Published 2 June 2010

Swan Upping, the annual census of the swan population on the River Thames, was announced today by David Barber, The Queen’s Swan Marker.

This year’s Swan Upping will start on Monday 19th July, departing from Sunbury Lock and ending at Abingdon, Oxfordshire on Friday 23rd July.

The ceremony of Swan Upping dates from the twelfth century and takes place during the third week of July every year. In 2009 The Queen travelled up the River Thames to witness the historic ceremony for the first time.

It has always been the duty of the Sovereign’s Swan Marker to count the number of young cygnets each year and ensure that the swan population is maintained. With the assistance of The Queen’s Swan Warden, Professor Christopher Perrins of the University of Oxford, the swans and young cygnets are also assessed for any signs of injury or disease.

Announcing the dates for Swan Upping, David Barber reported:

“The severe weather we have experienced in recent years continues to cause difficulties for wildlife, and the heavy snow and low temperatures of last winter proved no exception. There were many reports of fatalities among the mute swan population as swans were caught in ice on lakes and ponds.

Vandalism and fishing tackle injuries remain a constant threat to swan numbers and are two of the primary causes of fatalities amongst mute swans and young cygnets. The number of attacks by vandalism has increased over the last year which is extremely disappointing. Shootings by youths with air rifles and catapults cause horrific injuries and, usually, slow deaths. Nests have been destroyed and cygnets are attacked causing unnecessary suffering and a reduction in swan numbers.

The Swan Uppers will be meeting several schools during their five day journey up river during which we talk to the children about the boats we use and the river. We also discuss the mute swan’s habitat and life cycle in a continuing attempt to raise their awareness of, and interest in, wildlife.”

Local schools seeking further information should contact the Swan Marker's office on +44 (0)1628 523030 or email [email protected].

The observation points and times are as follows (all times given are approximate):

Monday 19th July 2010
Sunbury Lock 09.00 - Departure point
Shepperton Lock 10.45
Penton Hook Lock 12.30
Romney Lock 17.30

Tuesday 20th July 2010
Eton Bridge 09.00 - Departure point
Boveney Lock 10.15
Boulters Lock 13.00
Marlow Lock 17.30

Wednesday 21st July 2010
Marlow Bridge 09.00 - Departure point
Hurley Lock 10.30
Hambleden Lock 12.00
Henley Town 13.30
Marsh Lock 16.00
Shiplake Lock 17.00
Sonning Bridge 18.00

Thursday 22nd July 2010
Sonning-on-Thames 09.00 - Departure point
Caversham Lock 10.30
Mapledurham Lock 12.30
Goring Lock 17.00
Moulsford 18.00

Friday 23rd July 2010
Moulsford 09.00 - Departure point
Benson Lock 10.15
Clifton Hampden Bridge 13.00
Culham Lock 16.15
Abingdon Bridge 17.30

Press boat
The press boat will depart Shepperton Lock at 10.30 on Monday 19th July, Eton Bridge at 09.00 on Tuesday 20th July and Marlow Bridge on Wednesday 21st July. Media wishing to reserve a place to board the press boat should contact the Swan Marker's Office on +44 (0)1628 523030 or email [email protected].