of the Azov-Black Sea Ornithological Station
Branta Cover Language of the article: Russian Cite: Gorlov, P. I. (2016). Sergey Vladimirovich Winter. To the 65th birthday anniversary. Branta: Transactions of the Azov-Black Sea Ornithological Station, 19, 170-174 Views: 306 Branta copyright Branta license

Branta Issues > Issue №19 (2016)

Branta: Transactions of the Azov-Black Sea Ornithological Station, 170-174

Sergey Vladimirovich Winter. To the 65th birthday anniversary

P. I. Gorlov

Congratulate is an easy and a difficult task at the same time. You will read stamped stories about "a lot of years" and "great human happiness" another time, and the image of the jubilar will remain blurred somewhere in the background. When you have the pleasant duty to congratulate your dear person, you lose understanding of the main immediately. It's maybe possible to start traditionally.

Sergey Vladimirovich Winter was born on April 23, 1951, in the Slaviansk city, the Stalinsk (now Donetsk) region, the Ukrainian SSR, in the family of technical workers of the Slaviansk soda factory. And you understand from the text that the jubilar is elderly. There isn't such region, country and factory, there is no calm on his native land. He is far away now ...

Sergey Vladimirovich entered my life at the first lecture of the second day of my study at the Melitopol Pedagogical Institute. It was September 2, 1984, Ecology of invertebrates, some unpleasant pictures of the simplest organisms. The quiet voice of the lecturer did not even try to calm us down, so we quickly understood our impunity. He said absolutely not on the topic at the end of the lecture:

- And if anyone is interested in the intellectuals’ meetings about studying birds, for example, you can talk to me, - but in thin, almost red moustaches there was grin, irony, sadness, it's difficult to define

I forgot to say that it sounded after the call and in complete noise. How I've heard and have not forgotten, I still don't understand. But I heard and he turned.

In the first days of our acquaintance Sergei Vladimirovich invited me to his dormitory, where, under terrible conditions and in a small square, I sat down to drink tea and listen ... Vivaldi. Do you remember the vinyl discs and turntables with a pickup? And these discs were in a column of two meters high on the shelf. Shock. And where are the talks about the birds? Plans for long and continued expeditions? There was nothing like this. We just drank tea, listened to music, talked about something. However, I went home with a bag, which was full of interesting books about birds. Now it is difficult to understand my trembling at that time. Today, the Internet is like a bookstore, while in those days were no ornithological literature in the small Melitopol.

In such way, our regular meetings began. In one of them, two snow-white bows ran into the room, from under which there was a shout:

               - Dad, I was praised today in school.

So I found out about Marina's daughter, who, after years, made Sergei Vladimirovich a happy grandfather of three grandchildren. At that time, Anna Nikolaevna, Marina's mother, was finishing her dissertation in Leningrad, and it was Sergei Vladimirovich who sewed off the ripped buttons on his school apron.

Our first expedition was "on Demoiselle Crane”. In the Priazovsky district of Zaporozhye region in the Makovka village.  Sergei Vladimirovich arranged a "field hospital", which was an abandoned half of the house, which we rented from the landlady for 50 coins per day. Every morning, going out into the fields, we walked nearly 20 km, sometimes meeting Demoiselle Crane. During these excursions, it turned out that the variety of birds was greater than I thought, but the Sergey Vladimirovich's patience, who repeatedly repeated the names of the same species, gave results.  And there was the first in my life nest of a Demoiselle Crane with two eggs. We spotted the bird in the field of winter wheat. We spent some time in the forest zone, what was necessary for the accurate binding. With wide opened eyes, we ran across the field, without losing reference point. A bird’s rise from the nest was a reward for all diligence. Sergey Vladimirovich with incredible tenderness did the measurements and described the eggs. I was given the honorable role to record the heard numbers and ... to collect excrements around the nest.

