Ask the Swan Specialist
Date: 21 July 2007
Up Early: Well, our trip to England is coming to a close. We have packed all of our gear and set it aside at the hotel so that it will be ready for the bus later this afternoon. It is now 5:30 a.m. and we are headed for the Swannery. The sky is clear and it looks as though we are going to have good weather for the upping.
Preparation At The Swannery: The kayakers are getting their equipment ready and we are taking our places out of sight from the swans. No one is allowed to get down to the water’s edge so as not to spook the flock. Shirley has somehow managed to find a prime spot in the reeds near the estuary in anticipation of the roundup.
100+ Volunteers Herd The Flock: Led by Her Majesty’s Swan Warden, Dr. Christopher Perrins, the 100+ volunteers have begun to herd the flock toward the pen areas. One swan has managed to become airborne and has left the area. The others are swimming erratically toward the shore. As the kayakers form a line across the estuary, volunteers wade into the water joining hands to keep the swans from trying to escape. The capture takes about 30 minutes and as the last swan is safely in the pen area, the real work begins.
Work At The Stations: Geoff is manning one station with Fancy and Susan while Sheila and Sherry man another station. They are responsible for vaccinating the swans, although Sheila has managed to go in to help capture some swans to expedite the procedure.
Sally and Rebecca are recording data while Shawn and Shirley move about capturing photos of the event.
Once the swans have been identified, if they are wearing a band, they are given a vaccine, examined for eye cysts, lice, bumblefoot and other medical issues.
They are then set free back into the water.
After more than five hours, the upping is over. More than 800 swans have been examined and vaccinated.
End Of Our Trip: The team packs up and we head for our hotel. After a brief lunch, we load the bus for the three-hour trip back to the hotel. Everyone is exhausted.
The team, with the exception of Shirley, will catch an early flight back to Orlando tomorrow.
Shirley Going To Moscow: Shirley is now at another hotel, awaiting an early flight onto Moscow, Russia where she will continue to update her daily travel diary.
Conclusion: It has been a really fun and exciting trip. This memorable, once-in-a-lifetime adventure has gotten everyone talking about a repeat performance in two years.
The Abbotsbury team was very appreciative of our help as was Dr. Perrins. They kept thanking us, but we were all thanking them for giving us the opportunity to participate in all of these historical events.
Kayakers Herding The Flock (front view)
Kayakers Herding The Flock (side view)
Sheila With A Swan
At The Exam And Vaccination Station