Skelton had discovered the Emperor penguins' rookery at Cape Crozier in October 1902 and Wilson made his first two sledging journeys to the rookery for the purpose of 'filling in the gaps in our knowledge of the birds life-history' in September and October 1903. His study of the breeding habits of the penguins (which anticipated that penguin embryology would shed light on the ancestry of birds) was published in the second volume (Zoology) of the expeditions scientific results and a summary of the two visits appears in Appendix II of Scott's The Voyage of the 'Discovery'.
Wilson's visits to Cape Crozier were late in the season and consequently were only partially successful, leading him to undertake the near suicidal 'winter journey' to the Cape with Bowers and Cherry-Garrard on the Terra Nova expedition in 1911.
Wilson made numerous sketches of the rookery at Cape Crozier in 1903, including a pencil study of the same scene ('The Great Ice Barrier, a view looking East from Cape Crozier'), and variants now in the collection of the Scott Polar Research Institute, Cambridge. Related plates after Wilson's original Crozier drawings include the frontispiece to volume II of Scott's The Voyage of the 'Discovery' ('Emperor Penguin Rookery').