Published 26 June 2009

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 20th July, departing from Eton and ending at Abingdon, Oxfordshire on Friday 24th 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 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:

“For the past two years high water levels and strong streams have resulted in many fatalities among young cygnets and substantially lower numbers have been recorded on the River Thames. Fortunately, this year, we have experienced normal river conditions and we are expecting a higher number of cygnets in line with the figures for 2006.

There has been a reported increase in attacks on both young cygnets and adult swans involving domestic dogs over the past year. These attacks are a major concern to swan rescue organisations, resulting in serious injuries and often death. We can only stress that dog owners should ensure their dogs are kept under control at all times, and particularly in the presence of wildlife. Swans also continue to be injured by discarded fishing tackle; this is a perennial problem which can cause dreadful injuries and we would urge people, when fishing, to ensure they dispose of all used tackle in a safe and appropriate manner.

I am delighted to announce that Her Majesty The Queen will be visiting Swan Upping this year, joining the Swan Uppers at Boveney Lock. The Queen will follow the Swan Uppers on the river and will view a display of projects completed by local school children on the subject of Swan Upping and the River Thames. The children are extremely excited about their role in the visit. Education and conservation are essential to the role of Swan Upping and the involvement of school children is always a rewarding experience.”

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

Download a copy of the Swan Upping brochure here: Swan Upping.pdf

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

Monday 20th July 2009
Eton Bridge 08.15 - Departure point
Boveney Lock 09.30
Boulters Lock 14.45
Cookham 16.30

Tuesday 21st July 2009
Cookham 15.00 – Departure point
Marlow Lock 17.00

Wednesday 22nd July 2009
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 23rd July 2009
Sonning-on-Thames 09.00 - Departure point
Caversham Lock 10.30
Mapledurham Lock 12.30
Goring Lock 17.00
Moulsford 18.00

Friday 24th July 2009
Moulsford 09.00 - Departure point
Benson Lock 10.15
Clifton Hampden Bridge 13.00
Culham Lock 16.15
Abingdon Bridge 17.00

Press boat
On Monday 20th July the press boat will available for Royal rota media only. Applications will not be received via the Swan Marker’s Office. Please contact Buckingham Palace Press Office for more information: [email protected]

The press boat will depart at 15.00 hours on Tuesday 21st July from Cookham, at 09.00 hours on Wednesday 22nd July from Marlow Bridge and 09.00 hours on Thursday 23rd July from Sonning Bridge. 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].