The dramatic shot, taken by Matthew Cattell, has won the top prize at the annual Landscape Photographer of the Year awards.
The photograph by Mr Cattell, from Bracknell in Berkshire, was likened by the competition’s judges to the tornado of the film, The Wizard of Oz.
His image beat thousands of entries from across the country showcasing the best of the UK’s landscapes, with Mr Cattell winning a £10,000 prize for his efforts.
Other category winners included a photograph of a windswept cottage at Loch Stack in Sutherland, a shot of urban tower blocks being demolished, and an image of a railway viaduct in the Yorkshire Dales.
However, a teenage Scot won the coveted Young Landscape Photographer of the Year with an unusual composition in a contest dominated by shots of the natural world.
The image, taken by 15-year-old Hannah Faith Jackson from the South Lanarkshire town of Strathaven, focused on reflections cast in the window of a bar in Glasgow city centre.
Charlie Waite, landscape photographer and founder of the awards, sponsored by Take a View, said the standard of entries was high but reserved praise for Mr Cattell’s offering.
“The sense of movement is palpable in Matthew’s photograph and you really feel what it would have been like to stand beside him,” he said.”
“The starlings seem to be swirling around the iconic remains of Brighton’s West Pier in a manner reminiscent of the tornado in the Wizard of Oz.”
He added that Mr Cattell’s “judicious” choice of shutter speed had allowed him to perflectly capture the birds and the water. It was, he said, an “intriguing image.”
The awards were held in association with VisitBritain for the third year, with a category for images which showcased the diversity of moments and experiences that can only be had on a trip across Britain.
The category was won by Mark Gilligan, from near Northwich, Cheshire, who was praised by the judges for a perfectly framed shot of a figure standing by Wast Water in the Lake District, under the arch of a rainbow.
VisitBritain’s director of marketing Robin Johnson said of the picture: “It is a fantastic example of the powerful role that imagery plays in inspiring people to travel and experience new destinations, allowing them to literally ‘put themselves in the picture’.”
An exhibition of the winning entries in this year’s competition will be held on the balcony at Britain’s busiest rail station, London Waterloo, from 21 November.
All the winning and commended photographs are published in a new book, entitled Landscape Photographer of the Year: Collection 10.
The contest was founded in 2006 and has a total annual prize fund of £20,000.