Sunday, 19 July 2020


Via Strange Company’s Weekend Link Dump, we learn that for only the second time in living memory (there was a partial cancellation in 2012 due to extreme flooding), the census—called the Upping of the Swans taking place along the River Thames during the third week of July, an ideal time before the cygnets mature and the cobs (see previously) are themselves moulting and flightless—has been called off entirely due to social distancing measures. Dating back to time when swan husbandry and ownership counted and the birds were roasted for special occasions, the landed gentry employed wranglers to mark the beaks of their birds with a special, distinctive pattern (nowadays they are ringed for study and entry into an ornithological database, much more humane than the earlier filigree)—as all unclaimed mute swans were property of the Crown, see also. Learn more about this event at Spitalfield’s Life at the link above.