It is June 2004 and I organized in the winter my first entomological expedition to Ukraine. Through the internet I wrote to Jiri Skala and to Sergej Yevdoshenko, who is Belarusian though but he goes to Ukraine every year, so he promissed that he knows it there and he also knows good area for butterflies so it will not be problem to go together.
Perfect, so by airoplane to Kiev where we schould meet with Sergej at the main train station and from there we schould travel by train to Crimea. From the airport we took taxi to the station but this idiot droped us at the other entrance and not the main one where we schould meeth Sergej. Train station in Kiev is big and we thought that we are waiting at the main entrance but after two hours of waiting we decided to look around and after while we found out that main entrance is at the other end where we also found Sergej so we could finaly go now. We came to Simferopol another day, because Ukraine is so big, but trains are sharp on time. From Simferopol we had to go about 3 hours by taxi to the good locality, close to the sea. We stayied in that typical small russian house where we rented two rooms for us. It was only few hundreds of meters from the sea, so very nice place with chalk hills and arid steppes. For our big surrprise Sergej knew nothing about those localities and about the species that live there and he even didnt know where to go for collecting. So we bought the mape picked up few interesting places where we went and where we found good species of butterflies. Sergej wanted Sphingidae so badly and he wanted to catch Sphingonaeopsis gorgoniades and also Hemaris croatica. We did not catch any gorgoniades but I have found about 20 caterpillars of Hemaris croatica for what Sergej kissed my hands and he also bought a bottle of Vodka. It was nice trip and Sergej was also nice guy but he was not very big ento specialist. Thinking of him I have one funny story to say. He said that he knows one boss of local wild life protectors so we can go to catch butterflies to protected area. We believed this so we went there but we kept our nets hidden because we already knew Sergej and his stories...After little while we saw wild life conservators. We told Segej to go away but he kept on saying that he knows their boss so he will talk to them that we will be able to catch butterflies there. I thought that this is nonsense but we kept quiet while Sergej was discussing with them and they even allowed him to call this boss from mobile phone but the boss said that he does not know him and they schould take us away from protected area. They did not give us any penalty because they did not see that we were catching there, and Sergej was satisfied how he sorted it out. Me and Jiri we were just laughing and I also took few caterpillars from the grass while Sergej was talking with his ,,friends!,, Sergej went home few days before us because he had some examinations in school so we caught more butterflies during those few days than during whole trip.
Ukraine is beautiful country, I was just surrprised by a huge fields of very good black land, which I saw from the train and which was uncultivated. If they would go for it Iam sure that Ukraine could produce fruits and vegetables for whole Europe.
People in villages that we meet were very nice but quite poor, but for me quality of life is better than quantity...
Locality: Koktebel, Kurortnoje and Veseloje – Crimea, Ukraine. Date: 29.5 - 12.6.2004.
Observed species of Lepidoptera:
Amatidae: Amata kruegeri, Dysauxes famula
Arctidae: Ocnogyna parasita, Eilema caniolum
Cossidae: Dyspesia ulula
Hesperidae: Pyrgus sidae, Carcharodus flocciferus
Lasiocampidae: Malacosoma franconica
Libytheidae: Libythea celtis
Lycaenidae: Glaucopsyche alexis, Pseudophilotes vicrama, Plebejus pylaon
Noctuidae/Catocalinae: Prodotis stolida
Notodontidae: Thaumetopoea pityocampa
Nymphalidae: Nymphalis polychloros, Inachis io, Vanessa cardui
Papilionidae: Papilio machaon, Iphiclides podalirius
Pieridae: Pieris brassicae, Pieris rapae, Pieris mannii, Pontia daphlidice, Colias crocea, Leptidea sinapis, Aporia crataegi
Satyridae: Hipparchia pellucida,
Sphingidae: Macroglossum stellatarum, Hemaris croatica
Zygaenidae: Zygaena punctum, Zygaena carniolica cruenta, Zygaena spp.