There I was mooching under an Oak (as you do) when out of the corner of my eye I noticed what I thought was another Hazel nut (at Taf Fechan we are not short of Hazel nuts even under Oaks). Then I noticed the pattern on its surface so not a Hazel nut thinks I but as I was under an Oak it must be a fallen Oak marble gall which seemed reasonable until I picked it up and discovered it wasn't (you can't break a marble gall with your finger nail).
So not a nut and not a gall.
My third try at an ID came out at possible fungus but unfortunately by then I had already picked it up it so no in situ photograph.
So after some thought option three comes out at Common Earthball (having learned that fungi can be tricky things this time I decided to keep it just in case which was fortunate). Now I was happy with finding a Common Earthball as it was a new species for the reserve but after posting my discovery on the Glamorgan Fungus group facebook page everyone started to get rather excited at the possibility of it being a much rarer fungi called a False Truffle.
After a few glorious seconds thinking I was rich the word “false” settled into my brain and I returned to looking up False Truffle in my books. As it is a rare find the fungi was sent off to the Glamorgan Fungus group to check the spores under a microscope which will hopefully confirm its species…
Addendum: after sending the specimen off to the Glamorgan fungus group more fungus enthusiasts started getting rather excited so it was sent to the expert on British truffles for a definitive opinion, the answer came back that unfortunately it was too immature to be 100% sure but it’s almost certainly Elaphomyces granulatus or the Deer truffle.
Graham Watkeys, Taf Fechan Warden