On visit to Connaught Waters, in Epping Forest, I was able to get some better shots of the hybrid duck that Dave had seen more distantly back in November. It was close to the bank with a throng of Mallards, Tufted Duck, Coot, Mute Swans, and Black-headed Gulls which were 'fighting' for bread thrown by people who had come to feed the ducks.
It is certainly an interesting bird, with the plumage on the body and wings very similar to what would be expected on a typical male Gadwall, with perhaps a slight hint of some maroon colouration among the coarse vermiculations on the breast, and apparently no chestnut in the wing coverts. The head was vaguely reminiscent of a male Teal, largely chestnut in colour (fading to a more buff colour in places), and with a broad green blaze above and back from the eye. This may not seem consistent with an identification as a Gadwall x Mallard hybrid, but male hybrids between these two species often do seem to have similar head plumage - but often with large buff patches on the cheeks. A partial white ring around the neck hinted at Mallard parentage, while the all black bill was typical of a pure male Gadwall (the orange legs are shown by both species).
This hybrid is potentially the result of a pairing in the wild, especially as there has been a male Gadwall closely paired with a female Mallard at the lake in the last couple of years, but it could equally have come from a wildfowl collection. My latest addition to the growing number of obviously escaped species recorded at the site was a female Maned Goose (also known as Australian Wood Duck), which was on the lake today.