You would be forgiven if you canít remember what you did on 24 May 2005. Well I know I was in the Polokwane Nature Reserve trying to catch and ring Short-clawed Larks. I succeeded in ringing a male Short-clawed Lark in the Polokwane Nature Reserve on that day. Little did I know at the time that that very same bird would one day rewrite record books. At the time, the bird was fitted with the standard SAFRING metal band and a combination of two colour rings. The bird was resighted and retrapped a number of times since then and sometime in 2012 he became the oldest lark on record in Africa when he surpassed the seven years and two months record held by a Dune Lark between 1993 and 2000. That was when I decided to name him Mokgalaje, the Tswana name for Old Man.
On 24 May 2015 I made sure I returned to the exact site where I ringed him 10 years ago, and sure enough, there he was. Still singing and displaying as he did 10 years ago. Mokgalaje is now the joint second oldest lark on record in the world. He shares this remarkable feat with an exactly 10 year old Skylark from the Czech Republic. The current world record holder is a Crested Lark from Germany who was found dead 11 years and seven months after it was first ringed. Now, let's all hold thumbs that Mokgalaje will break this record too.
For more details about Mokgalaje's story and some other fascinating facts about the Short-clawed Larks in the Polokwane Nature Reserve, see the link below: http://safring.adu.org.za/content.php?id=14