This appears to be the only known treatment of this subject by the artist, unusual for de Bles as many of his compositions are known to exist in more than one version. This might indicate that it originates from early in his career before he took on studio assistants. The picture contains many of the distinctive features associated with de Bles' work: for example, the highlights discernible in the rendering of the foliage, the angular rock formations and the blue glazes deployed in the distant landscape. The scattered shells on the beach in the foreground also recur in other landscapes by the artist, see for instance the Landscape with Saint John the Baptist in the Cleveland Museum of Art.
The owl motif, from the late-sixteenth century onwards, both in Italy and in the Netherlands, has always been considered the hallmark of works by Herri met de Bles. Lomazzo (Tratto dell'arte de la pittura, Milan, 1584, p. 475) refers to the painter as 'Henrico Blessio Boemo, chiamata de la civetta [little owl], principal pittore di paesi', while Karel van Mander (Schilderboeck, 1603-4, fol. 219v) calls him 'Den Meester van den WI' (The Master of the Owl).