Woman holding binoculars Join today and get outside at one of our 60+ wildlife sanctuaries.
Woman holding binoculars Join today and get outside at one of our 60+ wildlife sanctuaries.
Northern Harrier flying
Northern Harrier © Kyle Wilmarth

Important Bird Area: Ellisville Harbor

Map of the Ellisville Harbor IBA site

Nominated By

Margo Zdvardovic, Scott Hecker


101 acres

Towns and Counties



Department of Conservation and Recreation, Wildlands Trust

Major Habitats

coastal beach, oak-conifer transitional forest, pitch pine/scrub oak forest, early successional shrubland, cultural grassland, cultivated field, emergent freshwater wetland, salt marsh, coastal beach, marine/tidal, river/stream

Land Use

nature & wildlife conservation/land use, hunting/fishing, other recreation or tourism, fisheries/aquaculture, forestry

Serious Threats

hydrologic changes (drainage, damming, etc.)

Minor Threats

recreational development/overuse

IBA Criteria

  • Category 1: Sites regularly holding significant numbers of an endangered, threatened, vulnerable, or declining species.

Site Description

Ellisville Harbor is located at the mouth of a small stream (herring run) on Cape Cod Bay in South Plymouth. The primary feature of this IBA is its barrier beach habitat and small tidal marsh. Other habitats include a freshwater stream and pond, a small sphagnum bog, open meadows, and pine-oak upland. The beach has become increasingly important as a nesting area for Piping Plovers and Least Terns in recent years.

Current Conservation Status

Currently, several homeowners of the Lookout Point Association are seeking permits to cut a channel through the spit at Ellisville. They claim that this will alleviate beach erosion and protect their homes. At the present time, no homes are threatened, although the beach is being eroded. Coastal Zone Management and the state are allowing the permits. Once the channel is cut, this spit, which is really a growing barrier beach that supports 3 pair of Piping Plovers and a small group of Least Terns, may change.

Other Flora or Fauna of Significance

None listed.

Data Sources

Mass Audubon Coastal Waterbird Program field data forms (state census forms and nest attempt summaries)