We are delighted to be sharing a very special event with you – Swan Upping, the annual census of the swan population.
A ceremonial element is beautifully retained - a flotilla of traditional Thames rowing skiffs, manned by Swan Uppers in scarlet rowing shirts and headed
by The Queen’s Swan Marker, wearing a hat with a white swan’s feather, row their way steadily up the Thames. ‘All up!’ they cry as a family of swans
and cygnets is spotted, and the Swan Uppers carefully position their boats around the swans, lift them from the water and check their health.
Swan Upping takes place in July each year and the designated stretch of the river Thames is analysed over a 5-day period during which the swans are counted
and checked for good health.
There will be many schools visiting Swan Upping once again this year as they continue to encourage the education of children about swan welfare, the river,
the traditional boats they use and the impact of human activity on our wildlife.
Swan Upping plays an important role in the conservation of the mute swan and involves The Queen’s Swan Warden collecting data, assessing the health of
young cygnets and examining them for any injuries. Cygnets are extremely vulnerable at this early stage in their development and Swan Upping affords
an opportunity to help both adults and cygnets that might otherwise go untreated.
Today, of course, we no longer eat swans, they are a protected species and a much-loved feature of our rivers.
If you would like to know more about what you can get up to on our British waterways, watch our Humphreys of Henley TV episode, where we talk about open water swimming, rowing, river cruises and more.