Since 1989, Sergey Vladimirovich has organized the study of nesting biology of the Crane in the Kharkov region. At floodplain forests of the Izyum bows on the Seversky Donets, he managed to get a fairly comfortable hut in one of the forest districts, where we lived for many years next to the Cranes. Is it possible to imagine a fixed site today, where we had everything necessary for field work, and a library, a herbarium of 450 plants, a binocular, a torsion balance, a collection of butterflies? A functioning wood-burning stove solved all household issues of heat (in April it was cold) and food (up to the canning of mushrooms). I forgot the main thing - there were no locks on the house. From 1989 to 1999, cranes have been studied annually, then periodically up to 2015 inclusive. The result of this "Winter initiative" was more than 200 found nests, hundreds of hours of the incubating birds timing, "adopted childbirth" of more than 50 chicks, the study of moulting, nutrition, pre-immigration accumulation.

Once, returning from the next expedition, we wrapped in Slavyansk, located from Izyum in 60 km, where I met the family of Sergei Vladimirovich. Vladimir Vasilyevich Winter explained the origin of his surname in such way:

«Vin ter ta vona terla. Os dvox syniv i naterly» (He was rubbing, and she was rubbing. In such way, two sons were rubbed.)

He gave me his book about sorts of garden crops, while his mother Anna Ivanovna was waiting patiently for a dough of delicious pies. His brother, Alexander Vladimirovich, came in the evening, took Sergei Vladimirovich, and we met early in the morning on the bus, where up to Melitopol my Teacher was anxiously asleep, periodically drinking mineral water and smoking a cigarette at the stops.

In February 1988, Sergei Vladimirovich invited us, three students, to the medical cabinet of the pedagogical institute, where each of us was injected to prevent encephalitis. So long winter dreams of an expedition to the Far East began to come true. In May we got by plane from Simferopol with two landings in Chelyabinsk and Ulan-Ude to Khabarovsk, after which we had little more adventures, and we were on the Bikin River (the Ussuri tributary). A new fauna of birds! Sergei Vladimirovich knew all the birds of Primorye perfectly after working for several seasons in the Far East and defending a thesis on this material, that allowed us to "not get lost".I remember him satisfied boasting: "There is no bird that I would see, and later don't find a nest of this species."  And the species were not common: the Red-crowned Crane, the Oriental Stork, the Mandarin Duck, the Scaly-sided Merganser, the unimaginable secrecy of the Leaf Warblers and the Zosterops, the Hawk owls, the Chinese Grey Shrike, and the cute Long-tailed Rosefinch.It turned out that we will work as a part of the Russian-Ukrainian-Japanese expedition. After a couple of days of international feasts, we climbed into the dense wilds of the Ussuri taiga, set the tent and fell asleep without energy. In the pre-dawn darkness, Sergey Vladimirovich got out and disappeared. When we got out of the tent after the long sleeping, the kettle has been already boiling at the stake, and the smiling Teacher showed with his hand the direction, from where screams of a black cranes' pair were heard in the early morning.  On that day we found their nest. We equipped the camp on the nearest hill. Yuri Andryushchenko built a comfortable platform on Mongolian oak, sitting on which we spent 103 hours of continuous daily observations of the incubating bird. Needless to say that valuable information was collected on the least studied species of the Cranes of the Palearctic.

Then there was another trip to the Far East, at this time for the international meeting, which took place on a three-deck motor ship following the Amur from Khabarovsk to Blagoveshchensk and back. I remember the initiative of Sergey Vladimirovich to go away from the steamer, which was standing on some pier for a day, and "to drive to Bureia". I note that life wasn't simple in 1992. In the Amurzet village ("Amur Jewish Land Association") electricity was given for a couple of hours in the evening (to watch the information program "Time"), the money did not matter much, the stores were empty. And then we stood on the dirt road, voted. We were picked up by a silent driver of a truck, who drove us according to the Far Eastern cordiality right up to the place, where Bureya enters the Amur. And then Sergei Vladimirovich took out of his backpack many packages of foreign cigarettes and gave the driver. It was an extraordinary wealth in the village, where cigarettes hadn't been seen since spring. The driver hardly believed in the reality of what was happening. On the Bureya we collected wonderful opals, carnelians, jasper and petrified pieces of wood, which were shared on the ship with foreigners. Some of those stones still lie on my bookshelf.

