Published 20 June 2012

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 16th July departing from Sunbury and ends at Abingdon, Oxfordshire on Friday 20th July.

Announcing the dates for Swan Upping, David Barber reported:

“The swan population on the River Thames suffered a severe attack of duck virus enteritis in early 2011 that resulted in the loss of many of its breeding pairs. The impact of this disease on the number of cygnets counted during Swan Upping 2011 was a 20% reduction compared to 2010 which was extremely disappointing.

This year, there has been an increase in the number of nesting pairs reported. However, the floods we experienced on the Thames in May will again have a serious effect on the number of cygnets born, as the high water and fast flowing stream resulted in many nests being washed away. The effect of the floods on the nesting pairs will be established during the Swan Upping census in July.

Vandalism remains a constant threat to swan numbers and is one of the primary causes of fatalities among mute swans and young cygnets together with fishing tackle injuries. The number of vandal attacks has continued to increase over the past year. Shootings with air rifles and catapults cause horrific injuries, unnecessary suffering and slow deaths.

As part of the celebration of The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, we are involving more schools in Swan Upping this year. Education plays an increasingly significant role in Swan Upping and the Swan Uppers enjoy meeting school children during their five day journey up river, when they talk to them about The Queen’s ownership of mute swans and the history associated with it. The Swan Uppers also discuss the mute swan’s habitat and life cycle in a continuing attempt to raise the children’s’ 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].

Download a copy of The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Edition of the Swan Upping brochure here.

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

Monday 16th July 2012
Sunbury 09.00 - Departure point
Shepperton Lock 10.45
Penton Hook Lock 12.30
Romney Lock 17.30

Tuesday 17th July 2012
Eton Bridge 09.00 - Departure point
Boveney Lock 10.15
Boulters Lock 13.00
Marlow Lock 17.30

Wednesday 18th July 2012
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 19th July 2012
Sonning-on-Thames 09.00 - Departure point
Caversham Lock 10.30
Mapledurham Lock 12.30
Goring Lock 17.00
Moulsford 18.00

Friday 20th July 2012
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 16th July, Eton Bridge at 09.00 on Tuesday 17th July and Marlow Bridge at 09.00 on Wednesday 18th 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].