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Is it common for a swarm to return to their hive? I watched it happen once, and suspect it on anther.
 

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that does happen. I have experienced that one time this year myself and know of one other beekeeper that had that happen. What was so weird in my case was after they returned to the mother hive, I found the old queen and her attendants out in the grass about 20 feet in frount of the hive. I tried to save her but was not successful.
 
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