In those years, Sergei Vladimirovich was a doctoral student at the Severtsov Institute of Evolutionary Animal Morphology and Ecology (Moscow). It is difficult to judge the progress in writing a dissertation, but in the personal life, there have been fateful changes. The meeting with Christian, a German teacher and translator at a Moscow academy, ended with the official registration of the relationship and a move to the Frankfurt am Main in September 1993. When I arrived in Moscow to say goodbye, he was repairing the door lock, which was broken the day before at the end of the wedding party.The new lock fitted perfectly to the old door, and Winter flew to Germany ...

Sergei Vladimirovich, being abroad, did not lose contact with all of us. During the first years, he managed not only to come to joint expeditions but also to finance them completely.

In ironically warm, kind and light letters from Germany, there were always photos of "wooden pieces". This is another side of the life of the hero of the day, about which I will say a few words. What can you bring home from expeditions? I brought mushrooms from Makovka, deer antler from Izyum, cedar cone from the Far East. S.V. Winter dragged home driftwood of an unimaginable form, twisted pine branches, birch roots, some growths that had been cut off from the trunks, a very heavy piece of touchwood or even a piece of bark eaten by the bug-typographer. During the long evenings, after drinking strong black tea, he took a knife in our Izium hut and "removed the excess" from all this disgrace. And on the shelves at home, there were exhibited truly stunning vases and other works, which can't be explained by ordinary words, the author called some of them "metamorphoses of Venus de Milo". I found out from one letter, that Sergei Vladimirovich took part in the World Tree Exhibition in Frankfurt, where he exhibited his snags in his own pavilion. The result exceeded expectations, bringing the artist world fame, but in a narrow circle of connoisseurs.

S.V. Winter has already been in Germany for 23 years. During this time, Sergei Vladimirovich became an international expert of the European Working Group on Cranes, took part in several international "crane gatherings", published in leading European ornithological journals, and increasingly pleased us. In addition, it's a kind of connection between the "Ukrainian crane knowers" and the European colleagues. The participation of Ukrainian ornithologists has not planned in the recent all-European monograph on the crane, as in the previous one. Sergei Vladimirovich found out this, and, already being the purest German, he said the editor-in-chief: "Herr Prange, Europe is not only Germany, France and Spain". Articles from Ukraine were included in the monograph after that.  So was an integration.

 If the reader has an impression of the exceptional perfection of the inner world of the jubilar, this is due to the limited ability of the writer to congratulate him. Sergei Vladimirovich can be different! He's kind to the bad truth, fair to inequality, he likes irony, satire and joking to the limit of hurt. And all this is firmly seasoned with trouble proof responsibility. If you didn't answer the questions in the letter, didn't fulfill your promise, didn't do according to the righteous principles, and even didn't live up to expectations, you would have got nagging pricks on this subject. Frankly speaking, he doesn't spare himself in those rare moments, when he promised to do it last night and did it early this morning.

The annual tradition of the jubilar's arrival in Melitopol includes our obligatory meetings. We gather together with Sergei Podorozhny in the cosy arbour of Yuri Andryushchenko, and the bright smile of our Teacher meets us. Mandatory "point of the program" is the singing of bardic songs after midnight, which Sergey Vladimirovich performs himself in a quiet, penetrating voice. The bringing to shivers "Autumn Waltz" of Leonid Semakov:

Птицы, изменницы, нас покидают,

Нам оставляя надежду.

Все переменится!

And the dazzling simplicity of "Along the Smolensk road" of Bulat Okudzhava:

Может, будь понадёжнее рук твоих кольцо -

Покороче б, наверно, дорога мне легла.

And the prophetic "Medieval Dialogue" by Veronica Dolina:

- Ах, худо, друг мой, очень худо!

Мы все надеялись на чудо,

А чуда что-то нет покуда,

А чуда не произошло.

And then again Germany

In 1996, I had a birthday and received a letter from Sergei Vladimirovich with an attached photograph of the next "piece of wood." Now I hold this photo in my hands and read on the back side congratulations, which I quote here and redirect to the dear Teacher.

"Let all problems remain in the past, and in the present and the future - the joy of the wonderfulness of this life, always such a short one, will appear more and more often!"

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