Ellisville Ecosystem

When you walk around Ellisville you will encounter a variety of plants (flora) and animals (fauna). Ellisville Marsh is a place where the perfect conditions exist for a wide diversity of wetlands plants, fisheries and coastal wildlife to thrive. It’s also a spectacular place to look for birds.

Bird Haven

Ellisville Marsh is designated by Massachusetts Audubon as an Important Bird Area (IBA), one of just 16 IBAs on the entire South Shore. An impressive array of bird species stop here on their migrations north and south each year. Others are here year-round. Experienced birders can sometimes spot as many as 40 bird species in a single visit.

Threatened Shorebirds

Threatened shorebirds are a particular focus of the Friends’ monitoring programs. Our trained and experienced volunteer team monitors the nesting activity of Piping Plovers and Least Terns every year from April to September as a requirement of our Ellisville inlet maintenance permits. Our work in this area, which began in 2007, has been highlighted in communications released by Mass Audubon and the US Fish and Wildlife Service. Volunteer monitoring and surveys for shorebird abundance is also coordinated by Manomet’s Shorebird Recovery Program (Manomet.org).

Least Tern on Ellisville Beach. Photo courtesy of Ted Bradford. All rights reserved.

Birdwatcher Resource – eBird

eBird is an online birding resource available for your use. It is a real-time, online checklist program that not only gives you a chance to share your sightings, but also provides information to enhance your birding experience at Ellisville Marsh. Launched in 2002 by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society, eBird provides visitors to Ellisville Marsh (and countless other sites) with rich data on bird abundance and distribution.

Ellisville harbor state park has a dedicated page with recent checklists from visitors, summaries of the most recent species reported or all-time high counts. Visit the dedicated page to check out the resources.

To see a summary of all the species in Ellisville Harbor State Park along with their relative frequency throughout the year, try the “bar chart“.

eBird example

If you want to be an active birdwatcher please report what you see to eBird. eBird is free and welcomes participation from everyone. Get started here with the Quick Start Guide.

“Eight-legged” Piping Plover. (Adult with chicks). Photo courtesy of Heidi Sanders. All rights reserved.

Eel Grass

Eelgrass is a flowering underwater plant with leaves that can reach lengths of 3 feet. Eelgrass beds are always completely submerged, and their roots anchor the grass to sandy or muddy bottoms. Eelgrass is a true flowering plant, not a seaweed or an algae.

Check out the underwater video courtesy of Henry Riter, former Friends director (c)2012. Filmed just offshore of Ellisville beach.

Marsh Plants

Ever wondered what that marsh plant with the delicate flowers is?  You may be able to find it in the Ellisville Plant Sampler. All photos courtesy of Irina Kadis and Alexey Zinovjev. For a more comprehensive listing of Ellisville plants compiled by Irina and Alexey, visit their web site at www.salicicola.com/checklists/Ellisville/

Scientific Research