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At first sight, from several feet away, I thought this splodge on the side of a building was a dollop of bird poo … but then I noticed it was moving. So, of course, I immediately got out my camera and peered closer.

200509 garden spiderlings (1)

They were spider babies, hundreds of them, of the species Araneus diadematus, commonly known as Garden spiders. Both as spiderlings and as adults, these are completely harmless, though, as so often happens, several of the trashy daily newspapers have, in the past, vilified these bunches of babies with such headlines as ‘Woman’s horror as hundreds of tiny yellow spiders erupt from a nest in her back garden’ and ‘Millions of “exploding” yellow baby spiders invade Britain’.

200509 garden spiderlings (2)

When they’ve grown to adult size, these little cuties will look like those I photographed for my November 2017 blog post Wearing a diadem. You can read more about the Garden spider on the British Arachnological Society’s website.