HRH the Princess Royal attends Swan Upping 2018
The Annual Swan Upping started in Sunbury on Monday 16th July and came to Marlow on Tuesday 17th July.
David Barber, the Queen’s Swan Marker reported: “Last year saw a significant improvement in cygnet numbers compared with the last two years, with a total of 132 cygnets. This year did not start well for the Thames swans which suffered an outbreak of Avian flu in January and February that severely affected the flock at Windsor, killing over 70 swans in a flock that averages about 200 birds normally. Naturally this has been devastating, both for the swans and the rescuers that had to manage the outbreak and try to limit the spread of the disease from this flock.
“Avian influenza is a disease that is usually transmitted by migrating birds and most often occurs during the winter months. We believe it was spread primarily by birds flying in from Europe. It has affected many other areas of the United Kingdom with similar tragic consequences.”
Floods and fast-flowing water in April also caused further problems for nesting swans and many nests were washed away. Some breeding pairs rebuilt their nests while others abandoned nesting for the year. In addition to the risks posed by nature to breeding swans, they also have to contend with vandalism, shootings, dog attacks and discarded fishing tackle.
Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal accompanied the Swan Uppers this year and stopped off at Marlow Lock to meet The Mayor, Chris Funnell, the Lock Keeper, Duncan Holmes-Birtle and Barry Russell, MBE, of the Environment Agency.
This was followed by a reception hosted by the Mayor at the Two Brewers Pub for HM Swan Marker and his Swan Uppers and those of the Vintners and the Dyers companies.
The Town Council were informed that on the Wednesday after leaving Marlow, a record number of swans, 12 in total, were “corralled” at one time. Out of these twelve, four were orphan signets which were being fostered by other swan families as there was no sign of the parents. This is a very rare occurrence.