I saw this yesterday at Bolam lake on a dead tree stump. Very soft, with brown liquid oozing out of it. Loved it!
Probably a slime mold, Fuligo septica, although rather difficult to tell from this picture. As it matures, the outer layer thickens into a sort of skin, or rind, and the inner part becomes black spores which puff up in a cloud when you step on it.
It reminds me somewhat of a lot of puffballs all grouped together and getting on in life. Not a slime mold. Lovely photo, knophofia, and the softness can almost be felt in that picture!
My vote is slime mold drying:-)
This message was edited Sep 21, 2009 8:41 PM