University of York.

Each member has personally contributed £750 to help fund the trip.

They have been given a large donation by IBM but they are still seeking further sponsorship.

The group is now £2,000 short of its £13,000 total and is trying to raise the remaining cash before leaving for Peru on Tuesday, February 4th.

Said Kelly: "The trip should identify the area as important for conservation and this will help protect the forest and the species that live there.

"We're going to be living in the field so we'll be up at 5am most mornings. It will be pretty basic out there."

If you would like to sponsor the field trip, contact Kelly on 01962-775255.