David Barber of DB Marine,
the chief swan upper, oversaw the operation asskiffs manned by 2
oarsman and helmsman each set off to count and measure this year's swans
along the Thames from Sunbury to Abingdon.
The 3 groups of official
swan counters - Vintners in white, Dyers in blue and the Queen's in red,
rounded up each family group of swans, weighed them, checked them for
injuries (one near the bridge had fishing wire wrapped around it's
wings) and tagged
The tradition dates back to
the 13th century and in recent years the efforts of the Swan uppers has
helped put paid to lead weights on the Thames which has had a noticeable
effect on swan numbers.