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 14th July departing from Sunbury, and ends at Abingdon, Oxfordshire on Friday 18th July.
Announcing the dates for Swan Upping, David Barber reported:
“The spring time floods resulted in the River Thames reaching its highest level in many years and the sheer volume and speed of its flow has caused a delay in the nesting season for many mute swans. Fortunately, water levels have now receded and the strength of the river’s current has reduced which lowers the risk of vulnerable cygnets being separated from their parents and washed over weirs. There have been reports of many successful breeding pairs with larger broods than normal, which is extremely positive news after several years of decreasing cygnet numbers. However, these very young cygnets are extremely vulnerable to natural predators and the resulting brood numbers may be smaller than anticipated
Vandalism remains a major cause of death and injury in the mute swan population with shootings and dog attacks increasing in frequency. Fishing tackle also poses a potentially fatal threat to young cygnets and adult birds and can result in great distress and suffering. All cygnets and parent birds are checked for injuries during Swan Upping week and treated accordingly.
Children from local primary schools will meet the Swan Uppers and Swan Markers at various locations en route to learn about mute swans and their natural habitat. They are able to see adult swans and young cygnets at very close quarters and learn a little about their life cycle and the way in which Swan Upping contributes to the welfare of the swan population. The children are always fascinated by the biology of the swan, the boats we use, the history and the Royal connection to the mute swan.”
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].
Download a copy of the Swan Upping educational booklet here
The observation points and times are as follows (all times given are approximate):
Monday 14th July 2014
Sunbury 09.00 - Departure point
Shepperton Lock 10.45
Penton Hook Lock 12.30
Romney Lock 17.30
Tuesday 15th July 2014
Eton Bridge 09.00 - Departure point
Boveney Lock 10.15
Boulters Lock 13.00
Cookham Bridge 14.00
Marlow Lock 17.30
Wednesday 16th July 2014
Marlow Bridge 09.00 - Departure point
Hurley Lock 10.30
Hambleden Lock 12.00
Henley Town 13.30
Marsh Lock 15.30
Shiplake Lock 17.00
Sonning Bridge 18.00
Thursday 17th July 2014
Sonning-on-Thames 09.00 - Departure point
Caversham Lock 10.15
Mapledurham Lock 12.15
Goring Lock 17.00
Friday 18th July 2014
Moulsford 09.00 - Departure point
Benson Lock 10.15
Clifton Hampden Bridge 13.00
Culham Lock 16.15
Abingdon Bridge 17.00
The press boat will depart Shepperton Lock at 10.30 on Monday 14th July, Eton Bridge at 09.00 on Tuesday 15th July and Marlow Bridge at 09.00 on Wednesday 16th 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].