Published 10 June 2013

Royal Swan Upping will take place from 15-19 July 2013.

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 15 July departing from Sunbury, and ends at Abingdon, Oxfordshire on Friday 19 July.
Announcing the dates for Swan Upping, David Barber reported:

“The Thames’ swans are nesting later than usual due to the prolonged cold spring we have experienced this year. The number of cygnets has declined over recent years, primarily due to the spring floods that washed away many nests, and of course there have been several outbreaks of duck virus enteritis which killed many breeding pairs of swans.

Fortunately, the situation is looking more positive this year as we have received many reports of nesting pairs with eggs or cygnets. Late hatching can present its own problems; small cygnets are more susceptible to injuries caused by fishing tackle when the fishing season starts. However the health of cygnets will be assessed during Swan Upping week when they will be examined for any signs of injury and given treatment if necessary.

It is most regrettable that swans and cygnets suffer serious injury or even death as a result of mindless vandalism, dog attacks and injuries sustained by ingesting or being caught in abandoned fishing tackle. The injuries inflicted on swans and cygnets can be horrific and are avoidable. The incidence of dog attacks has increased to the highest level reported and we would ask dog owners to ensure their dogs are kept under control when walking along river banks to avoid attacks on swans and other wildlife.

There have also been reports of mink living on various stretches of the River Thames again, and it would appear their numbers are increasing. Mink pose a serious risk to the mute swan population as they kill young cygnets and destroy eggs.

Education continues to be a significant element of Swan Upping week, offering children the opportunity to see swans and cygnets at close quarters and learn about the conservation work that is undertaken to protect and encourage their numbers on the Thames. Many schools will visit the Swan Uppers at various locations en route where they will have the opportunity to ask questions and learn about Swan Upping. During Swan Upping week, several schools will see the new Swan Upping exhibition at the River and Rowing Museum, Henley on Thames. The children will have the opportunity to discuss the exhibition with The Queen’s Swan Marker and Swan Warden together with the Swan Markers of the Dyers’ and Vintners’ livery companies during a question and answer session. The exhibition is a very exciting project that will provide an opportunity for many more children to learn about swans, the river and the history associated with Swan Upping.”

Local schools seeking further information about Swan Upping week 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 15 July 2013
Sunbury 09.00 - Departure point
Shepperton Lock 10.45
Penton Hook Lock 12.30
Romney Lock 17.30

Tuesday 16 July 2013
Eton Bridge 09.00 - Departure point
Boveney Lock 10.15
Boulters Lock 13.00
Cookham Bridge 14.00
Marlow Lock 17.30

Wednesday 17 July 2013
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 18 July 2013
Sonning-on-Thames 09.00 - Departure point
Caversham Lock 10.30
Mapledurham Lock 12.30
Goring Lock 17.00
Moulsford 18.00

Friday 19 July 2013
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 15 July, Eton Bridge at 09.00 on Tuesday 16th July and Marlow Bridge at 09.00 on Wednesday 17 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].