Published 15 June 2005

THE FOLLOWING PRESS RELEASE IS ISSUED BY THE PRESS SECRETARY TO THE QUEEN

Swan Upping, the annual census of the Swan population on a particular stretch of the River Thames, was announced today by David Barber, The Queen's Swan Marker.

This year's Swan Upping will start on Monday 18th July at Sunbury-on-Thames and will end at Abingdon, Oxfordshire on Friday 22nd July.

The ceremony of Swan Upping dates from the twelfth century and takes place during the third week of July every year. 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 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:

"There has been a reported increase in the number of breeding pairs on the River Thames this year. Regrettably, swans and cygnets continue to be subjected to vicious and mindless vandalism with devastating, and often fatal, consequences.

"Attacks involving shootings appear to be on the increase and many nests and eggs continue to be destroyed by senseless youths. Swans and cygnets are also prey to attacks by dogs, mink and foxes and, of course, injuries involving discarded fishing tackle and line continue to cause immense suffering.

"The focus of the pageant of Swan Upping has evolved over recent years to include the conservation of mute swans and their habitat. An essential part of this work involves the participation of children from local schools who are invited to join the Swan Uppers at different locations during the week.

"They will have the opportunity to learn a little about the history of Swan Upping, the welfare of mute swans and the habitat required for their continued survival. The children will be able to ask questions about Swan Upping and may view swans and cygnets at close quarters.

"This part of the ceremony is always extremely rewarding and the children benefit enormously from their involvement."

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 18th July - PRESS DAY
Sunbury Lock 09.00 - Departure point
Shepperton Lock 10.45
Penton Hook Lock 12.30
Romney Lock 17.30

Tuesday 19th July - PRESS DAY
Eton Bridge 09.00 - Departure point
Boveney Lock 10.15
Boulters Lock 13.30
Marlow Lock 17.45

Wednesday 20th July -PRESS DAY
Marlow Bridge 09.00 - Departure point
Hurley Lock 10.30
Hambleden Lock 12.00
Henley Town 13.30
Marsh Lock 16.30
Shiplake Lock 17.15
Sonning-on-Thames 18.00
Thursday 21st July
Sonning-on-Thames 09.00 - Departure point
Caversham Lock 10.30
Mapledurham Lock 12.30
Goring Lock 17.30
Moulsford 18.30

Friday 22nd July
Moulsford 09.00 - Departure point
Benson Lock 10.15
Culham Lock 16.00
Abingdon Bridge 17.15

Press boat
The press boat will depart at 10.15 hours on Monday 18th July from Shepperton Lock, at 09.00 hours on Tuesday 19th July from Eton Bridge and 09.00 hours on Wednesday 20th July from Marlow Bridge.

Members of the 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].