Exploring Plainville: Plainville Cemetery

Located on West Bacon Street less than a quarter mile from Route 1A, the Plainville Cemetery is worth exploring in all seasons.

Photo of Plainville Cemetery Entrance

Sugar maples line the majority of the dirt paths, and the cemetery borders Wetherells Pond. The Ten Mile River feeds the pond and continues on from it to Whiting Pond in neighboring North Attleborough.

Birds

In winter, ducks, geese, and resident songbirds can be found here. Familiar species like Mallard, American Black Duck, and Canada Goose are common on the water, but Gadwall, Northern Pintail, American Wigeon, and Hooded and Common Merganser are also possible.

In spring, look for migrating birds as they stop over on their way to their breeding grounds. Nesting birds, like Baltimore Orioles, Warbling Vireos, and Gray Catbirds also return to establish their territories. On some spring days, Northern Rough-winged Swallows, Tree Swallows, and Barn Swallows can all be seen feeding over the water. Several species of woodpeckers utilize nesting cavities in the old maple trees, including Northern Flicker, Red-bellied Woodpecker, and Downy Woodpecker. You may even catch a glimpse of a Wood Duck perched in a tree, inspecting a potential nest site.

Photo of Wetherells Pond

By summer, Wood Duck, Mallard, and Mute Swan families are possible on the pond, and juvenile American Robins are a common site on land. Also listen for Red-winged Blackbirds and Song Sparrows singing from the cattail swamp and Chimney Swifts vocalizing as they fly high overhead.

By fall, migrating songbirds head south.  Waterfowl gather on the ponds, often remaining until the pond surface freezes over (in the winter of 2011-12, the pond never completely froze). Dark-eyed Juncos return from their northern breeding grounds, and year-round residents like Northern Cardinals, Black-capped Chickadees and White-breasted Nuthatches gear up for another New England winter.

Other Animals

Muskrats can sometimes be seen from shore feeding on aquatic vegetation. In winter, tracks in the snow reveal a variety of animals that frequent the cemetery, including Coyote, Red Fox, Virginia Opposum, Fisher, Northern Raccoons, Eastern Cottontail, and Gray Squirrel.

In warmer months, Snapping Turtles can be seen swimming in open water. Painted Turtles are abundant and commonly seen basking on exposed rocks and branches, often in clustered groups. A variety of dragonflies hunt over the water, and do their part in controlling biting insect populations.

Trees, Shrubs, and Plants

Aside from the Sugar Maples, which grace the central part of the cemetery, several other trees can be found here. The eastern section is home to Norway Maples, Black Walnuts, and Willows. On the western edge, look for Gray Birch, Red Maple, and Sassafras.

Photo of Plainville Cemetery Sugar Maples

Near the Ten Mile River, in the lower section closest to West Bacon St., a variety of shrubs can be found, including Smooth Sumac, Coastal Sweet-pepperbush, Common Winterberry, and Small Bayberry.

In spring, before the grass is mown, look for short flowering Pussytoes growing in colonies, as well as Bluets, Violets, and Dandelions. In summer, scan the wetlands for Pickerelweed, Water-lilies, Swamp Milkweed, and Cat-tails.

Leave a Comment or Question