Okay, here is the update with the time-lapse videos. I took two movies, both are at 120X speed (1 frame/2 seconds). The first video was taken mid-day. I know it is hard to see in the smaller compressed form, but what I noticed was that many bees landed and "rested" before walking slowly to the opening. There are also many bees who land and directly enter the hive. What I don't see is bees leaving the hive and walking up on the front of the hive. They predominately go the other way, making a gradual entrance.
The second video was taken from 7-8PM. Same story here, but many more bees landing at the same time, creating a bit of a traffic jam on the front. Again most take a brief rest before walking in. At the start of the sequence you see the "bearding" increasing, then it gradually reduces as they finish their rest and enter the hive. The size of the beard on the front seems to be in proportion to the degree that the number landing is greater than the number entering the hive.
I'm not sure these videos prove anything, but watching the bees fascinates me and this behavior still puzzles me. Enjoy.