By Harriet Whitehead

An artist has captured the breathtaking moment a starling murmuration formed above a chimney – making it look like it was smoking.

In perfectly timed images, thousands of birds can be seen swooping and diving before pausing above the industrial chimney just as the sun started to set.

Anna Tosney/Mercury Press

The images were taken on a iphone by print maker Anna Tosney in Skipton, North Yorkshire last week [Feb 15].

Anna, 41, from Skipton, said: “The rooftops and chimneys with the sun setting made a good background but I wasn’t expecting the starlings to look like smoke.

“I find watching starling murmurations quite mesmerising and addictive.

“It’s a really amazing sight to see. I saw the northern lights a few years ago in Norway which was really fantastic and although it’s a completely different thing. I would say it’s equally as exciting.

Anna Tosney/Mercury Press

“It’s fascinating to experience natural phenomena as dynamic and beautiful as a murmuration where hundreds of thousands of birds are acting individually but appear to be acting as one.

“It’s fun watching the motion and merging of different groups and seeing what shapes they form.

“The downside is the mess and you often see people walking with umbrellas up even if it’s sunny.”

Mum-of-one Anna said she’d been trying to get a picture of the starlings since the beginning of January but had given it up as a bad job.

Anna Tosney/Mercury Press

She said: “On that particular day, I hadn’t expected to see them but when I did I couldn’t resist getting my phone out for one more try.

“It was a beautiful clear sky so the light was good enough.”

Anna said she hopes to use the images in her art.

Anna said: “My artwork tends to focus on the landscape of Yorkshire including animals and birds.

Anna Tosney/Mercury Press

“Photographs I take while out on walks are often an inspiration for my artwork and curlews are my favourite subject.

“The starling murmuration photo may inspire some future work. Maybe it would suit one of the print making techniques I use. We’ll see.”